Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Hallowed E'en
A night, a day for getting even
Put on a hat
or faded dungarees
Streak your lips with ash
Fill your slip with peas

March, strike, like a petty officer
Mock, flaunt, pretend you're what you are
It's Hallow e'en
It's a very Happy Day

Ghosts, witches, cats and bats
It's the Black Day
It's the Orange Day
Smash a pumpkin, curse a witch, it's
twenty years bad luck
Bad luck, they say, is worse than no luck
You know it's the same
You know it's your day

Put on a suit
Ride to State Street on a broom
Drink some noxious tonic
Take your lover, too
It's a mad day
It's a death day

Isn't it time you die, too?

(c) 1985

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Index at Ana Verse

Jan. 16, 2006 to May 1, 2012 (rev. May 1):

Contents: 398 posts (incl. Index); 66 drafts (not viewable); 332 viewable posts:

Mad Hatters' Review, Issue 13 (link, nota. lit.)
New from Argotist Ebooks (link, Fictionaut, nota. lit.)
Saratoga (still photo)
[The Cool Report, August 4, 2006 (inquiry-cult., open ltr, poetry-line)]
Solzhenitsyn Jukebox ebook trailer (link)
[Irish Salad, March 16, 2007 (fiction, fictionaut)]
Solzhenitsyn Jukebox ebook trailer (link)
These hats are for sale! (still photo)
Solzhenitsyn Jukebox, Argotist Ebooks, 2010 (nota. lit.)
Szymanowski at St. Mark's (still photo)
Grey Nuns (still photo)
She lets her intentions guide her (Fictionaut, flash fiction)
Ledger (nota. (lit.)
Brock & Cheryl: Comp (collaboration, Fictionaut, short story)
Gerade links (Fictionaut)
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (still photo - garden)
[Subj: re: doing time ... (autobio., old draft, Fictionaut, inquiry (cult.)]
Tilly Artaud (Fictionaut)
Sentences like little isles of meaning (nota. (lit.)
Écriture de la chatte (Fictionaut, fiction)
Fiancée (Fictionaut, short story)
Inaccrochable (Fictionaut, short story, still photo)
Hypogynormous ruble (exchange rates for Zynga) (Fictionaut, autobio., still photo: garden)
Seven digits (still photo: garden)
Why I Farm (still photo: garden)
Unplugged Hand (still photo)
Interview at Experimental Fiction/Poetry/Jazz (link)
Burning Bush (still photo: garden)
The Argotist Online (nota. lit., link)
Olmsted Point at Yosemite (still photo)
Work on What Has Been Spoiled (fiction, link)
Turning Thirty (Fictionaut, fiction)
Solzhenitsyn Juke-Box (Fictionaut, fiction)
Sound Experiment (2) (sound experiment, photo)
Po-cash (Fictionaut, fiction)
Queen of Spades (fiction)
Curfew (Fictionaut, fiction)
At the gate (still photo, shostowrimo)
Welcome (still photo, shostowrimo)
Denouement (fiction, shostowrimo)
Dual citizens (fiction, shostowrimo)
Truck (fiction, shostowrimo)
Wildlife (fiction, shostowrimo)
La discrimination positive (fiction, shostowrimo)
Under the hood (fiction, shostowrimo)
A motto for love (fiction, shostowrimo)
He heralds newsworthy deaths (fiction, shostowrimo)
Interview (fiction, shostowrimo)
Times tells her (fiction, shostowrimo)
Koan (fiction, shostowrimo)
Talk of the weather (fiction, shostowrimo)
Cognates in the Post (fiction, shostowrimo)
He can read her thoughts (fiction, shostowrimo)
In for the night (fiction, shostowrimo)
At the drugstore (fiction, shostowrimo)
A new pair of glasses (fiction, shostowrimo)
Miss widow (fiction, shostowrimo)
Her boss calls during lunch hour (fiction, shostowrimo)
12 sentences (fiction, shostowrimo)
A misreading (fiction, shostowrimo)
Bird sanctuary (fiction, shostowrimo)
Eloise's porter (fiction, shostowrimo)
In the suburbios (fiction, shostowrimo)
Vertigo (fiction, shostowrimo)
Lake Harriet (photo, shostowrimo)
Radio (fiction, shostowrimo)
