Sunday, June 5, 2011

poetry sunday: "For two women shot to death in Brookline, Massachusetts"

I've always loved poetry. That adoration has, of course, waxed and waned depending on the poetry I was reading and whether it was self-chosen or dictated by a curriculum, but nevertheless, good poetry is a delicacy, a gift. While reading a really satisfying collection of poetry last month just prior to the creation of this blog, I thought of how much I'd love to share select poems that I find thought-provoking. Hence, poetry sunday.

Lazy Sundays are the perfect day to read a poem, in my opinion. I've decided that each month I'll choose a new poet, and every Sunday in that month I'll type up a poem of theirs that I find especially powerful.

June's poet is Marge Piercy.

I've been drawn to what I would consider Piercy's fired-up feminist poems, plucked from various collections. I've chosen to feature the following poem as the first in the series given that this just happened in the city closest to my heart - Madison, WI. It seems particularly fitting.


"For two women shot to death in Brookline, Massachusetts"

Written by Marge Piercy in her poetry collection What Are Big Girls Made Of? (1997)

How dare a woman choose?
Choose to be pregnant
choose to be childless
choose to be lesbian
choose to have two lovers or none
choose to abort
choose to live alone
choose to walk alone
at night
choose to come and go
without permission
without leave
without a man.

Consider a woman's blood
spilled on a desk,
pooled on an office floor,
an ordinary morning at work,
an ordinary morning of helping
other women choose
to be or not to be

A woman young and smiling
sitting at a desk
trying to put other woman at ease
now bleeds from five
large wounds, bleeding
from her organs
bleeding out her life.

A young man is angry at women
women who say no
women who say maybe and mean no
women who won't
women who do and they shouldn't.
If they are pregnant they are bad
because that proves
they did it with someone,
they did it
and should die.

A man gets angry with a woman who decides to leave him
who decides to walk off
who decides to walk
who decides.

Woman are not real to such men.
They should behave as meat.
Such men drag them into the woods
and stab them
climb in their windows and rape them
such men shoot them in kitchens
such men strangle them in bed
such men lie in wait
and ambush them in parking lots
such men walk into a clinic
and kill the first woman they see.

In harm's way:
meaning in the way of a man
who is tasting his anger
like rare steak.
A daily ordinary courage
doing what has to be done
every morning, every afternoon
doing it over and over
because it is needed
put them in harm's way.

Two women dying
because they did their job
helping other women survive.
Two women dead
from the stupidity of an ex-altar boy
who saw himself
as a fetus
who pumped his sullen fury
into the woman in front of him
twice, and intended more.

Stand up now and say No More.
Stand up now and say We will not
be ruled by crazies and killers,
by shotguns and bombs and acid.
We will not dwell in the caves of fear.
We will make each other strong.
We will make each other safe.
There is no other monument.

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