Patriarchy’s Playbook

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Image courtesy of: Saatchi Art Artist Priyesh Soni; Painting, “Feminist” #art

 

When you’re born female, the sublimation begins

They dress you in pink and hand you a doll

You’re taught to measure yourself through the lens of Barbie’s Body

But you want to run with the boys,

race them on the track and on the trails,

 play in the dirt

wear their pants and ride their bikes.

You fight for your rights in courts and on the streets.

Battles are won.

Laws are passed.

Equality is at hand!

But it’s been a myth all along.

Repressive regimes have been growing underfoot and under your nose.

(If you want the truth).

They want to hold your brain and body hostage.

They want to quell your true nature.

Your intellectual and sexual expression are to remain shrouded,

never to be shown.

They tell you that you are the stumbling block,

the provocateur of your brothers’ lustful sins.

Your leggings* and sport bras** are distractions to praying and playing boys.

  The patriarchy plays the long game.

Your freedoms will not expire quickly.

They will slowly become nonexistent.

They will transition from solids to gasses.

A  purification of the female:

Death by a thousand little cuts

 

Day 8:Having come of age in the 1970’s, I remember being on the track and cross-country teams with the boys because we had yet to develop a girls’ program. The boys were great mates. Later, when we had a girls’ team and when I joined an AAU one, I remember strongly the feeling of empowerment and freedom as a young woman. What is happening now is absolutely appalling. We will not go down without fighting!

*https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/01/fashion/leggings-notre-dame-controversy.html?emc=edit_nn_20190407&nl=morning-briefing&nlid=8029016320190407&te=1

** https://www.teenvogue.com/story/college-student-ended-sexist-sports-bra-ban-odyssey-essay

Manufactured Milk and Honey

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Image courtesy of: https://saunteringpilgrim.com/2016/11/20/giving-thanks-in-the-land-of-milk-and-honey/

 

You say this is Paradise

You sing songs of praise

You compare your sunny sunshine

to places of blustery blizzards

as if the cold snapping

  and wind whipping weather

is a permanent hell,

rather than a seasonal phenomenon,

a life cycle that births the fields that feed us.

And what of your impervious impenetrable scape?

Is it a highway to heaven?

How far can you see?

Have you looked up from your holy book?

Have you yet to temper

your sallow sermons

your vicious verses

your jaded judgments

that you’ve been unleashing on others?

Where is the  Love?

The Openness?

The Affirmation of Another’s Humble Humanity?

Beware of Paradise!

Dig just a bit deeper

Flip that coin

You may very well find another treasure trove

A revelation

that it is nothing

but a cult-like con game

a parkway for plutocrats

 serial suppressors of fundamental rights

a no mans land of malls

drive by maniacs*

where Guns, God and “Girls! Girls! Girls!” coexist

as if divinely ordained.

 

* A recent news story here where a man shot two others, killing one, in a road rage incident

Day 7: This one is an amalgamation of various experiences, observations and  news items from living here in the sunny South.

Mountains on My Mind

I dream of a woodland retreat.

A mountainous oasis.

Walking in the forest

Bathing in nature

as the green canopy of hardwood trees

sways and sings.

My boots help me find my way.

I pause and listen to a rushing stream.

As I  leap onto slippery and misshapen rocks,

I pray for balance.

I lean toward the outstretched hand of my son,

who seems to have danced on the water.

His fording is eased by the length of his body.

I long to be more limber and less awkward.

  My backpack hugs my body

I feel oddly at ease with its great weight.

 As I take deep, deep breaths,

I feel the tension slough off my body.

Can mountain air comfort you like a warm blanket?

The long granite beds replace the scrambled boulders.

Another summit

Another Celebration

We rest upon them and gaze into Infinity

At one with the Divine

 

Day 6: In 12 days I head north.  My spirit yearns for cooler altitudes and time with my tribe. The photo is from a hike to Camel’s Hump in Vermont that Emily and I completed. I have yet to write about that day!  One of the most mentally challenging in my life…

Morning Deluge

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            Image Courtesy of: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/early-morning-                rain-sallie-wysocki.html

 

Held hostage by the gravity of sleep,

the ceiling fan spins its hum.

