‘We Are Born, Then Manufactured’- Poems by Leeza von Alpen

We are born, then manufactured

how peculiar it is

that magazines tell me

how I should be a woman

when I was not born

with crossed legs

and hairless arms

and cherry lips

and peculiar still

is that these magazines

never think to mention

how much money

we would all save

(and corporations would lose)

if we all decided

not to starve ourselves

to fatten another’s wallet

if we all decided

we were our own

definition of beautiful


how peculiar

it is to me

that we are born

and then manufactured

and made to be

each other’s


rather than sisters;

how peculiar still

it is to me

that in the animal kingdom

males attract the females

with bright colours

and dances

and the females

are with choice

but in our world

these decisions are reversed

despite that we

are still animals

when it comes to

clawing at our


and to be found appealing

I must paint myself

and preen myself

to even get a second glance

because when people look

at you

they do not see

your beautiful mind

or your hard work

or your won battles

or your laughter;

they see skin and

they do not see a soul

and this is what

they are told

to look for

and I will forever find it peculiar

that magazines tell me

how I should,

as a woman,

dress in my own skin.


I’ll wear the words on my skin


I’ll wear the words on my skin

in my honeyed smile

through the gentle graze

of my fingertips

against your skin;

tracing the veins on your wrist

in a meek attempt

to hint at hand-holding.

in my creased eyes

and open arms.

I’ll wear the words on my skin

because I tremble at the thought

of voicing the phrase aloud too often;

of wearing out the syllables;

fraying its fabric,

like my favourite jumper

holey and faded

from being worn countless times;

so I’ll wear them on my skin

like peaceful war paint

to show that I’ll fight for you

oh, yes

I’ll wear them until

I wear them out

because what we do

speaks louder

than anything

we could ever say

  I love you —


Words by Leeza von Alpen

Leeza HeadshotLeeza is a writer and poet (both written and slam), and an English and History high school teacher. In her spare time, she treks through rainforests and star watches. She loves paperbacks, Hayao Miyazaki movies with milkless tea, and puns. You can follow her on Twitter@leezajayde and Instagram @leezajaydepoetry


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