Just Breathe…

Kristen Gunning Poetry

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They always say it.

The owners will deny it,

but they always say it.

Do you want a boy toy or a girl toy?

Golden arches beaming,

fast food streaming down conveyers.

As my pressure runs high,

I breathe,

I sigh,

I try to stay calm, goosebumps up and down my arms.

There is no such thing, I say.

Ah, but there is. Don't you know?

The marketers are the ones who are running this show.

They do their best to let us know

what colors are for boys,

and who he’s supposed to be:

Rough and tough; fast and furious.

Never questioning.

Never curious why?

Why is my boy cloaked in blues and blacks?

Why are my boy's toys made to attack?

Is this foreshadowing of days to come ,

where the black and the blue are marks on the face of someone

who wouldn't succumb?

Haven't we been preparing for this day?

Boys will be boys. It's just play.

What difference does it make? gripes the guy behind me in line.

Am I wasting my breath?

Am I wasting my time?

I shut up and move on.

People say, don't go there if it's so bad.

It doesn't matter where you go.

Commercialism is the one who is running the show,

as I dodge and delete,

as we rearrange our seats,

so we don't have to see TV,

while waiting in doctor's offices,

pharmacies,  friend's SUV's.

Wasn't it 44 years ago Marlo gave us Free To Be You and Me?

At the market, my husband flips all the magazines,

so our daughter escapes indoctrination

on what girls are meant to be.

Commercial advancing the TV,

tossing out adds that arrive in the mail, dodging sales.

It's a full time job once you see what it entails.

But it's worth it.

I'm not wasting my time.

My boy stands beside me proudly holding his prize,

a pink pony for all to see.

At least there's that, I think to myself. He'll like what he likes.

Not because it's marked “boy’s” on some store shelf.

We'll fight for his freedom to define who he wants to be.

It's all going to be okay, you'll see.

I feel better now; I have a plan.

He’s destined to be a free man.

It's all his, for the taking.

What about that rhythm he's always making?

Yes, maybe a drummer in a band…

Then a little girl comes over and asks, Why does your boy have a girl toy in his hand?

I breathe…



About the Author

Kristen Gunning

I love writing, as it offers me a way to learn more about myself, and the human experience. Although my experiences are personal, the themes, and emotions I write about are universal. Writing also allows me to creatively express my most challenging emotions, and in doing so, honors them. I live in RI with my husband, Jonathan, and two children, Eli, and Ruby.

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