Wall Street (fiction, shostowrimo)
These females take no prisoners (cnf, mehewrimo)
My sentence-maker went out for lunch (cnf, mehewrimo)
Daisies by day (photo, mehewrimo)
Lobelia (photo, mehewrimo)
Simon heads to Great Mother Conference (photo, mehewrimo)
Discourse in public life (pu-!le-miks) (cnf, mehewrimo)
Brunnera (Siberian Bugloss) (photo, mehewrimo)
Kipling Avenue (photo, mehewrimo)
Iris (photo, mehewrimo)
They do if you pick them (cnf, photo, mehewrimo)
Clinic art (nota. art, mehewrimo)
"Cold as Life" (nota. lit., poetry - concrete, mehewrimo)
Duluth Harbor (poetry - concrete, mehewrimo)
Tobacco Verses by Maxim Zuzin (nota. lit., mehewrimo)
"My weird" (cnf, mehewrimo)
Quisnam dat poeta pecunia? (cnf., mehewrimo)
"Negativity for Life" (nota. lit., mehewrimo)
Suffering is true to their gender (cnf, mehewrimo)
Joni Mitchell (nota. art, mehewrimo)
Lily Tomlin and Cher Bono (nota., mehewrimo)
There but for the grace of God go they (cnf, mehewrimo)
Female friendships are left to be engendering (cnf, mehewrimo)
Words at Ana Verse with "fem" in them (list, mehewrimo)
Words at Ana Verse with "men" in them (list, mehewrimo)
Country without a name (cnf, mehewrimo)
As Tide is to Woolite (cnf., mehewrimo)
Uncl./ant. (inquiry - cult, draft, mehewrimo)
Mental notes (list, mehewrimo, ltr.)
GLBT(Q) plus O (cnf, mehewrimo)
Death by Comet (cnf, mehewrimo)
Southern Man (cnf, mehewrimo)
May is MeHeWriMo (list, mehewrimo)
Chant de la Sirene (nota. lit.)
Becoming Billie Holiday (nota. lit.)
Lolita: a pyramid story (open letter)
Notecard from "Hoss Men" (Oct. 2008) (list)
A short draft in feminism (autobio.)
Sylvia Plath's "I Am Vertical" (poetry, nota. (lit.), inquiry (lit.), open letter)
Elsewhere on the web for March 2009 (nota. (lit.)
Acceptance is to her a phenomenon (prose cut-up)
Journey of Man (nota.)
Citizens: a fragment (dialogue, fiction)
One-word Q & A (list)
W'assup with Edward Albee? (inquiry-lit.)
On greatness (nota., poetry -line)
Credenza (revision)
"I" pronoun-noun-verb succession (prose cut-up)
Move hand at yes (prose cut-up)
Full Moon (garden photo)
Christmas Letter (personal ltr., prose -cut-up)
"Welcome" and other words with "co" in them at Ana Verse (list, poetry -found)
"Honor" and other words with "ho" in them at Ana Verse (list, poetry-found)
Unrequited Loves, a collaboration (cnf)
Camille Claudel (draft, open ltr.)
"A Woman's Way Through the Twelve Steps" (poetry -line)
Punctuate (cnf, draft)
Years after Joy (inq.-cult.)
Writing in the Open (nota.)
WπHπAπT (personal ltr., prosetics, draft)
Hoss Men (prosetics)
Calling Michael Semora (nota.)
Hoss Men (13th rev.) (in reverse) (draft, prosetics)
Like a delight ("found" poem)
Conditions of a Narrator (inq. - lit.)
I-dot-I-dot-ippi (part 2) (autobio., ltr.)
"Obedience School" by John Ashbery (nota. - lit.)
Writing, an essay by W. H. Auden in Narrative Magazine (nota. - lit.)
57 tees from the hey (list, poetry - cut-up)
I-dot-I-dot-ippi (cnf)
Palin-drome (inquiry cult.)
Why do they stay? (cnf, draft)
Letter to BL (personal ltr., draft)
Marxist-capitalist flowers for believers (cnf)
How This Works (nota. lit.)
A few things I'd like to remember from Russia (autobio.)
St. Petersburg (autobio.)
Lake Ladoga (autobio.)
Volga (autobio.)
Moscow (autobio.)
Days One & Two (autobio.)
How to Reach Me (nota.)
Caregiver (cn, inquiry (cult), draft)
Dreams-in-progress (creative non/fiction)
Dear John (letter)
Poem by Linde Brocato
Blog Reader Appreciation Day (list)
En(gag)ed (fiction) (draft)
Take It or Leave It (inq. cult.)
Grandfather, George A. Bogle (1892-1962) (photo)
The time has come (to talk politics) (ltrs.)
