Monday, March 10, 2014

As Our Foremothers Swore (Short Collection of Poetry)

As I mentioned in the previous post, I was really excited to have the opportunity to work on a creative project for my English M107A, Women's Literature course. This is not the entire assignment because some of the poems were already included in posts prior to this one, but here are a few that were inspired directly from the texts we studied in class. What I wanted to do was adapt the format and style of writing from the authors we discussed, but still give each poem my voice and my story. So in order to show you the comparisons and contrasts, I've included the original works we went over in class as well as my renditions. The title is adopted from my poem "Society" mentioned in my last blog post, "When it rains, it pours." Enjoy!

In Celebration of My Uterus

By Anne Sexton

Everyone in me is a bird.
I am beating all my wings.  
They wanted to cut you out  
but they will not.
They said you were immeasurably empty  
but you are not.
They said you were sick unto dying  
but they were wrong.
You are singing like a school girl.  
You are not torn.

Sweet weight,
in celebration of the woman I am
and of the soul of the woman I am
and of the central creature and its delight  
I sing for you. I dare to live.
Hello, spirit. Hello, cup.
Fasten, cover. Cover that does contain.  
Hello to the soil of the fields.
Welcome, roots.

Each cell has a life.
There is enough here to please a nation.
It is enough that the populace own these goods.  
Any person, any commonwealth would say of it,  
“It is good this year that we may plant again  
and think forward to a harvest.
A blight had been forecast and has been cast out.”
Many women are singing together of this:  
one is in a shoe factory cursing the machine,  
one is at the aquarium tending a seal,  
one is dull at the wheel of her Ford,  
one is at the toll gate collecting,
one is tying the cord of a calf in Arizona,  
one is straddling a cello in Russia,
one is shifting pots on the stove in Egypt,
one is painting her bedroom walls moon color,  
one is dying but remembering a breakfast,  
one is stretching on her mat in Thailand,  
one is wiping the ass of her child,
one is staring out the window of a train  
in the middle of Wyoming and one is  
anywhere and some are everywhere and all  
seem to be singing, although some can not  
sing a note.

Sweet weight,
in celebration of the woman I am
let me carry a ten-foot scarf,
let me drum for the nineteen-year-olds,
let me carry bowls for the offering
(if that is my part).
Let me study the cardiovascular tissue,
let me examine the angular distance of meteors,  
let me suck on the stems of flowers
(if that is my part).
Let me make certain tribal figures
(if that is my part).
For this thing the body needs
let me sing
for the supper,  
for the kissing,  
for the correct  

In Celebration of My Mind
(My rendition)

Everything in me is a word
and I am singing loud.
They wanted to lobotomize you,
magnetize you, 
shock you with 450 volts,
but they will not.
They said that you’d turn out impaired,
but you are not.
They said that you were schizo,
but they were wrong.
You are as sharp as a machete
You are not defective.

Sweet waves and impulses,
in celebration of the intellect I am
and of the human I am
and of the spirit and heart I have
I sing for you. I dare to be different.
Hello imagination. Hello unseen world.
Information center that does compute
Hello to the formation of dreams.
Welcome thoughts and consciousness.

Each neuron has a mission.
There is enough to rule the world.
It is enough to maintain sanity
and teach logic and reason
to a school of children knee deep in fantasy and pretense
Any educator, any professor would say of it
“It is essential that we establish discipline
and follow rules and structure, but question what may seem unfair.”
Many others are realizing this:
one is in a hospital having an epiphany,
one is at the doctor learning her diagnosis,
one is at a conference panel sharing her story with listeners,
one is at the therapist regaining strength from her struggles,
one is in a jail cell, receiving help for the first time
one is at home playing with her children
one is talking to herself to make sense of it all
one is in the middle of going off on a fellow employee
one is on the phone with the operator of a hotline
one is throwing the razor blades away
one is walking away from the bar
one is taking her medication before bed while writing this account
in the middle of LA and one is
anywhere and some are everywhere and all
seem to be rationalizing, although they
were called insane.

