Patriarchy’s Playbook

Image result for patriarchy in art

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

Related image

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

Image result for morning rain

            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

Related image

      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

Image result for symbols for persistence

                                      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

Related image

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

Related image

 

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.

Free But Not Free

Related image

                  Image courtesy of: Rúrí   ruri.is  Woman / Freedom

 

Freedom on my mind

Free but not Free

When my body is:

CONTROLLED

TRAP(PED)*

INVADED

by:

Religious “Freedom” Regulators

Bishops’ Bogus Bylaws

and

Junk Science Adjudicators

who:

Perpetuate and Perpetrate Propaganda

Perverting Pregnancy

Separating and Segregating

 Female from Fetus

When the Heart Beat is Felonious

Far from Notability and Viability

Free But Not Free

In Bondage to Strangers

Bearing False Witness to the Experience

and

The Acute Burden of Being Female**

Free But Not Free

When Doctors Cannot Speak

of

OPTIONS

and

CHOICES

and

CHANCES

to

Retain and Maintain

THE AUTONOMY OF MY BODY

                                                                          is

GAGGED

and

GUNNED DOWN

In the Name of

GOD

Free But Not Free

When I Cannot

OBTAIN CARE

that

PERTAINS

To

MY HEALTH

I Must

CONSENT

and

You Must

REFRAIN

MY BODY IS MY DOMAIN

 

*Refers to Trap laws regarding access to abortion (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) which impose specific standards and other regulations that appear to be arbitrary, are difficult to implement and are aimed at closing abortion clinics.

** credit to Michelle Obama

I saw the film BirthRight: A War Story, yesterday afternoon. It was not what I thought it would be. I cannot accurately summarize the entire film, but it is at once a history lesson and personal stories about women’s health care in this country. It is streaming on HULU and you can subscribe to it on YouTube. Here is a link to the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7GgXygGLQM

Also: The current regime has imposed a Gag Rule on all clinics and other women’s health care services that receive Title X funding. In order to receive any federal grant money, they cannot provide any abortion services or even refer women to clinics that provide them. By law (since 1978), the federal government does not provide Medicaid funding to women who seek abortions and who also qualify for Medicaid. They can receive other health care, however. So if you go to any of these clinics for normal health care checkups or screenings, be aware of these changes. You are on your own for seeking advice on pregnancy termination services. Note also that this same rule was applied during Reagan’s presidency and rescinded under Clinton’s.  

Dancing With the Butterflies

                                      The butterfly garden: A work in progress

I watch in delight as the garden grows and blossoms

Colors of crimson, ochre, amethyst, and tangerine

rest in harmony with one another

Butterflies flutter and swoop

enjoying the variety of sweet nectar selections

 New plantings arrived to commemorate Earth Day

Mona Lavender and Verbena adding hearty and wispy tones to the corner’s growing vibrancy

  A milkweed, on its last legs, became a temporary home for a caterpillar whose demise was met swiftly by the cunning and patience of an unknown predator

My indigo delphinium gave up the ghost just yesterday

But the spaces quickly filled with a robust Penta  and mild-mannered Lantana

  I tend to it daily and fret over it like a mother of an infant

 This tiny space provides a respite from the rest of the world

A place of simple peace where my mother’s spirit reigns 

Day 30. The last. The days are growing hot quickly down here.  Besides running, the garden provides a reason to step outside. I’ll visit it at sunrise tomorrow.