Neutral Buoyancy at erringness in perfection class

Cross-posted from: erringness in perfection class
Originally published: 09.04.17

At fifteen, I started taking courses at the local community college full-time through Running Start—Washington state’s dual enrollment program. Except for my penultimate quarter, when only a 6:30 am Composition II had space, I would usually arrive on campus hours early because I would come straight after swim team practice or else get a ride with my dad who would catch his bus into the city from the park and ride next door. I spent those mornings in the library, building my first website on GeoCities and reading through the back issues of literary journals. I can still smell their cardboard file boxes.
Read more Neutral Buoyancy at erringness in perfection class

The Abstracted Woman by @CatEleven

Cross-posted from: The Occasional Poet
Originally published: 03.03.17

I’m not an abstract
That you can take out of its box
And place in a column
Total up and measure
Against some statistic
Of two a week
Or 134 a term
Or once in a lifetime
Or after the age of 30
I’m not an abstract
That you can tesselate
To make pictures
Of veils
Or makeup
Or underwires
Or bound feet
Of folds of skin
Like dunes from a desert
That you’ll never see in the flesh
I’m not an abstract
Sat in a cell
Or sat in a line
On a border
In a boat
On a floor
At a stove
Squatting and heaving
Doubled over
I am all and none
I am solid and hollowed out
I am breathing, but barely
I am laughing
And devastated
I am desperate
And god
So utterly bored
So fully fatigued
At my kitchen worktop
At my boardroom table
At my mud-dug well
At my birthing chair
At my parent-teacher conference
At the grocery store
On the floor
On the bed
Against the wall
I am abstracted
Distracted
I am

 

One Woman’s Thoughts I am a feminist and this is my blog; a collection of perspectives, poetry and ideas.  Twitter @CatEleven

Broken Window by @carregonnen

Cross-posted from: Carregonnen
Originally published: 23.04.16

High up on the landing

there’s a little window

for no reason at all

It’s too small to let light into the hall

and I rarely notice it

 

But today I did because it was broken

I allowed a few reasons

through my head

But none of them led to a plausible answer

so I gave up

 

I might never know whether

it was a misguided bird

one of the boys who play out there on skateboards

throwing a stone or other missile

or an air pistol aimed at the bird

But it’s broken

 

There are problems

fixing it will be expensive

and I have no money

so it stays broken

letting in sound

letting heat escape

What if it falls out or in and

I lie in bed and worry about storms and high winds

at three o’clock in the morning

the broken window metamorphoses

into the Whole of Life

A small broken window is now

Money problems

Heating and noise problems

Small cracks may become bigger and shatter completely

My life will be broken

An insignificant useless window sums up my life

and I cry at the smallness and futility of it all

 

It is now five in the morning

and I pull myself together

I am in awe of the power of three o’clock in the morning anxiety and

step-by-step apocalyptic imaginings

 

CarregonnenI do life writing in poetry and prose about child abuse and mental health – politically I am a radical feminist.

lesbian love poem 2 at Sister Hex

Cross-posted from: Sister Hex
Originally published: 23.08.15

It is the end of days
no longer holding
breath

unfolding, unpeeled
and real again

breathing, brazen and bold
are the lustrous

we share a little death

before spring

poem 2

 

sister hex : A blog about women, lesbians, racism, class, politics and art.

Review: How You Might Know Me by Sabrina Mahfouz

Cross-posted from: Durre Shahwar
Originally published: 19.11.16

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 09.41.32How You Might Know Me is a result of years of creative writing workshops with women from the UK’s growing sex industry and Sabrina Mahfouz’s own experiences of working in strip-clubs. It is told through four characters: Sylvia, Tali, Sharifa and Darina, who each use the poetic form to tell their stories, be it through a traditional verse, or a more contemporary, free verse with punchy lines.

