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April 30, 2016

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A meditation on feminist ideals after visiting “Killer Heels” at the Currier Gallery

 

Small, blue eyes watch

Mothers in their vanity glass

Glide lipstick across their mouths and

When alone their tiny feet

Prance in front of full-view

Reflections in platform

Shoes -corked in 70’s

Glamour. She dreams

Of growing up

Into the rites of passage

That define and condemn

Her.

 

The dichotomy of feminism –

Trained as we grow to love

And to hate the adornments

 

Of women. Am I weak

Because I will not go into public

Without mascara?

 

Do torturous stilletos

On the dance floor

Make me silly

 

And shallow?

Red shoe spikes

And jewels and

Power.

 

 

 

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April 29, 2016

ca-1910-maine-mt-katahdin-pamoola_1_61bedbd9b82f3eeb044a4a210e999c00-2

According to Urban Dictionary,

A Pamoola is a short,

Obese, and ignorant woman

 

(who has delusions of grandeur.)

She apparently “ear-fucks”

People. The nomenclature

 

Is derived from Puma –

Yet the Pamoola is not

A cougar. No official

 

Record of the cat exists

Since 1938, but hence,

She prowls in the night.

 

This is Poem #69 from the  Poem (almost) Everyday Project. Starting in mid-January 2016, I decided for one year to wake mornings and write a poem before my first cup of coffee on each day that I didn’t teach. I was working part-time then, so in the end I wrote 241 poems.  These are second drafts of  those pieces copied directly from my journal with minimal editing from their “vomit draft” state.

 

This particular poem is part of a series inspired by my visit to The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. Some days I’d just point to a location on the museum map, and write from there.

April 24, 2016 (Zoe’s Birthday!)

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So much of you

Is stored in the dead

Cells squeezed through

Your scalp like a Play-Doh

 

Barbershop in slow motion.

Every heart, broken

By the phone, heap

On the floor,

Tears in the closet,

Shimmies through in the lock.

 

If we shave our heads,

Will sorrow leave

Like a widow,

Bald and cast

To a life of silence

And solitude?

 

There can be joy

Again, I suppose,

A remaking

Of oneself

In the quiet

 

Beyond arrangements

You were too

Young to understand,

And trees

Bearing the fruit

You never got to eat.

 

This is Poem #64 from the  Poem (almost) Everyday Project. Starting in mid-January 2016, I decided for one year to wake mornings and write a poem before my first cup of coffee on each day that I didn’t teach. I was working part-time then, so in the end I wrote 241 poems.  These are second drafts of  those pieces copied directly from my journal with minimal editing from their “vomit draft” state.

April 9, 2016

 

We are still working

Hard – filing away

The shackles of Patriarchy –

 

Wondering where to drop

Them without littering

The world. But if

We talk too loudly,

 

And point it out, well,

We are whining and complaining;

Angry feminists all.

 

Once Helen Keller

Wrote a story and it

All was a rehash

Of something she had

Already read with her hands.

 

I wonder,

Is everything we

Do under a paper doll

Shadow of men.

 

This is poem #56 from the  Poem (almost) Everyday Project. Starting in mid-January 2016, I decided for one year to wake mornings and write a poem before my first cup of coffee on each day that I didn’t teach. I was working part-time then, so in the end I wrote 241 poems.  These are second drafts of  those pieces copied directly from my journal with minimal editing from their “vomit draft” state.

relentlessly-gay

I am sure many of you have seen the resurgence of a two-year old letter making its way around social media in which a queer individual is accused of decorating her yard in a “relentlessly gay” fashion. Regardless of the legitimacy of this viral post, it can serve as a reminder of the ignorance and prejudice that is crawling out of hiding in the current political climate. Yesterday’s Republican confirmation of an unqualified, sexist, racist, and homophobic person  to our Supreme Court is a stark reminder of this. I am sure I am not the only person who felt physically ill when the notification popped up on their phone’s screen yesterday.

This is not, however, the time to sit back and give up. What we are experiencing is the backlash by the threatened, privileged group who have been in power for too long. It is evidence of the fear they have about the progress the rest of us have made. How else can we explain away the fact that they have sunk so low?

They are reacting to the eight glorious years of progress we have made by attempting to push women back into the kitchen, queer people back into the closet, and people of color to the back of the bus. We all must RESIST this effort and we must RESIST it TOGETHER as one group of relentlessly gay, femi-nazi, black panthers. There are more of us than there are of them, especially when we factor in all of our white, straight male allies.

Every morning as you drink your coffee, apply your eyeliner, lace up your Doc Martens, crank up Public Enemy or Ani as you prepare to continue to fight.  We cannot let the hope we had for two presidential terms die. We have to dust it off, hold it up, and #resist.

After the third beer

The truth trips

Telling off his tongue.

 

He does a good job

Of masking contempt

Otherwise, but booze

 

Bring out the illogical

And unlock what he

Truly thinks. The way

 

To imagine her slunk

In a corner, cowering

At all he’s done

 

To rescue

Inferior her.

His willingness to take

 

On a fallen woman

A superman cape

His ego can wear

 

Around the other abuses.

“Get back down into

Yourself” he commands,

 

Indirectly, of course,

With words not chosen

But hurled forth

 

From the grey matter

Where they’ve drunk

Cocktails together for decades.

