Buy Yourself Back Whore

Poem by Pat Lipsky, 1972

Buy yourself back whore
pay the price
you are not too expensive
and all that you have.

Either you have yourself
or you have nothing.
If you are nothing,
then nothing is something:
A place to begin from.

You have performed for others long enough,
breathed for others long enough,
laughed for others, charmed others, long enough.
Laugh for yourself, whore,
laugh for yourself.
Because you are you
and not someone else.

Forget the cat house, you need never return.
Your pimp will not come after you.
He is in the past and can leave you alone
if you can leave him alone.

But can you?
Do you dare to possess your own body for the first time?
Do you dare to live with your own thoughts for the first time?
Can you give up the praise that made you feel real?

Look at yourself whore. You are not bad, only scared.
You have a heart just like anyone else.
Hear it beat, hear it beat,
it beats for you and not someone else.

Live, whore, live,
not in that nostalgia ridden place of the past
but here, now,
in the present.
Do you dare?

Dare it whore, dare it.
It is your only chance
and all that you have