The collection examines “taboos, surprising sexual encounters, the politics of desire, the vastly differing viewpoints on sex work and most prominently, the status of women’s equality in the UK today.” What the collection also is, is inclusive and representative of women from different backgrounds and cultures.
Read more Review: How You Might Know Me by Sabrina Mahfouz

Wound—A poem by Fat Fem Pin Up

Cross-posted from: Fat Fem Pin Up
Originally published: 18.01.15

Sometimes I want to be the “wound” Ntozake spoke about

and sometimes I simply want freedom…

oh that wound…

so you never forget

you ache in forgotten places when the weather grows cold and heavy

…tickles like phantom

sometimes I want to be a limb cut off….

slow healing, seeping scar….

i want to be that ugly thing your new lovers trace with solemn finger tips, questing in the dark….

yet my descent has slowed by pity’s hand and time’s quiet call to blush, i cannot sustain my own decay

…to wound you

 

Fat Fem Pin UpI am a fat activist, child rights advocate, womanist/feminist, poet with an affinity for selfies. I have a bachelor’s degree in social work and I work for a children protection agency. I plan to obtain a masters before I become a mother. I’m single but quite taken by good books, fancy living and chicken wings. @FatFemPinUp

I CLOSE MY EYES – POEM by @extreme_crochet

Cross-posted from: Extreme Crochet

I close my eyes in the darknessIn the hope that you’re not there

It’s a burden that I live with

A pain I cannot share.
My eyelids are like blankets

I shroud myself from view

To feel a certain safety

And sleep again renewed.
These eyes are tired and sore

From seeing damage done

Like dust from absent dew drops

Those battles only lost not won.
I close my eyes despite the darkness

A hood of velveteen

There’s safety in there somewhere

Amongst treasures left unseen.

 

A Woman Alone A reflection on my life as a single parent in the UK. Twitter @extreme_crochet

A Room of Our Own: An Anthology of Feminist & Womanist Writing

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A Room of Our Own: An Anthology of Feminist & Womanist Writing is now available:

Paperback

Kindle

CreateSpace

 

A Room of Our Own: An Anthology of Feminist & Womanist Writing is a collection of essays, poetry, and short stories written by women. The proceeds of this book will be used to support this platform covering the costs of hosting and website maintenance and development.


Read more A Room of Our Own: An Anthology of Feminist & Womanist Writing

Mother at The Feminist Poet

Cross-posted from: The Feminist Poet
Originally published: 30.03.14

My earliest memory was you
Being wheeled away by green men
A checkered blanket on your knees
Doubled over
Then pushing my tiny thumb up against your brass jean button
The stars making a dent
I would watch you roll your cigarette
In one hand
The other holding a book
Or tea
Your laugh
Faultless and compelling
You’d brush shimmering lilacs
Dusty blues
Dusky pinks
On cheekbones and browbones I desired
Your mouth an Oh
As you traced the line of the lid
In kohl
Pitch black lashes
A Chrissie Hynde fringe
Black vest
And converse boots
I stole your leather Jacket with the fringes
I’m sorry I never told you
When I smell nail polish
You are here
When I smell leather or Patchouli
You are here
My first love
My idol
The one I’ve always hoped I could match
To be for him
What you are for me

 

The Feminist Poet: A Shout from the DarkI am The Feminist Poet and this is my blog. You will find poems, fables, allegories and fairytales inside. Sometimes the hardest things to hear are easiest heard through poetry. And for me, the hardest things to hear are the stories of the women, my sisters and the daily battles they face. This blog is for them.

Waves of Darkness at The Not Me

Cross-posted from: The Not Me
Originally published: 25.05.15

A wave of depression drenched me and left me to melt. Not quickly or entirely like the Wicked Witch of the West. I envy her. With her 30-second transformation, she gave everyone happy relief and permanent freedom.

I can’t tell if I’m melting really slowly, or if I will continue shrinking indefinitely, never quite reaching zero, like Zeno’s paradox. I want to believe the people who say things like “It’s only temporary,” or “Surely, it can’t last,” but I’ve been holding on for years now. When my clothes begin pooling around my teeny, tiny feet, will people still tell me to wait patiently?

