National Poetry Slam Finals 2014 – “Say No” Olivia Gatwood, Megan Falley


It is summer the smell of beer and hotdogs are sweet in the air like the national anthem. It’s baseball season! And you love baseball and going to these games with your boyfriend. And today it might be the perfect day As you watch the little boys with their sticky grins on their fathers shoulders. As you watch all the happy people on the Jumbotron. And then you see your own face and your boyfriend down on one knee. And then you see an engagement ring so big it blinds the screen. And when when he looks at you, like he caught the home-run ball And then you look up and see the thousands of people in the stadium rooting for you To do it. To say yes! This is for the woman who says no. They will boo you as you run down the stadium steps because it will never be the wedding aisle. Someone will throw popcorn at you because it will never be rice or confetti. Someone will catch your wrist because it will never be the bouquet. They will call you a villain, a bitch. They will call you worse They will curse the day you learned any other words besides Yes And sorry The ones that think themselves kind will ask why you couldn’t just fake it for the screen. Why you had to make “no” a public thing There are little girls in the audience after all and you denied them their FUCKING fairy tale Someone will tell your now ex-boyfriend how undeserving you are. How any sane woman would have loved that proposal. And you must have not been shit anyway Probably crazy, and he will nod And somewhere a man calls a woman from outside his car window “Hey sexy! Come closer” She says “no” “Cunt, you’re ugly anyway!” Somewhere a woman argues for a higher salary And her coworker call her a bitch in the break room Somewhere a woman’s friends signed her up for a makeover show The audience laughs when she says she loves her sweatpants The audience laughs when they throw them out anyway Somewhere a girl is told that if she doesn’t want to hear the song about rape Don’t listen to it! But it follows her in the supermarket, the gym, the girl’s clothing aisle And now she knows all the words Somewhere a woman is told to get naked at frat parties, she refuses A boy with a kind smile puts his arm around her, offers her a beer filled with the magic that erases No Her vocabulary, I am 16 in the managers office of my first job My boss, whispers a list of the things he will do to my body I say ‘no” and he threatens my next paycheck. My long term boyfriends bed, after having sex 5 times already that morning I say “no” and he says “This probably isn’t going to work” In Connecticut a girl is asked to senior prom by someone other than her boyfriend She says “no” and his knife blooms a corsage in her chest In California, a young virgin boy thinks about you and the ones like you The ones that said “no” and the audience that boos And the poor sucker who was owed something then denied it. And he cocks his gun

100 thoughts on “National Poetry Slam Finals 2014 – “Say No” Olivia Gatwood, Megan Falley

  1. One of the most powerful poems I have ever listened to ✨✨

  2. The silence after they say "and he cocks his gun" gives me chills it was so good

  3. this should not be considered poetry, this is a scripted, impassioned speech about a touchy subject that rings close to those womens' beliefs. this does not prove any poetic talent nor does it deserve the acknowledgment of making it to the finals of a poetry slam. key word being "POETRY" not an "impassioned, well-written speech" there is a huge difference between the two , and an inexorabley bigger mount of talent required to write actual poetry , rather than what is presented in this video. for reference , this is poetry:
    Dull sublunary lovers’ love
    (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
    Absence, because it doth remove
    Those things which elemented it.

    But we by a love, so much refined,
    That our selves know not what it is,
    Inter-assured of the mind,
    Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
    “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” John Donne.

    If this is considered poetry by the standards of the new wave, then i do not want to have naught to do with it

  4. Ugh, slam poetry has always and will always sound terrible, no matter the message.

  5. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5IjxzQAOYCIK2Zv1zx7BZQ

    here I take pride in introducing the concept of motion poetry , do share, subscribe and like !

  6. the people proposing in front of a huge crowd are just weird to me. you put the person you propose to in such an uncomfortable situation, especially if they want to say no.

  7. The echo is so bad, it's hard for me to make out some of the words. Better speaker placement and acoustic treatments, please.

  8. i come hear bc i never join poetry competition before , next week I'll be infront of the crowd and im not sure to speak like this but this is so power to me and i hope so I'll do it good with my friends , i wish our voices is more smoother and be the greatest than this but im not sayin' that this is bad . wish me luck anyway! 😉❤

  9. When someone is silence does not give you permission sometimes it's because their numb on the inside and scared of what is gonna happen

  10. Came across this looking for spoken word. As someone who is a lot (lot) older It made me sad of two things – that their country seems to be so wrecked, and that young women should be getting angry about the subject in the 21st century in said so-called developed country. Not that there is an excuse in so-called developing countries. But still.

