77 cents

I want those 23 cents per dollar
that some man made more than me
for that precise thinking, for that same lifting,
for my exact educational level
and similar scrubbing–money lost
for every second of my life worked

I want to be buried in pennies
so I know how much less weight
I was given, how much less force,
how much purchase power bled away
with my menses and led to a poverty of power

and then I want to spend those pennies,
not on makeup, or rent, or toothpaste, or chicken
at the store; not on car repairs
or nylons, or chewing gum

no, I want those 25 years of 23 cents per dollar
(adjusted for inflation, of course, just like
my lower social security check will be)
to go elsewhere, those combined pennies
spent on new glasses, so I can see clearly
past my own borders, into the lives
of  women and girls, who live
in parts of the world where
to be born female
is worse than a prison sentence,

where they are bought, sold, traded,
owned, murdered,maimed, secluded,
and devalued far more than 23 cents on a dollar
could ever compensate for

so I can raise my voice
and direct this anger

to change something far more important
than those 23 pennies
if I could just see it

***This is not to say that US women should not be concerned about equal pay, not at all.  I just want us to use this anger over inequity here as a force to effect change globally, where it is desperately needed.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to 77 cents

  1. Kyle says:

    excellent points and brilliantly put susan

  2. Rhonda says:

    Susan, I’ll be a border crosser with you! Course I don’t work outside the home anymore, but I damn sure don’t get paid what I’m worth at home either. Regardless….I have my own 2 cents I can share with you for the coffer. All change starts with one…I don’t know about the rest of the world’s women, but we American broads have big mouths, loud voices, and we know how to use them…I say we pick women (and men) on our follow lists from other countries and re-blog this on their sites too. What say you? Want to return to the 60’s SFAM? May not have all been pretty, but it WAS pretty effective no?

  3. Love your blog so I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award!
    http://www.spilledcookies.com

  4. Susan, this is strong and beautiful! And thanks for speaking up for the voiceless and the powerless!

    • What happened to my reply to you? It was swallowed up into the ether…..Thanks so much, Noel–I am thinking I need to use this voice more than I have been….

  5. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    Just excellent. I’m going to repost this and not because you did me the honor yesterday, but because this speaks to something that has really been unsettling me lately too.

    Maybe it is the results of the Wisconsin recall election. Maybe it is the verbal and environmental violence of the Canadian government. Maybe it is the wars, the refugees, the environmental deastruction and the animal abuse I keep reading about. Maybe it is a sense that everything is being overrun by corporate greed right now and that the voices of the non-greedy and hateful aren’t being heard. I don’t know. . . All of it?

    Or maybe I just need to keep being reminded that other people are awake and alive and burning with anguish and anger over the way things are. Forgive me, I am not trying to use this as a soap box but only to say that I think I get what you are after here and that I agree agree agree.

    • Jeremy–I am so right there with you on all of this–please don’t ever apologize for passion, and feel free to say whatever you need to in these comments–I like what you have to say and so want to hear it! Share this, please–it is begging to be shared!

      And–thank you so much!

      • Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

        I am so glad to share it. I woke up today to the usual round of bad news I receive by trying to be (and remain) “active” and just needed a reminder I am not alone trying to fight what I believe to be “the good fight.”

        I am really glad you wrote this. Thank you for doing so.

        • Thanks for fighting it with us. I am right now trying to get working women to organize a national “call in sick” day–to protest the paycheck inequity–apparently, according to NOW, this has been twittered about a bit lately, so there is some interest.

          But, again thank you for reblogging this, and also for continuing to remain active–the world needs you and your voice!

  6. snowbirdpress says:

    Very interesting. I heard that what is even more discouraging is that if women become a majority in a male dominated work area, the wages in that area tend to go down… Right now there are more women becoming lawyers and the income of lawyers is going down in direct proportion…

    But being an artist I’ve always known that the minute money gets mixed up in anything, things become mightily out of whack!

    • Yes, money does make things whacky–but perhaps it is not too late to correct it somehow? I am, however, more concerned with women in the US myopically focusing (if that is something possible to do) on these issues alone, when we could lend our voices to those who are not allowed to speak for themselves, and where being female carries a much higher cost than a smaller paycheck.

  7. nelle says:

    Agreed on global change. However, women in other places have to want change, they have to be leaders of their cause, and we, their supporting compatriots.

    • Good point, very good point. I just want to make sure I am looking when they have their hands and heads lifted, to offer that support, and not miss it because I am myopically obsessed with what is going on here (which is what I tend to do).

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