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"Boys Will Not Be Boys Anymore" by Elizabeth Train-Brown - 45 Poems of Protest
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Boys Will Not Be Boys Anymore

She was a ten, a real babe, they said,
Then they’d cop a feel in the bar,
On the street, at work, in school.
Boys will be boys, she reminded herself.

Wolf whistles followed her down roads
Like loose-limbed men in shadowed alleys,
Jeers and taunts and ‘Show us your knickers, love!’
They followed her into meetings, down school corridors.
But boys will be boys.

Hands on her skirt, grabbing blindly,
Drunk and grinning and out of control.
A firm hand here, an extra drink there—
‘Oh, sugar, you’ve had a lot tonight, let me take you home.’
Boys will be boys

She murmured shame to the women in the dark
And like a chamber, they echoed.
That fear, the lurching disgust of humiliation and loathing
That hollowed out their insides
Bouncing mantras against the chamber walls:
boys will be boys will be

Across the world there is a woman at the mercy of her husband;
A woman who can never be a doctor;
A woman who can never show her hair;
A woman who can’t kiss her rosaries;
A woman who can’t close her legs;
A woman with acid in her face and her hair and her teeth;
Women who can never leave.

boys will be boys will be boys will be

There’s a girl who can’t go to school;
A girl who was shot in the head for trying;
A girl who ‘isn’t safe’ to accuse her abuser;
A girl who can’t come home;
A girl married to a man;
A girl with a needle and thread between her legs;
A girl with a baby in her belly;
A girl cradling her dead children;
Girls who can never speak again.

boys will be boys will be boys will be boys will be

So that ten, that real babe,
Took a crowbar to their knees
Said don’t call me that again;
Shouted back when they jeered—
Howled, bellowed, roared thunder;
Smashed windows, tossed cars,
Broke wandering hands
So they never wandered again.

Don’t let them give you a number,
She said,
Don’t let them call you a child.

Because girls will be girls will be girls.

Spending much of her life among the circus community, Elizabeth followed
her parents’ professions to become the fire breathing Phoenix on stage
before joining her dad, author and showmen’s journalist, in the world of
writing. Raised as an activist for women, LGBT+ and the planet,
Elizabeth has used her circus and writing background to raise awareness
for those silenced and struggling, joining the thousands who fight every
day to showcase her talent in producing powerfully loud poetry and take
the stage at circuses across the country to exhibit dramatic acts inspired
by global protests.”
Instagram: @choo_choo42
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Published July 7, 2019
Boys Will Not Be Boys Anymore
Special Project: 45 Poems of Protest
by Elizabeth Train-Brown
(Lincoln, England, United Kingdom)
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