Ann Bogle (c) 2008 by Beez Johnson (photo)
Power & Control v. Equality (nota.)
Fortunes in cookies, 2007 (list)
Bliss (c.n.)
January was in New York (autobio.)
Sunday Salon Reading (nota.- lit.)
The Quarterly (photo)
Letter from Gordon Lish
Happiness in love (c.n.) (draft)
Bounce (c.n.)(draft)
Presidential candidates (autobio.)
My obsessions (c.n.) (draft)
First snow (photo)
Driving years (open ltr.)
Cousin, short story
Shop like a man (autobio.)
Grand i flora Hosta in Autumn (photo)
Cock Rock at Maple (photo) (draft)
Autumn kilt: 2 weeks earlier (photo) (draft)
Halloween (poem)
Index at Ana Verse
"Vital Signs: Hysteria is calmer than you think" (nota.)
Gossip (unmailed letter: UML), Oct. 6, 2007 (draft)
Birdfeeders in autumn (photo)
Reply to "a note on feminism" (draft)
A note on feminism (draft)
Invisible Jazz (diary, Sept. 29, 2007) (draft)
Dream in Snow Circle (creative nonfiction = c.n.)
Dinner (autobio.)
Pay-off (def.)
Candor, or cited (c.n.) (draft)
Catechism (inquiry - relig.)
Linda (poem)
Men's movement (c.n.) (draft)
Getting it (c.n.) (draft)
Webgoing Notes (list) (draft)
Sex and Taxes (photo) (draft)
Lesson 38 (found poem)
Windowkill (Goldfinch, m.) (photo)
Jack in the Pulpit (photo)
Sargent Highbush Cranberry (photo)
Grand i flora Hosta (photo)
Walter Fox (photo)
Poem by Bruce Johnson
Let's imagine that the war is over (c.n.)
Literary criticism at weblogs (inquiry - lit.)
Wisdom of Dr. Abraham Low (nota.)
Ornamental Pepper (photo)
90s short stories (inquiry - lit.)
Small party for an excuse (personal ltr.)
After the elms (photo)
Sisters (personal ltr.)
First Edition (Rose) (photo)
Buried tree (photo)
Dime (poem)
Technological prose (inquiry lit.)
Dutch Elm Disease (photo)
Coneflower (photo)
Other letter (excerpt)
Today: Journal, July 21, 2007 (c.n.)
Journal (cont'd), July 21, 2007 (c.n.)
Texta on genre (nota. - lit.)
Cafe Barbette in Minneapolis (photo)
Dear Physical Man: (fiction)
Dear Eunice: (fiction)
Rose garden (photo)
Rida, rida ranka (folkpoetry - note)
Housekeeping (list of 19 drafts)
Our House (photo)
Yellow Stargazer (Lily) (photo)
Black Cohosh (photo)
Thinking Again (nota. - lit.)
Rock band days (autobio.)
Lake Minnetonka (photo)
Feather Reed (photo)
Garden vegetables (photo)
Footpath (photo)
Catmint (photo)
What's in a rouge (photo)
& red wheelbarrow (2) (photo)
Endless Summer (photo)
White Clips & Blue Clips (photo)
My Jane Eyre (draft)
Daisies at Night (photo)
Florence's Garden (photo)
Butterfly Weed (photo)
Tawny Daylily (photo)
Red Elderberry (photo)
Building #2 (prose poetry)
Fish (c.n.)
The Semicolon (prose poetry)
Red wheelbarrow (photo)
Seven things (a writing exercise)
Jardiniere (photo)
Onion family (photo & short story excerpt)
Rhubarb (photo)
Dream about the W.A.S.P.s (c.n.)
Rose from Lake Nokomis (photo)
Visiting in New York (draft)
Why we blog (nota - lit.)
Depression & poetry (draft)
Dying not (prose poem)
Dr. Abuzzahab (draft)
Caesar's Brother (Iris) (photo)
Karma (def.)
Jealous (def.)
The deer (bio.)
Red elephant (photo)
Baby picture (1962) (photo)
The recent death of poet Sarah Hannah (draft)
Turtle (photo)
Epideictic or Panegyric (def.)
Bigot (def.)
Millness: On a stretcher (draft)
Disability and the United Nations (nota.)
Dial-on (c.n.)
Diagnosis (draft)
Love (draft)
Bluejays (bio. & photo)
Bon anniversaire a moi (photos)
My Stupid Talking (by Alan Sondheim) (nota. - lit.)
Peace of the Rock (photo)
Poem by Christa M. Forster
My publications (nota. - lit.)
My latest book (inquiry - lit.)
What is missing here (open ltr.)
Learning the lessons of school (autobio.)
My religion (autobio.)
Kamau Brathwaite (inquiry - lit.)
Waylaid (1999) (draft)