I don’t feel soaked through every minute of every day. Sometimes, when I walk along the path near my house, I can feel the sun warming my cheeks, and I can see the light shining on the new growth of spring green fields. But when I try to grab hold of the brightness, to carry it with me beyond that moment, it almost always vanishes. Within seconds of looking at that fluorescent glow of spring, I begin to think of the pasty green face of that wicked witch and of all the similarities between us. I don’t believe I am malicious like she was, but I do feel like an obvious outsider coated in abnormal, sallow skin, unable to blend in and function the way good people can. With my cold heart, I too am unsatisfied with the powers that I possess, unable to truly appreciate any of the wonders over or under the rainbow, and, worst of all, always bringing others down. 
Read more Waves of Darkness at The Not Me

Warrior Woman by @CatEleven

Cross-posted from: The Feminist Poet
Originally published: 15.08.15

She’ll be up at the dawn
And she’ll lift her kids up
And she’ll lift her friends up
And her mother too
And she’ll lift him up high
Though he throws her down low
Holds her down low
Keeps her down low

She’ll wipe at the surface
And she’ll dig in the dirt
And she’ll wade through the shit
And she’ll pocket the pence
And she’ll make it stretch far
To food and to cloth
To a gamble for him
To smokey bars and empty jars

And she’ll wait and pretend
And she’ll love them and hold
To the slight little frames
And their fragile bones
And she’ll tuck in and kiss
And she’ll humour his woes
And listen to bile
And his blame on the world

She’ll lie there and take it
The beatings inside
Of a body re-used
And a mind he ignored
She’ll turn to the wall
And she’ll set her alarm
She’ll be up with the crows
And be up at the dawn

Sunday Small Stones

Cross-posted from: erringness in perfection class
Originally published: 11.11.15

lightning curls in itself
current—like lagoon like sky—
my eye

can’t send the colors
turned the clouds
fast enough to name

until it all goes dark beyond the gray

I love writing small stones.

 

water cleaves to cat hair dark
-er than the stars can hide
—thicker than would freeze this half
snow night

I love writing small stones.

INSOMNIA

Cross-posted from: Littlee and Bean
Originally published: 12.08.15

For years the night yelled out
that I had to rearrange all of me.
I doubted every breath and
all the words I never spoke
seeped darkness into day.

It takes years to unlearn
how to contort every damn cell
to discover exhaling and waking
without limbs seized
for fight and flight.

But it’s 3am and I’m back.
Leaden muscles and clenched jaws
and my words ripped up.
I’m allowed cryptic stanzas,
saccharine and god. No more.

I listen to my babies leave.
Too tired to say goodbye.

 

Littlee and BeanI’m a mummy and a blogger. Sometimes I’m all about the saccharine, other times I’m all about the rage. Motherhood doesn’t define me but right now it’s the biggest part of me. I record moments with my boys, from the sacred to the profane. I discuss how I’m trying to find that elusive work/life balance. And I reflect on how breaking free from fundamentalist religion and sexism has shifted my horizons and my psychology.

Unwilling Warriors by @r2ph

Cross-posted from: Roweena Russell
Originally published: 17.01.14

Tormented tortured by a decision she never made

Blamed and shamed for her life blood on his hands,

Lost in a battle never there to be won


Read more Unwilling Warriors by @r2ph

Dropping in with a Poem

(Cross-posted from Positive and Promise)

I’m still contemplating how to best utilize the blog space as a freelancer, so stayed tuned for updates on that. In the meantime, please accept a poetic offering from your resident eccentric.

The Inspiration: Lately the Democratic National Convention has been spamming Paul’s inbox with all manner of histrionic emails. Despite our bleeding hearts, we’ve both gotten a kick out of this and, last night, decided to write a poem entirely comprised of statements and phrases from these messages. Also, our apartment is bloody hot, and sanity is tenuous at the end of the day.

And so, without further ado, the fruits of our labor:

Now, I’m Emailing You Again

Dick Durbin emailed you.

Nancy Pelosi emailed you.

Now I’m emailing you again.

We keep emailing.

This is so contrived, and we can hardly believe it.

We need your help to fight back.

We’re nearly out of time.

To be blunt about it:

If we fall behind now,

We might as well throw in the towel.

We keep emailing.

I wanted to personally share the news

…this kid will be pretty darn happy.

But look, we’re not there yet.

