Adrienne Rich`s #Rape- but the hysteria in your voice pleases him best #poem #Vaw


Rape

The main character who the speaker is talking to first is a woman who has been sexually violated. She is a victim of a heinous and very private, embarrassing crime. The officer that she has reported her situation to is a policeman who patrols her area and who her family knows and trust. Her family is very close to this officer, for “he comes from your block, grew up with your brothers.” She doesn’t know him that well though, which makes her telling him about the incident that much more painful and uncomfortable. She gives him all the details of the crime and about her assailant. She has the idea that the cop may have been her rapist. The woman has a certain bit of suspicion about the officer, but she is not sure. “Rape” is a poem about a woman who is reporting a case of rape to a policeman who may just be the criminal responsible for the offense himself. The violated woman isn’t convinced that the policeman is the rapist, but the speaker defiantly suspects him.

There is a cop who is both prowler and father:

he comes from your block, grew up with your brothers,
had certain ideals.
You hardly know him in his boots and silver badge,
on horseback, one hand touching his gun.
You hardly know him but you have to get to know him:
he has access to machinery that could kill you.
He and his stallion clop like warlords among the trash,
his ideals stand in the air, a frozen cloud
from between his unsmiling lips.
And so, when the time comes, you have to turn to him,
the maniac’s sperm still greasing your thighs,
your mind whirling like crazy. You have to confess
to him, you are guilty of the crime
of having been forced.
And you see his blue eyes, the blue eyes of all the family
whom you used to know, grow narrow and glisten,
his hand types out the details
and he wants them all
but the hysteria in your voice pleases him best.
You hardly know him but now he thinks he knows you:
he has taken down your worst moment
on a machine and filed it in a file.
He knows, or thinks he knows, how much you imagined;
he knows, or thinks he knows, what you secretly wanted.
He has access to machinery that could get you put away;
and if, in the sickening light of the precinct,
and if, in the sickening light of the precinct,
your details sound like a portrait of your confessor,
will you swallow, will you deny them, will you lie your way home?
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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Vivien E. Zazzau
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 21:33:57

    Reply

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