  11. if they cannot say yes, they cannot say no.

    lovely work ladies. your poetry speaks volumes.

  12. i'm an iranian . the content is a good one but the problem with these things that you call poem is that they have no meter and no good rhyme . do sth about it dear english speaking people

  13. I'm so glad that I was able to see them there. It was amazing. I was young and I didn't know about rape culture. I didn't know what rape even was! I did not know the first thing about consent. Thank you to these girls for that chance.

  14. I am not a native English speaker, so I'm not really sure what the ending means.

    In California, a young virgin boy thinks about you,
    and the ones like you, the ones who said no,
    and the audience of boos, and the poor sucker
    who was owed something
    then denied it
    and cocks his gun.

    What does this paragraph mean? love this btw.

  15. A guy liked me and I rejected him. After that he let me pay for all the stuff he bought for me and started spreading stuff about me to his friends and other people. I felt guilty at first but then I realized that I shouldn't and I kept wondering if I did the wrong thing. But I realized that I'm not required to say yes. Because I have a choice.

  16. The biggest issue I see with these sorts of slam poetry narratives is the lack of self awareness. They are saying this stuff for no one but themselves and those who think like them, not bothering or caring to make any real change or changing other people's minds.

  17. i was asked to homecoming by a boy i don’t like in that way but he worships me in front of my entire class and everyone was cooing and saying “awww” but i said “you’re a really sweet guy but no..” and later that day everyone started calling me a “bitch” and that i was rude for saying no but everyone who asked me about it i said “he asked me a question and i gave him his answer” and i walked away. within the first few seconds of this slam i was roped in through personal experience. thank you for this.

  18. This is so potent. The line about getting the words to the song of rape drummed into your head especially everywhere you go especially hit home.

  19. It is summer. The smell of beer and hotdogs
    is sweet in the air like a national anthem.
    It’s baseball season, and you love baseball,

    and going to these games with your boyfriend.
    And today might be the perfect day
    as you watch the little boys with their sticky grins

    on their father’s shoulders. As you watch
    all the happy people on the Jumbotron —
    and then you see your own face

    and your boyfriend down on one knee.
    and then you see an engagement ring
    so big it blinds the screen.

    And the way he looks at you
    like he caught the home run ball.
    And then you look up

    and see the thousands
    of people in the stadium, rooting for you,
    to do it, to say yes.

    This is for the woman who says no:

    They will boo you as you run down the stadium steps
    because it will never be the wedding aisle.

    Someone will throw popcorn at you
    because it will never be rice, or confetti.

    Someone will catch your wrist
    because it will never be a bouquet.

    They will call you a villain. A bitch.
    They will call you worse.

    They will curse the day you learned any other words
    besides yes and sorry.

    The ones who think themselves kind will ask
    why you couldn’t just fake it for the screen,

    why you had to make no a public thing.
    There were little girls in the audience after all
    and you denied them their fucking fairytale.

    Someone will tell your now ex-boyfriend
    how undeserving you are, how any sane woman
    would have loved that proposal,

    and you must not have been shit anyway,
    probably crazy, and he will nod.
     
    And somewhere a man calls to a woman from his car window,
    Hey sexy, come closer. She says no,

                    — Cunt, you are ugly anyway.

    Somewhere a woman argues for a higher salary
    and her co-workers call her a bitch in the break room.

    Somewhere a woman’s friends sign her up
    for a makeover show. The audience laughs

    when she says she loves her sweatpants.
    The audience laughs when they throw them out anyway.

    Somewhere a girl is told that if she doesn’t want to
    hear the song about rape, don’t listen to it,but it follows her

    in the supermarket, the gym, the girl’s clothing aisle,
    and now she knows all the words.

    Somewhere a woman is told to get naked at a frat party.
    She refuses, a boy with a kind smile puts his arm around her,
    offers her a beer, filled with the magic that erases No from her vocabulary.

    I am sixteen In the manager’s office of my first job,
    and my boss whispers a list of the things he would do to my body.
    I say no, and he threatens my next pay check.

    In my long-term boyfriend’s bed,
    after having sex five times that morning, I say no,
    he says, this probably isn’t going to work.