The alarm has been snoozed

My mind fogged is fogged by dreams

It starts as a tapping

and moves quickly into a steady beat.

I kneel at the window,

my eyes unfocused,

peering into the early morning darkness.

I only see trees swaying

Awake now, I stumble down  the hall

and in mere seconds

the sky has released a deluge.

The park is filling with an amber rain

Black puddles shine in my back yard

Overhead, thunder rolls and rumbles

Its vibrations felt by my feet

I pray for its passing

and the easing of the rain.

I long to run before my work day begins

The trail will be flanked by vernal pools

hundreds of frogs

-immaculately conceived-

will engage in their chorus.

In these few moments

A reincarnation of Old Florida reveals itself

Beckoning and Begging and Beseeching

to be Saved before it sinks.

 

Day 5:  Fine tuning this before the end of  a work day.  Written in the early hours.  Published now.

A Lonely Woman

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      Image courtesy of: https://pixels.com/featured/lonely-woman-maya-n.html

 

I know a lonely woman

She hides behind her book thumping faith

I know a lonely woman

She lives vicariously through her children

infantilizing and sheltering them

from the world’s wicked ways.

I know a lonely woman

She is pretending perfect piety

I know a lonely woman

I see her simmering suffering

  I know a lonely woman

She is relentlessly religious

I know a lonely woman

I see the insecurity beneath the striving

I know a lonely woman

She did the “right thing”

I know a lonely woman

She married to cover her “sin”

  I know a lonely woman

But does she know herself?

Day 4: I opened up my bedside journal and found  the start of this poem, very rough. I wrote those ideas last September.  Somehow even this piece is not quite the whole story, but it does reveal some of her.

She Persists

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                                      Hamsa: The Hand of Fatima

   (courtesy of: http://mythologian.net/symbols-strength-extensive-list/)

 

You were whole along

Even when the weaponed words cut you

and hammered their hurt.

Tied you to the tracks

as the lumbering locomotive lurched towards you.

You defied the Damsel in Distress Delegations,

beating the drum to your own destiny.

Still today

You were pinpricked.

Blood bursting

unexpected spatter that landed on the floor and walls.

Faint whispers of long ago depositions

and ugliness attempted a resurgence.

Someone poisoned the well,

but you refused to drink.

You tended the wound

and sealed the leak.

Retained your Integrity

Reminded once again that you will not be broken by ugliness and ignorance.

 

Day 3: This day sort of wrote itself.  The details need not be regurgitated. I am grateful for the support I received and the beautiful reminder of who I am: a passionate woman who has a way with words and uses them well.

 

Be Wary

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Image Courtesy of: Medium

Be wary of rulers who subscribe to a tribe

Who believe an enemy is necessary to survive

Who lead with judgement and fear

instead of acceptance and love

Who use propositional truths as conversations

dominated by a privileged few

(men)

Who believe their perspective is most objective

on the true nature of things

Their profession is OPPRESSION

CONTEMPT and EXPLOITATION

They preside and decide the Deity you will abide

The call for authenticity is a sacred path to the common good

Highway to a Higher Self

The Kingdom Within- not Without

Neither Hell nor Heaven

    But only

The Universal Truth

(Can You Tell?)

 of what it means

to be Human

 

Day 2: Started before dawn, written during breaks at work, finalized just now. A collection of  my own thoughts, quotes from books I was reading,and snippets from podcasts, TED Talks, and NPR that I jotted down in my writer’s notebook.

