POETRY: CEX by Rowena

Writer and spoken word artist Rowena shares ‘CEX’, the second of her spoken word pieces in a series, this one is about period shaming.

Let’s reminisce to 2007

Tony Blair, thin eyebrows, sweet sixteen heaven.

My boyfriend and I are in town, CEX

His hand resting on my arse for context

Less protective, more possessive

Making sure that no one takes his.

My boyfriend and I are in town, CEX

As always, conversation leads to sex

Next, he says, “I’ve got a free house tonight.”

And I act more excited than I am

On the inside, because I know

That Aunt Flo has turned up

Uninvited, and I curse that I did

Wish on eyelashes and dandelions 

When I was thirteen for Aunt Flo to come and go just so 

I could use tampons

And be as grown up as my friends.

Aunt Flo who pisses on your chips 

On the first day of trips to Madrid.

Aunt Flo who can’t even go by her

Real name, for shame.

My boyfriend and I are in town, CEX

Tonight he thinks we’re gonna have sex,

But I have something to confess 

And I don’t know how to say it best.

Deep breath, just be honest:

“Actually Dave, I’m on.” He’ll get the gist.

He didn’t get the gist.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen

Perhaps on your phone or laptop screen

The scenes on YouTube of Alsatian dogs

Who hear a sudden fart and then their head… nods.

Bewildered, bemused, perplexed

I suspect I may have to explain

Myself further, to my disdain.

“On what?”

Not sure how else to express

And when I said

“I’m on my period,” he

Recoiled, snatched his hand from my arse, he

Screwed up his face, twisted his neck away, he

Did an awesome job of making clear to me 

What he though of my body, the words he spat,

“Ugh, Rowena, did you have to tell me that?”

My boyfriend and I are in town, CEX

In that moment I realised my worth, just sex.

If I can’t offer that, I’m useless, gross.

It’s plain to see integrity doesn’t come close

To cumming, though with him I never came close.

He doesn’t care for my wit; it’s hollow,

Only if I spit or swallow.

Let’s fast forward, 

2019, we’ve  been 

married three years now.

Of course I jest, we didn’t last

Last I heard from him was dumping him

On MSN beginning with “we need 2 tlk”

Poor kid distraught, but I’d moved on

To a ponytailed male who would go on

To star in Peaky Blinders, you’d find us

Kissing in Kings Heath Park beneath the dark

Sky and I won’t deny it didn’t last

I couldn’t move past him

Screwing his face when I confessed

I needed a piss.

I’m married now to a guy, with a 

Young son and done some thinking

About how to inform young blood

About Our Blood and if he ever

Sees a stain he won’t complain

And if he ever hears a mate

Or spouse spout those two words;

“I’m on.”

He doesn’t jar, let alone start

Tilting his head like that god damn dog

With that god damn fart.


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