A Story About My Ex — spoken word poetry

J Haley Phillips
3 min readAug 10, 2020
“You barely even know that something’s wrong… until it’s over.”

This is a story about my ex.
You know, the one who used me for money and sex.

He knew all the motherfucking tricks
And with words like stones and sticks
He broke me…
Not that I couldn’t be fixed.

I said No…
He didn’t fear it.
I said No…
He pretended he didn’t even hear it.
He wheedled around it in every kind of way,
Pushing the right buttons to get me to sway
To the answer HE wanted.

Like money for snacks and video games and a fancy tv.
Or a blow job.
Or sex with no condom when I wasn’t on bc.

As his arms wrapped around me
Tighter, to surround me,
I wanted to pull away but I couldn’t.
He was supposed to let go but he wouldn’t.
And part of me died
when he came inside
And I went numb.

Sure, my choice was dumb.
We all make dumb choices sometimes,
We all lose our voices sometimes…
But that’s not the point, you see.
The point is that he degraded me,
And used me like a whore,
No, like a slave,

No, like I wasn’t even human anymore.

He told me afterward he’d made that decision,
Deliberate, conceited, and full of derision.
So it wasn’t an accident.

I asked “What if I get pregnant?”
He said “I’ve been watching your cycle.”
(Cuz, you know, obviously he cares.)
I asked “What if I get pregnant?”
He said “I’ll push you down the stairs.”
And he laughed about it.
I didn’t bother to ask again about STDs.
He’d said he was clean
But with what I’d now seen
I got tested to make sure I was free of disease.

“I’ll push you down the stairs…”

I had no way to process what had happened,
Even after he said it.
Somehow I still thought he had some kind of integrity
But that was giving him too much credit.
Maybe I had a moment or two (or three)
When I was less than who I wanted to be.
But he has a whole lifetime ahead…
He’ll be sociopath scum until he’s dead.

I did things I never would have said Yes to
because he stole my No.
I did things I’m embarrassed to confess to
because he made it so.
And maybe these days I’m a little jaded,
But that’s because I know what it’s like
To be manipulated,
Twisted, turned, and so discombobulated
That you barely even know what’s going on…
You barely even know that something’s wrong…
Until it’s over.

So claim your No, my friends, take it back if you must.
That’s how this story ends.
That’s how you find your way back to trust.
Wield it like a weapon to protect everything you are.
Wave it high and wildly, let it be seen near and far,
So that others will know your boundaries.

And remember, as it’s been said…
Now, stick this on a Post-It inside your head…

“No is a complete sentence.”

Full stop.
Mic drop.



J Haley Phillips

I’m an editor/writer/coach with a focus on inspiring, empowering, and healing content. I love tea, travel, long hippie skirts, and diving deep into the Self.