We keep emailing.

Hey, just wanted to make sure you saw Senator Durbin’s email?

We keep emailing.

I come right out and say it:

I’m a Democrat.

I don’t want to be one of those candidates

Who

Hides their party.

We keep emailing.

If you care about health care reform, you need to be part of this.

Boehner’s gonna to be FURIOUS!

We keep emailing.

I wanted to personally share the news:

All hope is lost.

I’m Tired by @RowenaMonde

(Cross-posted with permission from Les Reveries de Rowena)

Douglas Coupland art at the Vancouver Art Gallery

 

“all the women in me. are tired.” – Nayyirah Waheed

When I read the above micropoem by Nayyirah Waheed, it resonated with me greatly. I couldn’t help but write down the things I was fed up with. What resulted was a litany of the things I wish would just go away.

 

UNTITLED

I’m tired of the fetishization of the black body,
Of feeling unsafe as a woman, a black woman.

I’m tired of being told, both directly and indirectly, that my feelings don’t matter,
That I’m too sensitive.

I’m tired of reading in the news that ANOTHER innocent black person has been killed by the police,
Has been painted as a thug, a dangerous criminal due to their pigmentation,
Not given the benefit of the doubt despite overwhelming evidence in their favour,
I’m tired that four decades after Dr. King and Malcolm X gave their lives this is still going on,

I’m tired of black face, and of people trying to justify using black face,
The monkey jokes are really getting old now, can’t racists be a bit more original?
I question how others see me. Can I trust anyone? Do I have to deal with another co-worker begging me to wear my afro out for Halloween? Am I a costume?

I’m tired of having to prove my humanity, having to prove I do have feelings,
Tired of feeling helpless about all the missing Nigerian girls, the African Ebola victims who hardly get a mention in the media these days.
Race is the elephant in the room, we don’t want to admit it.
Canada isn’t ready to discuss race,
Instead we have this kumbaya attitude to everything,
Promoting our multiculturalism policy,
Comparing ourselves positively to the States, at least we’re not them, we didn’t have slavery.
Their comments make me invisible, my issues and concerns don’t matter.
Surely I have nothing to complain about in our mosaic society?

And Lord knows I’m tired of the same nasty comments every Black History Month from the people who don’t understand why there is a need for it,
No, we’re not trying to make others feel guilty, we are trying to reclaim our history and our pride.
When ancient African civilizations were accredited to mythical lost European civilizations, rather than to their rightful African owners,
When history has been whitewashed to exclude all people of colour,
Surely a month isn’t too much to celebrate our history?
A month isn’t even long enough to catalogue the great contributions people of colour have made, but it’s a start.

Sorry to tell you but you can’t use the n-word just because your partner is black,
I don’t care if you mean it in an inoffensive way, don’t use it in my presence.
And slavery is never funny, it just isn’t,
The watermelon and fried chicken jokes are getting old; who doesn’t like fried chicken or watermelon anyway?

I’m scared that one day I’ll go missing and the police won’t care,
I’m disturbed by the fact a black life is valued so low.

If people only knew what we went through, perhaps they wouldn’t be too quick to shut us down,
If they were us they’d be tired too.
They would see the need to fight for change, to push for dialogue, something!
They would find it difficult to not become jaded,
They would feel disappointed and frustrated when those in positions of privilege ignore us,
They would experience the great effort we put into exhorting ourselves, our children
In world that tells us we are ugly, worthless and are criminals
A world in which a few black people standing together constitutes a mob,
A world in which the worst linguistic contortions are made to depict blacks in the most negative light.
I’m tired of being a prop, a photo op, a representative for the entire black race,
I’m aware that I am being used and it’s not a nice feeling,
What I’d ideally like to do is hide away in my books and ignore what’s going on ,but I have to fight this.

