image from 1944 film Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer,  source: “What Does Gaslight Even Mean?


can I stop by?
I need a needle

and thread to sew on a button.

can I stop by?
I need your advice.

I stepped in. I had to.
can you believe he would hit is own mother?

can I stop by?
I am shaking.

I don’t like you seeing me like this.

Here, feel my heart pound.
I appreciate you.

I have cancer.

I drink too much.  

I am signing up for the navy.
I need to get clean.

I am thankful for the bed to rest.  
I want to walk. let’s talk.
I want you to read my favorite poetry book.

I think you will like it.
this song is for you.

I think you will like it. 

I can do that myself!
I am a master chef, you know.

I want to tell you something.
can we walk?

I needed to drink so I could tell you this.
I wanted to show you I am committed.
I want you to know I trust you.

That is codependent as FUCK.
This isn’t about you, don’t you see that?

You should never blame yourself.
Just breathe. It is not your fault.
I shake too, remember? Just breathe.
{soft as cognitive empathy}

I can get him a job so he can pay for his own.
I’ve got a blunt for him now, actually.

{smirk as testing}

I wanted to see what you would do.
I laugh when I’m scared.

{smirk with cognitive fear}
it won’t happen again.  

i knew you would change your mind.
you ruined my special day.
you ruined it, do you see that? 

I fix everything with ketchup and blame you for its taste.
you’re overthinking this.

asian women are tight.
black women are strong.
white women are white bread in bed.
why is this weird to talk about?  

I’m going to be with someone who wants to be with me.  

there is no room for me to be myself here.
yes, I have to find a less worse place than this.

{snake eyes cornered and grasping}

I could go back into the woods.
{smirk peaking out from puppy dog gaze}

you are dead to me.

can I stay three more days?

{smirk with alligator tears}

both the girls are staying the night.
acid drop Monday times three.  
this is the best day.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.

you’re important to me.

you could be my baby.
you can call me daddy.

would you ever want to join us?
{pseudo sultry cadence}

he broke my arm when I was five.
this is why I stay numb.
you gotta stop letting them take you for granted.

I have nowhere to go.
can I come over for thanksgiving?  

I will judge you for being stupid.
that shirt looks nice on you.
he deserves to be punched in the face.

are you mad at me for saying that?  
I’m using again
{smirk with cognitive whimper}.

those shoes are the worst.
I want to go for a walk in the woods.
let’s toss rocks in the pond and forget.

Why not today?

my friend died.
can you come?  

I am going to sue my boss for spying on me,
can you help me?  

I don’t think you fully grasp what I’m saying;
I’m leaving this earth,
will you come say good-bye?  

never mind,
she asked me to marry her.

she is good for me.

she is a painter,
but it is nothing like your poetry.  

I don’t hide who I am.
I will never leave.

{smirk with threat}  

I am your loyal pitbull.
{smirk as entitlement}

I think you’d like it. 
it’s called knife play.

{smirk as contempt}
you don’t know me. 
{smile with dead eyes}


Harvey Weinstein told me he liked Chinese girls. He liked them because they were discreet, he said — because they knew how to keep a secret. Hours later, he attempted to rape me.” – Ms. Chui, a former assistant of Harvey Weinstein

This poem is shared in solidarity with Ms. Chui. Her is story found in “Harvey Weinstein Told Me He Liked Chinese Girls,” by Rowena Chui, NYT Opinion, October 5, 2019.


author’s note: the inspiration for the title is from Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 2, 2.1.60. “You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!” – Read more here…


Hokis is an American poet of Armenian descent. She is Founder and Senior Editor of Headline Poetry & Press and a regular contributor to Reclamation Magazine. Hokis is widely published digitally and in print. Her poetic memoir "OnBecoming: Aesthetic Evolution of This Rising Ancestor" is available on Amazon or through your indie bookstore. For more, visit hokis.blog.

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