An auspicious debut (inquiry - cult.)
The Daily Bread of Poetic Justice (nota. - lit.)
Vernal equinox (c.n.)
Barthelme's Ghost (autobio.)
Twill skirt (c.n.)
Irish salad (c.n., draft)
Credo (prose poetry)
Stripped of all precious illusion ... (c.n.)
Sonia's Rock Band (autobio.)
What mothers want (photo)
Marxist (inquiry - cult.)
Poems by J.D. Smith
Polemics (def.)
A week later (autobio.)
International Women's Day: Work (inquiry - cult.)
Cold (autobio.)
Alternative poetry (inquiry - lit.)
A poet from San Francisco (autobio.)
Writers who don't love enough (inquiry - lit.)
Ann Bogle (c) 1991 by Beez Johnson (photo)
Fertility (c.n.)
C.S. Giscombe at miPOesias (nota. - lit.)
Miniatures in shadow box (photo)
Joy Revisited (prose poem)
Age, men, and friends (autobio.)
Wish for the left hand (fiction)
Rebellion (nota. - lit.)
Three returned poems
Nuruddin Farah (inquiry - lit.)
Basal Distance (prose poem)
On feminism (inquiry - cult.)
Note from the writer (autobio.)
Being on the outside (c.n.)
The eight members of the group (fiction)
Rice Crackers (inquiry - lit.)
Why I Write (inquiry - lit.)
Fiction's Properties (nota. - lit.)
Jungle (c.n.)
Work of a Reader (inquiry - lit.)
Equity (autobio.)
Ms. Sandman (draft)
Freundinnen: Her Lost Friend Poem
Sound Experiment
Maiden names (c.n.)
Chagrin (def.)
Words at Ana Verse with "bra" in them (found poem)
My Aunt was a Physicist (autobio.)
Genre markers (inquiry - lit.)
Animals in Reverse (bio.)
Animals, part 1 (bio.)
Animals, part 2 (bio.)
Animals, part 3 (bio.)
Fortunes in cookies, 2006 (list)
Winter at Christmas (photo)
Substance at stake (draft)
Honest Life (draft)
Gerade rechts zum Volkszimmer (autobio.)
A literary "stoush" (nota. - lit.)
Red Squirrel (prose poetry)
Veronica by Mary Gaitskill (nota. - lit.)
Ann Bogle! Ann Bogle! (nota. - lit.)
Publishing in (online v. print) journals (autobio.)
Growing up normal (draft)
Outside (photo)
The Cool Report (draft)
The Gift, short story (draft)
Reading & Writing (autobio.)
Ann Bogle (c) 2002 by David Sherman (photo)
Internalational Dictionary of Neologisms (nota. - lit.)
A delightful blog: Spooks by Me by K. Lorraine Graham (nota. - lit.)
My Crush on Daniel Ortega (short story, reprint)
Ad- (L.) and -ad (Gr.) (list, found poem)
Kitchen Set (autobio.)
Oh, baby! (autobio.)
Texas Was Better (short story)
Poetry at Veery Books (nota. - lit.)
Cigs, short story (draft)
Unmailed letter to UK (autobio.)
Hogging the Lady (short story, reprint)
Almanac (short story, reprint)
Wild Bore Harley (autobio.)
Ode to Coffee (folk poetry)
Varan Prost (folk poetry)
Hype & Melancholy (autobio.)
Ash Wednesday (autobio.)
Celebrate March 8 (nota.)
Rule Out Euthymia, short story (draft)
Lucretia, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, 1666 (nota. - art)
Diatribe (def.)
Idolatry (draft)
Working Numbers (draft)
Guthrie Theater, Opening Summer 2006 (nota. - art)
Letters, notes, conversations, partings (inquiry - lit.)
I'll Never Look Black (c.n.)
Home (autobio.)
Ruth Duckworth, "The Creation" (nota. - art)
Journal Entry, March 1, 2006
This is Why I Loved You (poem)
Pochoir Prints in the Cooper-Hewitt (nota. - art)
The woman & he are talking (fiction)
'Bitter' Revision (c.n.) (draft)
Bitter Tide (c.n.) (draft)
Six Poems (draft)
F.I.T.S. (autobio.)
Head (poem)
Frontiers Yugoslavia Thirty Notwithstanding (poem) (draft)
First Sex (autobio.)
Four Poems
Father-time (draft)
Trent Kesey (c.n.)
"Rida, rida ranka" (folk poetry)
Subj: re: doing time ... (autobio., draft)
Ann Bogle (c) 1998 by Christa Forster (photo)
What is a blog? What is a bogle? (draft)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

