Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


Besides the Music

in MeToo/Politics by

X:         Was it loud?
Y:         There was music playing
           in the bedroom.
           It was turned up louder
           once we were in the room.

X:         Besides the music. Was it loud?
Y:         I could hear them very clearly
           hitting the walls.
           I could hear them
           walking down the stairs.

X:         Was it loud?
Y:         I yelled, hoping
           someone might hear,
           his hand over my mouth
           to stop me.

X:         You do remember what happened,
           do you not? Was it loud?
Y:         Indelible in the hippocampus
           is the laughter,
           the laugh—
           the uproarious laughter.

X:         Was there any other music
           or television
           or anything like that?
Y:         Have you ever been alone
           in a room suffering in pained silence
           after spending decades trying to forget?
           Just waiting for the strongest memory—

X:         Was it loud?
Y:         Yes, it was.

X:         A polished liar can create
           a seamless story. Was it loud?
Y:         I’m just using memories:
           These calendars, a period
           of time, absurd as they are
           in the sense of all the handwriting
           that’s on them:
           an X or a question mark,
           house parties or gatherings of friends,
           marks next to homes,
           my greatest fears—

           Take this moment from me.
           Take whatever time you need.
           Take whatever.

X:         You came to the wrong town
           at the wrong time.
           Was it loud?
Y:         My responsibility
           is to tell you the truth.
           I will do whatever’s in my power:
           I remember.
           I was pushed, seared, haunted.
           His weight was heavy.


All lines in this poem are taken from text in the transcript of the “Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to Be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Day 5, Focusing on Allegations of Sexual Assault” (September 27, 2018).

Professional editor J. Todd Hawkins writes and lives in Texas. He is the author the chapbooks Ten Counties Away (Finishing Line Press) and more recently What Happens When We Leave (forthcoming from Blackbeard Books), for which he won the William D. Barney Memorial Chapbook Contest. His poetry has appeared in AGNI, The Bitter Oleander, The Louisville Review, Bayou Magazine, Sakura Review, and American Literary Review.

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

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