Fool’s Day Declaration

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Sometimes I fantasize

Float to and Fro

Fall into a Fanciful Fabrication

Far from Fanatical Fearsome Feckless Furies

Far right Fumings

  Ferocious Fibbers

Fervid Fervors of the Future Fuhrers

My Visions Veer to Vivacious Vamps

Vibrant and  Viable

Vested to Vanquish and Vex the Vicious Vampires

  Validaters never Vacillaters

Who Endeavor to Venture with Veracity

WOMEN WON’T WAVER

WHEN WEIGHTY WEBS ARE WOVEN

WE BEAR WITNESS TO THE WITLESS

WE WORK AND NEVER WITHER

WE ARE OUR OWN SELF’S SAVIORS

 

Day 1 of  April 2019 Challenge.  Very much stream of consciousness.

Safe Places

 

Is home just a place to live?  Is it just a place where we feel most safe?  Is it a place that makes us feel most strong? Is it a feeling, a desire, to be our authentic self? My ultimate desire, my safest place-my querencia- is to be at or near the mountains. Walking in the woods. Pausing to listen to a rushing stream. Jumping rocks to cross to the other side. My backpack hugging my body. My boots helping me find my way. Time is suspended here. Distractions are few. Troubles fade. Hopes soar and the Divine presents itself.

Last summer, I completed my first solo day hike. I had not told anyone of my plans ahead of time. I told my sons the morning I was leaving. I knew the men in my life would try to discourage me, not because of my lack of ability but because of safety.  But jerks exist off the trail and the mountain was one I knew well, having climbed it twice before.

The hike is easy enough, with some hopping over stream beds and slight switchbacks. It doesn’t take long for the sounds of the parkway that cuts through the notch to dissipate. I remember the heaviness of the summer air that day. It didn’t take me long to work up a sweat. My legs easily climbed up and over tree roots. I stopped to pause now and then to take in the green canopy of hardwood trees. I took deep, deep breaths, grateful that the air I was taking in filled me with peace. Can mountain air comfort you like a warm blanket?

The higher I climbed, the more I felt the tension slough off my body. Each step made me feel lighter. I felt nothing but joy as I moved closer to the summit. With this mountain, you know you are getting closer. The sky comes into view above and the long granite slabs replace the dark dirt and fallen leaves on the trail.  Suddenly-it seemed- I reached the top. A long granite bed greeted me with views of four mountains in three directions. The ledges have steep dropoffs.  I gaze into infinity when I look below.

I am alone at the summit but not lonely. I am filled with wonder and awe as I am reminded of the love I have for these mountains. I leave the summit with a renewed strength and the affirmation that this is home.

Writing Spaces

Image result for woman writing in a woodland setting

                   Image courtesy of: Video Blocks

The creative forces inside of me are driven by places and spaces which allow for both an unburdening of stresses and strains-a voiding of negative energies and blockages if you will- and a transformation, an expansion of all my thoughts and ideas into written form where I can express my best self. For me, the craft of writing has become a means by which I have shared parts of my life’s stories in the hopes of helping others as well as myself heal from past pain and challenges. It is through writing that I discovered the poet inside myself. It has also been a channel for venting my frustration at the current state of our nation and world-something that I never expected to write about in a public sphere.

Yet, every time I think of sitting down to write another post, I am stumped. I avoid. I complain. I yearn.  When I think of writing, I visual the small nook, that small corner with its long narrow table top desk that held the laptop in the small Craftsman farmhouse that overlooked the sweeping back yard which led to the stream and woods. The walls were robin’s egg blue and the floors a warm maple.

It was there in that limited space where I discovered a part of myself that I didn’t know existed.  During that time and in that space, I was at my most free even while laden with enormous responsibilities. I think it was the greater setting and the newer incarnation of my family that inspired me to write enormous amounts of material and carve out the time to do it.

Today I write and dream of carving out a newer space in a greater setting that is almost an anathema.  I dream of a woodland retreat. A mountainous oasis.  A place of optimal quiet interrupted only by natural sounds- not sirens and swarms of sedentary traffic. Today I set a new intention. A call for clarity of the mind and spirit.  A recreation of  my own creation.  A Writing Resurrection!