Sweet waves and impulses,
in celebration of the intellect I am
let me write a thousand poems
let me remember times good and bad
let me put up banners for the festival
(if that is my part).
Let me study the atmosphere
let me examine the tissues of our skin
let me smell the fragrance of flowers
(if that is my part).
Let me decorate the altar
(if that is my part).
For this thing the body needs
let me sing
for the evening,
for the kissing,
for the capable

La Migra

By Pat Mora


Let's play La Migra
I'll be the Border Patrol.
You be the Mexican maid.
I get the badge and sunglasses.
You can hide and run,
but you can't get away
because I have a jeep.
I can take you wherever
I want, but don't ask
questions because
I don't speak Spanish.
I can touch you wherever
I want but don't complain
too much because I've got
boots and kick--if I have to,
and I have handcuffs.
Oh, and a gun.
Get ready, get set, run.


Let's play La Migra
You be the Border Patrol.
I'll be the Mexican woman.
Your jeep has a flat,
and you have been spotted
by the sun.
All you have is heavy: hat,
glasses, badge, shoes, gun.
I know this desert,
where to rest,
where to drink.
Oh, I am not alone.
You hear us singing
and laughing with the wind,
Agua dulce brota aqui,
aqui, aqui, but since you
can't speak Spanish,
you do not understand.
Get ready.

Abusi sui minori
(My rendition)


Let’s play abusi sui minori
I’ll be the aggressive parent
You be the innocent child.
I have many years on you,
am fully grown
and have bigger hands and longer arms
with more strength and muscle than you do
You can hide and run
but you can’t get away.
You cannot question my authority
I can punish you however I want
because you are still a minor
and have no rights under my custody.
I can hit you wherever I want
but don’t scream or cry too much
because I have the articulation
to change the story
when the cops and social workers come.
Get ready, get set, run.


Let’s play abusi sui minori
You be the aggressive parent.
I’ll be the innocent child. 
You have been reported to the police,
are ragged, set in your ways, and only getting older.
I am youthful, full of energy, and resilient.
You are unaware of your inner demons
I am not.
You do not know your own strength
I do.
You can’t see me,
I am no longer physically in your presence
But you can still hear me taunting you
non mi può prendere
Get ready.

The Window of the Woman Burning    

by Marge Piercy

Woman dancing with hair
on fire, woman writhing in the
cone of orange snakes, flowering
into crackling lithe vines:
you are not the bound witch
at the stake, whose broiled alive
agonized screams
thrust from charred flesh
darkened Europe in the nine millions.
you are not the madonna impaled
whose sacrifice of self leaves her
empty and mad as wind,
or whore crucified
studded with nails.

you are the demon of a fountain of energy
rushing up from the coal hard
memories in the ancient spine,
flickering lights from the furnace in the solar
plexus, lush scents from the reptilian brain,
river that winds up the hypothalamus
with its fibroids of pleasure and pain
twisted and braided like rope,
firing the lanterns of the forebrain
till they glow blood red.

You are the fire sprite
that charges leaping thighs,
that whips the supple back on its arc
as deer leap through the ankles:
dance of a woman strong
in beauty that crouches
inside like a cougar in the belly
not in the eyes of others measuring.

You are the icon of woman sexual
in herself like a great forest tree
in flower, liriodendron bearing sweet tulips,
cups of joy and drunkenness.
You drink strength from your dark fierce roots
and you hang at the sun's own fiery breast
and with the green cities of your boughs
you shelter and celebrate
woman, with the cauldrons of your energies
burning red, burning green.

Window into a Prisoner of the Mind
(My rendition)

Patient suffering in your
lonesome, patient crouching up against the
padded cell, twitching
with tremors caused by the chemicals
isolated from all of society;
a slave to your own thoughts and desires
that no one else understands
mind running rampant
with wicked voices eating away at your brain
you are not mad
you are not truly alone
you will not rot away in quarantine.

there are others like you
there is hope
though they are suffering too
they will be revived
and not only survive,
but thrive.
You are a savant
you are brilliant
though your head is crowded with
heaps of what’s nonsensical
flashbacks that play on repeat
and rewind over and over
coercing you to ruminate
ever distant torment
causing you to remember at the same time you forget
forcing you to assemble
and constantly reset
that possibility that you might be a hero
but you just haven’t grasped it yet.

You are the revolution
fitted into the compartments of a single vessel
stirring with velocity
within the constraints of your specimen.
You will come out of your haze
to see better days
become as free as a butterfly
to graze the sky
and fly away.

There’s a lot more deep stuff about to come in the future posts, so stay tuned.

And as always, Thanks for reading. =) 

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