Monday, October 3, 2016

Charles Rammelkamp


I wasn’t yet eleven years old
when I told Ruby Moyer
I wanted to rape her.
We were out on the playground,
and she said she was going to tell
Mister Galbraith on me. The principal.

All those words meant the same to me—
rape, screw, intercourse, fuck—
and I was just demonstrating my sophistication,
my knowledge. I knew the Facts of Life.
That’s all I was telling Ruby.
Then I spent the whole day
worrying I’d get called to the principal's office,
Ruby famous for being a tattletale.

But when my college girlfriend told me
how she was raped in high school
by a powerful black football player
at the local college, who told her
he’d tell everybody about it
if she didn’t have sex with him again—
like a blackmail of shame
for having been raped in the first place—
and how she confessed all this to her father,
who then confronted the football player,
let him know that if he ever so much as looked at Ruby...

Yes, her name was Ruby, too,
and I remembered Ruby Moyer,
and I remembered Mister Galbraith,
and I thought what shits boys are,
and if we even have a conscience,
it should rape us and rape us
until we bleed.

Charles reads "Conscience":

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Charles confesses: "Rape is such a horrifying crime. I’ve known a few women who've been raped, and the the few details of the violation have just been jaw-dropping. As a male I feel some shared guilt, as irrational as that is."

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP edits The Potomac, an online literary journal, and is the Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, Maryland, where he lives. His latest book is a poetry collection called Mata Hari: Eye of the Day, published by Apprentice House (Loyola University).

1 comment:

Gil Hoy said...

Really like this poem. So powerful, moving and troubling.