Good news,
I have herpes.

That was how she started yesterday’s conversation
along with a belyingly sweet smile
and sing-song voice
before explaining she caught it from a rumor
started as revenge from a guy she rejected.
God bless her for handling 
such despicable behavior with so much grace.
I want to saw that guy’s balls off.

The revelation throws me back to a moonlit night
with a certain scared artist breaking apart
because she doesn’t know how to separate herself
from the narcissistic lover slowly killing her.

A narcissist like the soulless man
who ran me out of my last job,
no matter if I lived or died.

All this to support an honest complaint;
I’m tired of being the loser.

Of course, I know how sour I’m a nice guy has become–
I will never fault anyone
for taking that in with wary heart
since it is too often hijacked by sneaky users–
but we are out there and
(at the risk of crossing into toxic territory, sorry)
we are not the sins of past significants.

We are also not just the boys with hopeful eyes.
We are the employees regularly going above and beyond
until we run ourselves into complete exploitation.
We are the kids that get bullied in the hallways
who find power in never wanting to inflict the same pain.
We are the abused growing up and deciding
somebody needs to break the cycle.
We are the empaths who haven’t mastered our abilities,
guarded by paper boundaries made of conflict aversion.

Chances are if he feels he needs to say it,
you should be questioning it.
As much as I long to lose myself
I prefer to let my actions write my biography.
I prefer to rely on witnesses of my character,
of which I’m confident I have many.

But–and this is crucial–
this plea does not come from a search for personal victory.
Rather, let’s prune natural evil
before people make their identities out of it.
We need to promote the worthy employees,
we need to stand with our dead-beaten travelers.
We need to show the users and exploiters
that such behavior is as intolerable
as it always should have been.
We need to do this together.

This girl who now needs to fight
for clarity of her health
isn’t going to say anything.
I can’t say I don’t support her
because mercy and forgiveness are honorable gifts
but I so wish she would rake him over the coals.
I believe we need to start making examples of these men.
Where better than right at the source?