They want to meter sunlight
in a convenient attack of sometimes
where truth is less than the sum of its spin
and I am less in love with language
in favor of words: bone, cup, water;
a simple speech of blood
translating only what’s important:
arrow, sunrise, hands;
your mouth on my neck
I have been swimming in a sea of talking points instead of conversation, and am at risk of drowning. Recently, I joined an across-the-political-spectrum discussion group on Facebook, and generally have been having a lot of fun exchanging perspectives and ideas. Until last night.
Last night, another group member I do not know well used the definition of fascism to describe the progressive movement in this country. As I am a lover of language, I corrected his definition of both terms, as they are polar opposites, and then was accused of being a typical liberal who feels she owns the definition of words.
As a poet and writer, I use words, but do not own them beyond the split second I string them into an image, thought, or sentence. No one does. So–here are those definitions that got me into trouble last night.
noun \ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm also ˈfa-ˌsi-\
: a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government
: very harsh control or authority.
: a person who favors new or modern ideas especially in politics and education.
These are not my definitions. They come from Merriam-Webster. Regardless, our exchange deteriorated to the point of snark, and any hope of constructive dialog between us was lost, at least for last night.
Our exchange led me to think more of how I define my politics, which are not, and never have been decidedly one way or the other. For example:
- I have voted for a Republican or two in my time.
- I am not anti-gun, but strongly advocate responsible ownership and sales of firearms).
- I am far more concerned about the health of the fourth amendment to the US Constitution right now that I ever will be about the Second. Especially since 9/11.
- As an Army brat, I support a strong military.
- As a person with a conscience, I regret what we have done in other countries to support oppressive regimes.
- I am radically feminist and passionately pro-choice, but my personal faith and belief system would never allow me to choose to terminate a pregnancy (and yes, I have been in that situation to test this out). Does this mean I would impose my choice on another woman? Hell, no.
So, lately I have been feeling like the term liberal really does not fit me well. It is too tight around the waist. Instead, from now on, I will be calling myself a leftward-leaning pragmatist.
It is easier to become
I will dye my hair turquoise
legs crossed at the ankles
if I close my eyes
I will breathe water
Christ’s toenails are on E-Bay
if you crave salvation
but don’t test for authenticity
of blood and time
just taste that sweet sweet
America style punch to the stomach,
braided through what was cane and cow,
reinventing an awake faith, standing ground
and never asking questions.
Drink it and, like us,
rot from the inside-out.
She’s tired of finding bodies
in beds or bathtubs, innocent
and empty until memory fills them.
Whether she heard the last breath
or missed it isn’t the point.
She didn’t choose this,
the cleanup afterwards,
the telephone calls,
the scattering of what was owned
heavier than ashes
and left behind.
She’s tired of responsibility
sorting through a life cluttered at her feet
simply because she was there
to wipe dust from the reminder
that what we keep stays long after us.
The Egyptian kings had it right,
she says, burying everything
with the mummy to use in the underworld,
as only souls are weighed on that scale
to assess innocence;
nothing else of what is brought
important in that measure.
Better yet, in suttee
burn the house, the too-big
or too-small fabric
rainbowing the closet; brighter
than the 40-year-old
in a box under the bed;
the bank accounts, the bills,
the estate lawyers, the losing
of those last hours. Burn it all
and walk away empty,
free, nearly weightless
as only what’s dead can be.
It starts innocent: What color is the hair
I hid for 20 years, first for fashion
and then as a shaytel of dark in a box
I leave on a shelf, unused
for 2 months.
I have gone from maiden
to crone in 60 days:
47 an age for putting aside artifice
for a moment, numbering fine lines
like tree rings, blaming children
for each gray hair instead of thanking them for it.
No one saves the maker of amulets
or the deliverer of curses;
I am no longer a princess needing rescue,
dosed with a darning needle
or tasting the poisoned apple
and am instead the wise woman, the crone
who has no use for glass slippers
because she dances barefoot
on the dark side of the moon.