Be Gone by Phoenix

You devour me with every look— 
eyes blazing in a desert
glimpsing a fleeting mirage;
no matter how my lips move
you see them revolving,
no matter where I sit
my bottom’s the sun—
you seek no other light;
my legs are a crime so obvious
to move left or right or hold them tight to hide,
slithering like a snake
I feel your eyes everywhere;
the cleavage big or small
cannot help cleaving your brains—
the man who has respect is gone
the primitive man is all that remains;
my hair floating in your imagination
as if I were flying onto your lap,
and stopping to take a sip of your nectar
as if Jove’s blessings were spilled in a cup
and I were blessed to hold on to each drop
a tribesman in a suit and tie
as if all words in your dictionary
meant sex and all roads led to your bed.

Be gone! I have not endured all that time
to end up in a slaver’s arms like yours;
hold on to your virile honor—
only in the mirror you see it as great,
Be gone! with your pornographic dreams
you thought at the scene, I would drop dead
crawling on all fours like a pet
cuddling your feet to please;
Caesar, what have you conquered?
but virgin hearts and crystal souls,
and pillaged and burnt and left
and thought we were all like that—
a cold-blooded killer boasting
his knife has just defeated flesh,
and flesh is smeared by letting it in
with blood and shame and adultery—
you’ve never seen the woman in me
only an animal— as if I were a mirror;
Be gone! with your dreams and concubines
I stand tall like an old oak tree
but all that’s keeping you upright
is an old dry stick fighting like hell—
you know one day when it’s broken
and no other morals stand by,
you’ll drop down and be dead.

“Be Gone”: Resisting Objectification and Reclaiming Power

Phoenix’s poem “Be Gone” is a scathing and defiant response to the relentless assault of the male gaze. It’s a stark look at the ways women’s bodies are hypersexualized and dissected, reducing them to mere objects of desire for male consumption.

Dissecting the Poem

The poem’s speaker is a woman relentlessly objectified by a man. Through vivid imagery and powerful metaphors, Phoenix exposes the oppressive nature of his gaze:

  • Eyes that Devour: The man’s eyes are consuming, fixated solely on the speaker’s physical attributes. She is reduced to a collection of body parts, not a whole person.
  • Dehumanizing Comparisons: He sees her as an animal, a “snake” or a “pet.” Her womanhood is erased, her autonomy denied.
  • Distorted Fantasies: His mind fixates on obscene scenarios based solely on her appearance, robbing her of agency and individuality.

The Price of Objectification

The poem highlights the damaging effects of objectification on its target:

  • Loss of Self: The speaker feels her identity and humanity dissolving under the man’s predatory gaze. She is a “mirror” reflecting only his desires, not her own.
  • Internalized Shame: References to “adultery” and “flesh smeared” suggest how the weight of these objectifying views breeds shame and degrades the woman’s perception of herself.
  • The Male Ideal as Destroyer: The man is ironically weakened by his own unchecked libido. His “virtue” is a brittle facade, his conquests leaving behind “burnt” and “pillaged” souls.

Defiance and Strength

“Be Gone” doesn’t end in defeat. The speaker rises with powerful defiance:

  • Commanding Rejection: She casts the man away, refusing to be complicit in her own dehumanization. “Be Gone!” is an act of self-preservation.
  • Reclaiming Power: The oak tree imagery symbolizes the speaker’s strength and resilience in contrast to the flimsy basis of the man’s objectifying power.

The Wider Impact

Phoenix’s poem challenges the harmful notion that women’s bodies exist primarily for male gratification. It speaks to a universal female experience of being scrutinized, judged, and defined by external, often sexualized, standards. In its unyielding defiance, the poem empowers women to resist these dehumanizing forces and to assert their full humanity.


“Be Gone” is a powerful, thought-provoking poem that cuts to the core of a damaging societal issue. Its raw honesty and vivid imagery resonate with anyone who has felt the weight of the objectifying gaze. Through resistance and affirmation, the poem offers a path towards reclaiming autonomy and celebrating the strength that lies beyond external definitions.

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