Poetry: Broken Box

By Christine Stark

I can’t write nothing
Beautiful. I am expected to be that way because I am a girl writer and we are supposed to have some sort of lock on pretty things. I don’t own no box and I ain’t got no lock.

was picked a long time ago and no way can I be Beautiful now. I am what everyone hates.

makes me silent. Like I don’t want to talk. Why should I talk when all I hear is negative?

whore is what I hear. It picks my lock and breaks my box. I got a broken box.

is what I feel. To be pretty wear dresses write forgiveness. I don’t forgive nobody for breaking my box.

mother. Not father. Not father’s friends. Not the people in the world who won’t let me talk real in my voice who say I got to talk this way about these things and not my way about what I know: broken boxes.

write Beautiful. Stupid people shove language rules down my throat like father and his friends. Stupid people try to make me shut up.

say trust. Talk. They act like a flower all beautiful and soft say they’ll listen. But they lie.

is stupid. See a music box with a dancing girl on top? Spins in a circle on its tip toes. I step on it. Broken box.

Christine Stark is a writer, artist, speaker, and activist of European and American Indian ancestry. She is also a survivor of prostitution and pornography. She lives in Minnesota.

Also See: Pimping: The World’s Oldest Profession by Kathleen Barry in this edition of On The Issues Magazine.

Also See: The Poet’s Eye
Two Views by Minnie Bruce Pratt and Erin Whifield in this edition of On The Issues Magazine


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Merle Hoffman's Choices: A Post-Roe Abortion Rights Manifesto

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“Merle Hoffman has always known that in a democracy, we each have decision-making power over the fate of our own bodies. She is a national hero for us all.” —Gloria Steinem

In the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe V. Wade and a country divided, Merle Hoffman, a pioneer in the pro-choice movement and women’s healthcare, offers an unapologetic and authoritative take on abortion calling it “the front line and the bottom line of women’s freedom and liberty.” 

Merle Hoffman has been at the forefront of the reproductive freedom movement since the 1970s. Three years before the Supreme Court legalized abortion through Roe v. Wade, she helped to establish one of the United States’ first abortion centers in Flushing, Queens, and later went on to found Choices, one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive women’s medical facilities. For the last five decades, Hoffman has been a steadfast warrior and fierce advocate for every woman’s right to choose when and whether or not to be a mother.