Lighting, Rigged
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Lighting rig

Thirty-five years ago, I was sexually assaulted at a gig. I never told anyone. But over the last few years, some stuff has prompted me to finally address it - by writing this poem.

 

 

Standing by the ticket table,
flogging run-off, stapled zines
Hold as much as I am able,
twenty pences in my jeans

Flogging run-off, stapled zines,
collated on the window sill
Twenty pences in my jeans,
cash goes to the printing bill

Collated on the window sill,
written with a young fan's passion
Cash goes to the printing bill
and booze and fags and anti-fashion

Written with a young fan's passion,
sold to same at sweat-soaked gigs
Booze and fags and anti-fashion,
mixing desks and lighting rigs

Sold to same at sweat-soaked gigs,
powered by punked-up singers, players
Mixing desks and lighting rigs
lapped up by the ticket payers

Powered by punked-up singers, players
I'm chatting with the table guy
Lapped up by the ticket payers,
tap what money can not buy

I'm chatting with the table guy
of favourite bands, guitars and bass
Tap what money can not buy,
he says he'll take me round the place

Favourite bands, guitars and bass -
at seventeen, it's all my rage
He says he'll take me round the place
to show me all the rigs backstage

At seventeen, it's all my rage -
this techy guy has volunteered
To show me all the rigs backstage,
I'll learn my stuff about the gear

The techy guy has volunteered
to show me things I've never seen
I'll learn my stuff about the gear,
perhaps I'll write it in the zine

He'll show me things I've never seen,
expand my learning and my fervour
Perhaps I'll write it in the zine,
spread the news and knowledge further

Expand my learning and my fervour -
that's what teenage me expects
To spread the news and knowledge further -
nothing else do I suspect

That's what teenage me expects
as the backstage door falls shut
Nothing else do I suspect
of this friendly fellow, but

As the backstage door falls shut
I smell the breath and feel the hands
Of this friendly fellow, but
this closeness was not what I'd planned

I smell the breath and feel the hands
he rams his lips full on to mine
This closeness was not what I planned:
he slavers, pants, he's crossed the line

He rams his lips full on to mine:
his pindown grip, abrasive chin
He slavers, pants, he's crossed the line
and leaves his pawprint on my skin

His pindown grip, abrasive chin
I pull right back and push away
He leaves his pawprint on my skin
I hear him laugh at me and say

I pull right back and push away
I must have missed the nudges, winks
I hear him laugh at me and say
I surely didn't really think

I must have missed the nudges, winks,
ignored the signs in his inviting
I surely didn't really think
we'd come in here to see the lighting

Ignored the signs in his inviting,
what a fool that I believed
We'd come in here to see the lighting:
how could I be so naive?

What a fool that I believed
a person meant the words they'd used
It's my fault I was so naive
I must have got my wires confused

A person meant the words they used?
Another meaning overrode
I must have got my wires confused
I'm meant to know the words are code

Another meaning overrode
I feel like such a bloody fool
I'm meant to know the words are code
I wipe my mouth and keep my cool

I still feel like a bloody fool
I try to put it from my mind
I wipe my mouth and keep my cool
and leave my self-esteem behind

I try to put it from my mind
and hold as much as I am able
I leave my self-esteem behind
standing at that ticket table
 

 

Thanks to Stand Up and Spit for publishing this. As a blog reminisicing about the 1980s poetry and fanzine scene, I felt that the poem belonged there.

 

#metoo