I would change the way you look at me.
The way your eyes remove every article of my clothing,
piece by piece.
The way your gaze follows me down the street,
stripping me of my privacy,
and my humanity.
I would change the violence in your eyes.
Your will to overpower
Your exacerbated masculinity
that wants to shame me,
and put me in a box of
perfected feminine docility.
If I could change the world today,
I would make the streets safe
not just from petty crime, rape, and murder
but from the eyes of all the men
who have made me to feel
less than what I really am.
The men who have reduced me
to two arms and two legs,
blonde hair, blue eyes,
tits and ass.
I would make the streets a place
where bare legs, arms, and cleavage
are free to breathe
and absorb the sunlight
in New York,
I would liberate the men of these cities
and of every city and town.
I would free them from the chains
of their socially prescribed masculinity
and finally give them
the universally accepted permission
and to rest their hard and tired bodies.
Lay your head here,
feel my heartbeat.
Feel my human heartbeat.
By Saskia Layden
Saskia Layden is a poet, writer and yoga instructor from New York. She is currently without a home address and can most often be found following nomadic callings to the countries that have stolen her heart, namely Turkey and Brazil. She sustains her lifestyle by exchanging her skills in yoga instruction, creative writing, and foreign languages for food, shelter, and healthy companionship. She is working on her first novel and a poetry collection and uses the inspiration she receives from her travels and human interactions around the world to communicate the complexities of living as a woman, alone and on the road.