In 9th grade I stared into a 

mirror and waged a war with 

the boy I saw shattered along 

edges of American manhood 

sealed off by narrow walls 

of conquest and violence 

as I reached its pearly gates 

other men entered carrying 

their dictionaries of cruelty

“damn you fucking killed her” 

“let’s fuck the shit out of her

her has no place in this society 

her is a mere game of

smash or pass 

“Pass her? I’d smash her

in this society men communicate 

through clenched teeth

“no homo”

to excuse touch but all I see 

are little boys learning to say 

“not human” 

“I am not human”

“You are not human” 

her is not human”

her is a crippled doe

lying lifeless across 

man’s shoulder 

the prize of war


That once broken boy I saw

never entered those 

barbed wire gates 

the price was too great 

I refused to give up 

my humanity 


masculinity is mine to 


“I am human”

“You are human” 

“She is human.”

Patrick is a rising senior at Northview High School. He is an avid writer and artist always dedicated to searching out new voices. He has attended the Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop, been published by the American High School Poets, and excerpted in the New York Times. He is an avid defender of minority voices, his favorite television shows, and the Oxford comma.

©2018 HighShelfPress. 

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