From the recording Punched in The Head

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Lyrics Puma Perl
Music Joe Sztabnik


Punched in the Head

When you’re walking down East Broadway
carrying a bright red tote containing four library books
and a small Trader Joe’s bag with a metal colander in it
and your phone, keys and wallet are safely tucked away
and you stop to look at a photograph of a neighborhood artist
you might get punched in the head by a guy about 5’7
wearing wraparound shades and a multicolored hoodie.

Probably your own fault.
Your mother always said you read too many books.

When you’re walking down East Broadway
and you get punched in the head
an older man tells you to calm down it’s okay
that you got punched in the head and a younger guy
fiddles with his phone and says he didn’t see anything
and your own phone is so safely tucked away
that you can’t take a picture of the guy in the hoodie
who looks over his shoulder when you what the fuck at him
and rounds the corner onto Jefferson Street while
the older man makes sssssh gestures with both his hands.

Probably your own fault.
For being a woman who stops to look
at photographs and takes her eyes off the road.

After the guy punches you in the head
you tell yourself you should have chased him
you should have clocked him
you should have hit him with a book
you should have hit him with a colander
you should have carried mace
instead of a book and a colander
you should have been able to reach your phone.

Probably all your own fault.
Because you didn’t train like a ninja
because you’re not Princess Leia
because you didn’t hear him come up behind you
because you stood so close to too many amps
because you had crushes on bass players
who always wound up with other girls anyway
because you didn’t marry anyone
and now you lack the invisible protective shield
of somebody’s arm across your shoulders.

After you get punched in the head on East Broadway
you are convinced to file a police report
and the officer who takes the report is too nice
to be competent and has the same name
as your former dentist and a NY Mets pitcher
and the detective is the same age as your son.

And Victim Services calls and you hate the world “victim”
And the detective calls and says it’s a crime against the “elderly”
and assures you that you don’t look elderly
and you hate the world “elderly” and then it turns out it’s filed
as a misdemeanor, sort of like stealing a red lipstick from Rite Aid.

Probably your own fault.
You should have provoked him to hit you harder.
Then at least he’d be charged as a felon.

© puma perl, 10/23/21