High Tide

                    Rough Atlantic surf near St. Augustine, Florida

 

The wind is up and the surf is rough

I need its roar to quiet my mind

quell my sinking thoughts

(It’s a daily occurrence)

I am seeking peace and clarity

and finding it to be a rarity

Can you hear them again?

The thundering hooves of despots and the pandering peacocks

with  painted smiles

promising

protection

A return to greatness and glory

Making the nation “theirs” again

They’ve created a turbulent uncertainty

and a typhoon of terror

They fracture freedoms of the disenfranchised

Revoke rights and restrict access

Rape Mother Earth in the dead of night

This is not my beloved country

I am not in the land of the free

But there’s still time to be brave

I am swimming with the riptide

Rowing with one oar

( I’ve been here before)

  and racing into the headwinds

in search of a safer shore

Day 18: Part of an undated entry in my writer’s notebook, rediscovered.

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The Running Manifesto

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Image Courtesy of: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/190628996699364479/

 

Her mind is restless.

She is living with a sense of foreboding that she finds difficult to escape.

Running:

the welcome release valve,

the essential respite,

the place to gather thoughts and make sense of things.

Running gives a woman positive bodily integrity.

The sheer act tells the story of how a woman won’t be controlled

by restrictive laws or narrow thinking

that seeks to put her in her “place”

or shames her into choices

that someone else is making for her and her life.

She controls the pace because it is her race to run.

So why  run?

Run to stay empowered.

The goals?

To remain a free and self-determined woman.

And what is she training for?

Her Life

 

Day 14: This poem has pieces from a post of mine “Freedom of Movement” that I wrote on November 6, 2015- the year before election night. I must have had a sense that changes were approaching. In reality, they were already underway; the widgets were set in place in the 1980’s. 2016 was the beginning of the overt onslaught.

 

Host Bodies*

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 Image courtesy of: https://visionaryartistrymag.com/2016/02/afshin-naghouni-beautiful-images-ugly-truths/

 

What is the sanctity of life?

When does it begin and when does it end?

Whose life is sacred and holy?

I hear that the state of my  body in your state will have no exceptions.

Incest and Rape: Criminal conceptions

 Six week legality is out of touch with reality

You care for the “Innocent”

Yet spare no regard for a woman’s predicament

Born Female

Born with no human value

Born to temper the impulses of our own personhood:

Education

Self-determination

Independence

Sexual Expression

I live in fear of the pitchforks of Oppression

Intent on seizing Political Power and Unholy Ascension

 

 

* Title inspired by the idiotic comments of Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva who used the term to describe pregnant women five times during a recent interview. He later apologized but we all know the subconscious mindset has a truly ugly way of revealing itself.

Day 13: Recent state laws passed extreme abortion restrictions with the intent to get their cases before the Supreme Court. Such an ugly contest that doesn’t take into consideration ANY situation and does not have any medical or scientific basis, just right wing Christian religious belief disguised as a means to protect the unborn when in reality they don’t protect the living.  Their agenda is female subjugation and dehumanization, period. Jesus would be mortified.

 

False Self/True Self

Image result for warrior woman in art

Image courtesy of: http://studiomuku.com/works/red-warrior-woman-painting

 

Don’t try too hard to prove yourself

Your posturing will become a self-fulfilling prophecy

Others will notice your overt preening,

that missed aim at pleasing.

The past is just that

Remove the emotion

Remain steel-eyed and unbroken

The moment is small

 It will not be your downfall

  The Warrior Woman is

Herself

Most of all

Day 12: There will always be forces out there that stray into your path, obstacles that attempt to block your growth, ideas, and momentum. The challenge is to keep your head and not let your emotions rule or past experiences serve as the means of responding to them.

Never Victim, Servant, Or Beggar

Image result for strong woman in artImage courtesy of:Linda Ryan https://lindaryanart.com/tag/strong-women/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet ~ Ghandi

I can choose to walk like a wounded warrior,

allowing the scars of old battles to reopen and fester.

I can choose to act like a servant,

the invisible maid that cleans your messes,

only known to you when I leave behind my dirty rags.

I can choose to be a supplicant

the one that begs to be heard,

while you stand over me

the master of rules and the keeper of keys

But I won’t be a victim, a servant or a beggar.

I will choose to run unscathed

by the arrows that attempt to slay me.

I will choose to be the mistress,

a visible force that refuses to feign a lowly existence.

I will choose to be my own sovereign nation;

one who raises her voice, stands up and never kneels.

 

Day 11: This is for anyone who is or has been in a situation or position where another or others treat you as their inferior.

My Body, My Self

-FASHION STYLIST & CREATIVE DIRECTOR-

Image courtesy of: http://elizabethajomale.tumblr.com/post/106274743769

“Embedded in the American Constitution was the right to privacy. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well- meaning but without understanding.”  ~ Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

What is women’s fundamental freedom?

PRIVACY

Our stories are personal and parallel

Reproductive and Sexual

It is my mother’s in 1962: Age 24

Whose kidney disease left her unable to bear more children

BECAUSE IT WOULD KILL HER

When abortion was illegal

No option for a tubal ligation

Instead she was placed on medication

THE PILL

It is my mother’s in 1981: Age 43

A missed period and a pregnancy scare

When abortion was legal

An inevitable decision she would have had to make if the results had been positive

BECAUSE IT WOULD KILL HER IF SHE DIDN’T

It is mine in 1998: Age 37

  Mother of two beautiful boys

Abortion is legal

BUT

Loud, violent, deadly protests

Fierce and frightening gauntlets

form to block entrances to care

I fear a failure of birth control

An accidental pregnancy

I want a permanent procedure

The experience felt like a Prohibition speakeasy:

sordid and secretive,

a place of secret codes and knocks.

Why is it that we vainly celebrate,

freely flaunt,

and strongly sanctify,

men’s sexual freedom and prowess

without risk of consequences?

They have unconstrained access to

inexpensive condoms,

erectile dysfunction medications,

and vasectomies.

 While women’s vaginas and uteruses

are held under lock and key

by legislative laymen

intent on keeping women either virtuous or vilified.

WE WANT A SENSE OF OUR OWN AGENCY!

A woman’s right to privacy begins and ends with her body.

A woman’s body is her house.

She has a right to stand her ground

against all unwanted intruders

whose sole aim is to take away

her freedom, safety and privacy.

 

Day 9: Much of this poem has been lifted from a speech I gave before the state Constitutional Review Commission last spring. There had been an attempt by the Religious Right to amend the right to privacy.  All State Supreme Court cases involving abortion had hinged on this fundamental right. Thankfully,  the  Commission decided not to take up their attempt at an amendment. However, this legislative session and new governor are bent on restricting access to care for all women. As I write this, bus loads of advocates have driven to the state capital to lobby against proposed legislation related to further restrictions. Interestingly, the quote from Justice Brandeis was from a case about Prohibition!

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