Prompt 1. Week 1. Project 1.

Pretty (by Rebecca Chasteen)

Don’t be so surprised by pretty mouths full of dirty words-
the dirty’s not the part that hurts.

Everyone knows
pretty only gets you so far-
and it’ll come down to
what you’ll swallow
and what you’ll spit,
what you’ll reject
and what you’ll stretch or shrink to fit

Pretty mouths
have to learn
“Me first”
“Fuck you”
or even
“Fuck me”

Pretty mouths have to be
able to say “No”
and spit it with conviction

Pretty mouths
have to practice non-pretty ways
to secure attention

Pretty mouths
have to be willing
to dirty themselves
sex and money and politics,
with opinions and arguments

Pretty mouths
have to put out
what they’re told to take down
so their voice
makes it’s way around
the teeth and tongue and lips,
all the things that rest on the tips…

I’m not saying pretty mouths
can’t gloss it up,
can’t pout it out,
can’t pour out sweet,
and drink sweet down

I’m not saying pretty mouths
can’t move as they choose-
but a pretty mouth that won’t get dirty
may lose all there is to lose

So don’t you dare lay out
for little lips
from the spoons of your mouths

Don’t enchant them
with dreams that someone else must fulfill
(because no one can and no one will)

feed them
honesty and the power of vocabulary
that spans all the things they’ll ever taste or
have to demand or
suck away from someone else
to make sure they have enough for themselves

Feed them love and feed them the gritty,
just don’t feed them
the crutch of pretty.


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Filed under Poem Prompts, Project 1, Week 1

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