"Vital Signs: Hysteria is calmer than you think"

Discover: Science, Technology, and the Future, November 2007, p. 32-33.

by Frank Vertosick

"[...]The emergency room had just admitted a 22-year-old convenience store clerk, whom I will call Rachel. She had awakened several hours earlier with a rather annoying problem: She could not move her legs. [...]'Does anything hurt?' I asked. 'No,' she said, shrugging. [...] 'Are they numb?' I continued, stroking her bare shins with my index finger. 'Nah, I feel that. They just feel funny, you know, heavy. Do you think this is serious? When can I go home? I have to open the store at 6. [...]'

"Further interrogation revealed little. Rachel was healthy, no illnesses, no medications, no surgeries. A smoker since 14, she used marijuana sporadically, but there was no other history of drug use. No traumas, no chance of pregnancy (her boyfriend had abruptly dumped her six months earlier, and she still seethed when discussing him), no history of depression or other mental illness, no significant family history. She was in good health. Except for the 'leg thing.'

"In addition to lacking any obvious pathology, she also lacked health insurance. The ER had already set up an MRI of her entire spine and summoned the technician from home to do it. This might yield an answer -- but I suspected the truth about her condition already, and I was reluctant to saddle the woman with thousands of dollars of expensive pictures. The tests would all be negative anyway.

"A quick examination confirmed my suspicions. When I poked her foot with a pin, she yelped but didn't move her legs. [...]These findings, coupled with a blase attitude toward her paralysis (a mental state known in neurology as "la belle indifference"), made me suspect a rather distasteful diagnosis: hysteria.

"[...]Today hysteria is known by the more palatable but still inaccurate moniker 'conversion disorder.' It manifests acutely in the form of blindness, paralysis, even coma, with no apparent organic disease. Sigmund Freud believed that the hysterical mind converts some psychic trauma into a physical malady that will both garner sympathy and allow the sufferer to hide from her problems behind a shield of illness. Decades before Freud, the great French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot suggested that hysteria was indeed an organic brain illness, not the product of a disturbed or demon-possessed mind, but Freud's explanation gained wider acceptance.

"Although many hysterics complain of mental distress (like Rachel's boyfriend woes), recent neurophysiological evidence from PET scans and functional MRIs suggests that the malady may be akin to a seizure initiated by the frontal lobes, and so is a condition of the brain as well as the mind. Some people may have a vulnerability to this kind of response to stress. Thus Charcot was probably right (he usually was), and Freud was probably wrong (no surprise there either).

"[...] I told [Rachel] that most likely nothing serious was going on and that she probably had a 'vitamin deficiency.' This is one aspect of hysterical paralysis that still smacks of a psychiatric origin: Patients must be convinced that they are being treated as if they have an organic disease. Simply telling them they are imagining things doesn't work very well.

"There is an old adage: Neurology is what you do while you are waiting for the films to be developed. [...]

