alyesha wise – “the interview” spoken word (wowps 2016)

March 29, 2016

VIDEO: Poet Alyesha Wise confronts her experience with sexual assault in heavy spoken word performance.

“The Interview” by Alyesha Wise, AFROPUNK contributor

Were you with me when I just wanted to hang with the boys?

Were you with me when Ibn stole my purse

Told me it was in the basement

That if I wanted it back, I better go get it?

Were you aware of what Go get it

Really meant?

Did you think to call for help when I was down there

After 5 minutes

Or, after twenty

Or, after the tv got louder?

Were you around when Haz used to follow me in his car

When he promised, he only wanted to talk for a minute

When I knew “a minute” is a boys’ lie

But this is a man

If I give him time, he’ll stop?

Were you there when I tried to compromise myself

A girl, learning how to keep a man in check

When I wasn’t sure what it was

Wasn’t sure why I was so unsure

But I was sure that I never said “Yes”

That I fearfully glued my back to his filthy seat

Became all the dirty words he called me

Was told to consider it a good time

But if I considered it r…

If I called it r…

If I called it anything but consensual, I’d become a welcoming target

If you were there, in all of your


Would you have helped me call it what it was?

Would you have stayed with me

During the long walks home

To tell me there is no shame in my steps?


Would you have asked to see the scars?

And when I would have said, The scars cannot be seen!

Would you have crossed the street?

Said, Nevermind. She ain’t got no proof

Joined all the boys who threw me so many slurs

I was not equipped to catch?

If you were by my side, the entire time

All the times

Would you believe me more?

Is my slow unfolding, is my lingering hurt

Is my grown woman, all cradled in my too angry to be a loved woman,

Too much?

Does recalling these moments

Over 10 years later

Render my suffering invalid

Make me attention­seeking

As if the inflictions haven’t forced me to want to hide from everything?

Are your boys all exempt now?

Were they ever on trial?

Do your boys now have boys of their own?

Will your boys’ boys’ partners write this same poem a decade later?

Will their trespasses expire?

Will you quit telling me the damage has expired?


Will you still have questions of your own?

I was wearing clothes

I drank nothing, the first few times

I was a good girl

Who always flinched

I was not asking

For any of it.