    In Connecticut, a girl is asked to senior prom
    by someone other than her boyfriend. She says no
    and his knife blooms a corsage in her chest.

    In California, a young virgin boy thinks about you,
    and the ones like you, the ones who said no,
    and the audience of boos, and the poor sucker

    who was owed something
    then denied it

    and cocks his gun.

  20. Wow. Call me naive and uneducated, but I was not prepared for something from Poetry Slam to be that powerful. I stand corrected.

  21. Actually, to be statistically correct, women have the gender advantage over men nowadays. They get jobs easier because companies are afraid of being called "Sexist" or are afraid of a lawsuit because they won't hire a woman. The wage gap is there for a reason. You son't see men getting pregnant and taking a year off. Yes women go through a lot during pregnancy and deserve it, but women get more benefits then men. Women are favored in court. In a domestic violence case against a woman, a man is more likely to lose the case than a woman if she filed it against a man. Women have all advantages over men these days, and it's tiring. Women aren't oppressed.

  22. " there were little girls in the audience after all and you denied them their fucking fairytale! "

  23. I love these two. I hope they release a book together. They are both so passionate and emotional about their poetry.

  24. The point of the video isn't that everyone who says yes is being pressured or is just being polite. The point is (or at least what I interpreted it as) that no matter what the situation is, no matter what your gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation (etc.) is, you have the right to say NO. If there was only one answer to the question, they wouldn't ask.

  25. the one wearing the cat dress looks sorta like Marissa from K.C. Undercover…Anyone agree

  26. That was really good. The reason it was good because it was true. We’re all manipulated if we say no because they always expect us to say yes. No we don’t always have to say that.

  27. Holy frick, the last part messed me up. This has a very important message to it.

  28. Jesus Christ how does no one get this? Just putting it simply, feminism is when someone believes a woman should have the same rights as a man, misandrists are women who hate men. It's not hard to understand.

  29. OH MY GOD I'M ADDICTED TO SLAM POETRY!!!!!! also you two rock! I love the awareness of women abuse, I guess, that you guys spread. Totally inspires me!

  30. Don't ask a question if you aren't prepared to hear the honest answer.
    IT'S NOT THAT FUCKING HARD

  31. But…why did she say no to a marriage proposal…?
    that's not an offensive thing is it?

  32. I always get chills listening to this, goddamn, so empowering.

  33. I'm 14 and all guys in my school rate girls' bodies from 1-10 and according to them I'm a 10… To be honest I'm tired of hearing whistles and guys asking for nudes every day and then being pissed if I don't send them… All the girls in my year tell me I'm lucky and "can i be you for a day"… I'm definitely the opposite of lucky I'm getting tired of guys only wanting me for my body… what makes guys think its okay to come up to me and say " the size of your ass"… I'm tired of getting nudes from guys much older than me like 20-60 when i obviously didn't ask for them… I'm one of the "popular" girls and I have to pretend like everything is going great and take all sexual comments as compliments… I'm really tired of seeing the male teachers look at my body… I'm tired of my mam slut shaming me if i wear jeans or shorts… I'm crying right now as I'm typing this I wish someone understood me no one does because they think I'm lucky… I'm tired of being pressured into doing things with guys and I know I'll probably get raped soon because rape is a big issue in my school and I heard some guys that are around 18 say " Wait and see I'm gonna bend her over one day"… And those guys are much older and stronger so I know that if they are gonna go against me I'm not gonna stand a chance… I don't wanna be a sexual object… Nowadays all I worry about is the stares because I know that when I turn around guys are talking about my ass… Some don't even try to hide it… I wish this would stop I hate the way I have to pretend everything is fine I really wish I wasn't considered a 10…

  34. This is my actual favorite slam right now. I love the emotion in the performance

  35. I can’t help but laugh when, the people in the comments that are hating on the poem, are saying that this is “anti-men” or whatever. To be clear, it isn’t. They’re talking about the bad men, no all men. And seriously, did any of you hear the ending?! 😆 BTW- if anyone tries to argue with me, I probably won’t respond unless it’s been a shitty day for me or because something that was uncalled for was said.

  36. "Hey sexy! Come closer!"

    She says NO.

    "***t! You're ugly anyway."

    —I have dealt with this, too much.

  37. All these men saying "what about me?" While there are more women out there screaming "get away from me!" Now i do understand bad things happen to men as well, my boyfriend was raped by another man. But females and males need to stop yelling me and start yelling us.

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