All I know is I’m not going to stop talking about racism, sexism and other -isms until they are over and done with.
I don’t want my younger female cousins to have to deal with as much negativity as I’ve had to,
I don’t want them to suppress their feelings and thoughts to make others comfortable. Haven’t we been made to feel uncomfortable enough?
Shrinking ourselves so as not to alarm people,
Being afraid to occupy space, just in case…

I’ve now resolved to not worry about the names people may call me.
If they wish to call me strident, so be it.
Neurotic, I’m fine with that too.
There is a time in someone’s life and in history when enough is enough.
Being authentic to oneself is more important than popularity.
Fighting the status quo is more important than pretending everything is okay

Aluta continua

 

I’m a woman moulded and shaped by three continents; my life has always been about border epistemology: navigating between cultures.  My hunger for knowledge is insatiable, my dreams are big, but alas, my energy is limited. I’m a dreamer, an exhorter and  a comforter. I believe strongly in kindness, love, authenticity and in listening to the voices of marginalized people. Please expect some impassioned posts from time to time!

I’m a strong advocate of the arts, especially literature and music.  A better world would be one with more art, more people writing and creating. Africa will always have my heart.

The Denounced by @CatEleven

(Cross-posted from One Woman’s Thoughts)

Sat in a pod
Or at a desk
A sofa
A lawn
Lying in bed
You scan with your code
And your algorithms of shame

Eyeballing for the sleights
The choice keywords
Juicy tidbits to wave under
The noses of your allies
Tracking
The allegiances formed
Through shared experiences

And you frighten
Condemn and denounce
These keyboard “aggressors”
You are known to us
You scream
From a page backlit
And we are watching you

Looking at your language
Looking for your hate
Avoid these scum
You warn
While actively searching them out
These women
With voices

These questioning
Inquisitive women
These thinking
Breathing
Challenging
Women
Reducing them to sound bites

Stereotypes
Privileged and hated
Ostracised
For expressing opinions
For naming their oppression
For questioning
For speaking

 

One Woman’s Thoughts: I am a feminist and this is my blog; a collection of perspectives, poetry and ideas. [@CatEleven]

War by @Carregonnen

(Cross-posted from Carregonnen)

We all stood at the station shouting Goodbye Goodbye
And the banners and the flags
were like rainbows in the sky
I held my husband to me and felt a cold wind blowing
Yet I cheered with pride and gladness
never guessing to what madness
they were going

We lived our lives without him getting
letters now and then
And between the lines of jokes and half-truths
I learned what war did to men
I held my young son to me and the wind was getting colder
There was no more pride and gladness
I recognised the madness
I was older

But he never did come back again twenty thousand died that day
and he was just another name on paper
on a list that grew each day
I watched my young son growing and I tried to teach him well
That there was no pride in dying
Politicians practised lying
Damn their souls to hell

Before the dust had really settled the call came out once more
And the politicians cracked the whip and the men danced as before
I watched my son’s own battle as he fought to find his truth
Then he turned to me in silence
And he turned away from violence
There’s wisdom still in youth

It seems so long ago now so many years have passed
And we live within a fragile peace that we are told will last
And I’ve watched my family growing
but I feel such fear and pain
For the way that things are going
I can feel the cold wind blowing
As it happens again and again and again and again and ………….

Barbara Hughes
1983

 

We all stood at the station shouting Goodbye Goodbye
And the banners and the flags
were like rainbows in the sky
I held my husband to me and felt a cold wind blowing
Yet I cheered with pride and gladness
never guessing to what madness
they were going

We lived our lives without him getting
letters now and then
And between the lines of jokes and half-truths
I learned what war did to men
I held my young son to me and the wind was getting colder
There was no more pride and gladness
I recognised the madness
I was older

But he never did come back again twenty thousand died that day
and he was just another name on paper
on a list that grew each day
I watched my young son growing and I tried to teach him well
That there was no pride in dying
Politicians practised lying
Damn their souls to hell

Before the dust had really settled the call came out once more
And the politicians cracked the whip and the men danced as before
I watched my son’s own battle as he fought to find his truth
Then he turned to me in silence
And he turned away from violence
There’s wisdom still in youth

It seems so long ago now so many years have passed
And we live within a fragile peace that we are told will last
And I’ve watched my family growing
but I feel such fear and pain
For the way that things are going
I can feel the cold wind blowing
As it happens again and again and again and again and ………….

Barbara Hughes
1983