 

This is Poem #33 from the  Poem (almost) Everyday Project. Starting in mid-January 2016, I decided for one year to wake mornings and write a poem before my first cup of coffee on each day that I didn’t teach. I was working part-time then, so in the end I wrote 241 poems.  These are second drafts of  those pieces copied directly from my journal with minimal editing from their “vomit draft” state.

In English class

I teach two African

Girls who’ve experienced

 

Such trauma in their

Home country, they have

No memories of their childhoods.

 

It’s interesting that

Michonne wields a machette

as her weapon of choice

and skill

and grace.

 

How she dances

With her implement

of destruction

 

The beautiful beheadings

of zombies.

 

She spins. Her powerful

Arms, her smooth

And perfect skin,

 

A foil to the failing,

Falling, pallid

zombie flesh.

On January 11, 2016 the world learned that David Bowie had died at age 69 of cancer. Heartbroken, I turned to poetry, and wrote “#DavidBowieReal” and thus began a year-long project that I called something like a “Poem-a-Day (for-everyday-that-I’m-not-teaching.) This was inspired, I believe, by a Robert Bly and Donald Hall poetry reading I’d attended several years earlier after Bly had published his collection, Morning Poems. Bly discussed how he’d embarked on the year-long project of writing a poem a day each morning before he even got out of bed. Later, he edited and collected the best of these into one of his acclaimed collections of work.

My approach was a little different. I wrote on my couch with my first cup of coffee near by, and decided that on the days that I need to be out of the house by 6:45 am, I would not require the writing. Hence, the total of 241 poems rather than 365. (In the end, Bly’s deemed 82 of his worthy to make it into his book.)

I posted a few here as I was immersed in the project, but most of them have sat dormant in my writing journals for over a year and a half.

2016 was a good year to have such a project going. It was a terrible year filled with significant celebrity deaths – after Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds – and that “election” we endured . . .  As well as personal trials and tribulations, and I’ve always intended to go back and “do something” with the work.

Now, after reading Maggie Millner’s article “Instapoets Prove Powerful in Print” in the latest issue of  Poets & Writers , fretting over the fact that I’ve not written much poetry since January of 2017, and missing the virtual artist communities of TGAP and the Myspace Poetry Society,  I’ve decided to publish all (or maybe most) of the poems from this project here in their unedited glory, in order, one a day.

I hope you’ll join me for this literary adventure.

 

 

 

~An Ode to Hugh Hefner on the Day of His Departure

Where the hell were the grown-ups

that blissful afternoon

when Geoff and I unburied

that stack of Playboys

in a Canadian closet?

 

We spent that balmy midday

draped over twin beds, hunkered

down to learn what adults had

refused to tell us

 

from those glossy pages –

the airbrushed women,

the naughty cartoons,

the articles that everyone

claimed to read.

In season four of Friends, Phoebe, a vegetarian who’s pregnant with her brother’s babies (don’t worry, she’s a surrogate), starts to desperately crave meat.  Joey, known for his love of meatball subs and pepperoni pizza, offers a karmic, equal exchange with his friend; he’ll give up meat until the babies are born, so that Phoebe can satisfy her yearning. This way, no extra animals will die, and Phoebe can eat them without much guilt.

I’m proposing a similar exchange in our efforts to support each other as activists against most of what the new Republican administration in the United States is lodging. From banning refugees, to appointing incompetence, racists, and misogynists to key advisory and cabinet positions, to threatening to build billion dollar walls across our border, to the Dakota Pipeline, to impending LGBT discriminatory legislation, cuts to the arts, wiping of climate data from government sites, and on and on, this regime has come out with their guns blaring against progress and most of what makes being human have meaning. In states like New Hampshire, we also have new threats like “Right-to-Work (for less)” and our own version of Betsy DeVos pending.  Many are beginning to realize that this rapid on slaughter against all that we hold as valuable is no accident of trying to accomplish too much too soon. This is a calculated attempt to distract and wear down those of us committed to fight. We cannot let this happen.

But, we’re exhausted. So what can we do?

Last week, I had an appointment with my PCP. This was just a week or so after we’d glanced over and realized we were standing next to each other at the Women’s March in Concord. We knew each other’s politics and most of my visit was about how the current political climate was affecting my well-being. She reminded me to keep a slow, steady anger brewing, so that I do not fall into despair and inaction. I believe she was also giving this advice to herself. At the end of the visit, she  encouraged me to take occasional time off from news and prescribed Zoloft. She’s worried about my serotonin levels.

So, what does this all have to do with Joey, Phoebe, and Friends you may be asking? Well, let me tell you. We’ve all got to be willing to let someone else figuratively give up eating meat for us for a day or a week or maybe more, so that we can take care of ourselves.

As activists, let’s support each other by offering to hold up the torch for those who need a news-free weekend, or cannot take the day off to attend a deliberative session or a protest rally. I know that I can turn off news notifications for a day, if  I’ve got others paying attention while I’m not. And I, in turn, will do for others.

There is a post traveling around Facebook about how musicians carry a long note and cover for each other so that they have the chance to breath while singing. We must breath. We must support each other. We must persist and resist.

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