"Twenty minutes after the [vitamin] infusion ended, Rachel's legs roared to life, and she walked out the door. I went home, tired but happy in the knowledge that I hadn't allowed a single freakish spasm of a young woman's brain to land her in the poorhouse or in the psychiatric ward."

Gossip (unmailed letter: UML), October 6, 2007

I would appreciate it if you would refrain from discussing things I have discussed with you with your friends, your family, and your boyfriend unless I have okay'd it. Most everything I told you I was trying to tell you privately, and it didn't work in any way. I have learned from dealing with your group indirectly: beginning with your telling me that sex is required if a man & woman are alone in a room together yet not allowed in dating. This goes back to the blind dates you sent me on & up to the present w/ the date my mother asked to stay at a hotel. Either way, you try to set moral rules for your friends and for the community without thinking of reality. Sex is never required. As someone who claims now to have had sex with only three men in her entire lifetime, you may not realize what other women have had to go through with men. Furthermore, unpaid caregiving of men with serious illnesses is a hardship unlike any other, one you have so far never experienced and may never experience; even paid caregiving of men with serious illnesses has not happened to you, and may not happen since you were married short-term to someone without illnesses and have refused to marry your boyfriend. Other things: it does your friends little good to try to persuade them to go out drinking with you. It shows that you are not interested in their safety. You are popular, but you accomplish this without actually being kind to your friend's secrets. I protect you, your friends and their secrets. Perhaps your friends should start to think of me as their other friend.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Birdfeeders in autumn

Reply to "a note on feminism"


I'll always be your friend, whether or not I'm registered. :) Truthfully, I'm wary of facebook: Many of my students use it, and I think it's a good idea for the faculty to give students a certain amount of "psychic space." I'm sure they don't want to see me at the bars they hang out at; or see me wearing fashions like they do; or even see me much outside of class at all. I want to honor the fact that they have their own codes and sub-culture, and I want them to honor the fact that I think many of their activities are icky, goofy, or a combination of the two-"icgoofy."

My friend S. forwarded one of your koans -- the one about elephant poo -- and I'm assuming elephant poo only plays a significant role in one of your essays, but I acknowledge I may be wrong.

I teach "Intro. to Women's Studies," and I recognize some of my students in your words. I just don't recognize feminism in it. Upper-middle and upper-class, white women don't like other women, and they never have; after all, mom was a woman, and she was the first to point out just how high the standards are to catch that upper-middle or upper-class, white male with all of his earning power and cognate privilege. To be a working class or non-white woman and to somehow fail to "catch" a similar man is just not as disastrous, so the frenzy is much less intense. Less to lose means less to gain, but it also means other women cannot take away something as important, even necessary, to your standard-of-living. Consequently, "other" women have more female friends, real female friends, not just shopping friends, or book-club friends, or play-date friends. A "real" friend doesn't care how much you weigh, earn, owe, or get laid. It's about you, not the size of your paycheck or your ass. She doesn't flirt with your man because he's not as important to her as you are; in fact, she would help you hide his body should it become necessary for you to kill him, and, of course, you may have to do the same for her.

It's very difficult for any woman to make as much as a man, and it's even more so the further you go up the privilege ladder. A secretary or school teacher may make as much money as her supervisor husband, but a female associate in a law firm will only earn a fraction of her husband -- the law partner.

It is a "necessary but not sufficient" that the law-partner's wife be: pretty; smart, but not smarter than he is; thin; athletic; compliant; a "good mother"; supportive of his career; a great hostess; white; and educated in a non-threatening way; she must also be eternally young, or at least, eternally younger than he is and hot enough so that the other partners would want to "do" her. It is not necessary for any factory worker or fireman to have a wife that is attractive to his male co-workers, but it is a necessity for the CEO.

I can only imagine the bitterness when some women finally read the fine print on the "professional wife contract" and realize "eternal youth" is not really an option, the benefits of botox notwithstanding. Or you could starve, and exercise, and smile, and cheerfully clean up elephant poo, and yet it doesn't work: Maybe no powerful white man shows up to give you 2.5 children and a McMansion in the suburbs. It is a rude awakening, but not as rude as the daily lives of fat women, poor women, "ugly" women," women who are "too smart" and won't or can't hide it, lesbians, women of color, old women, disabled women.

Try to break the rules, and then see what happens: Have you ever seen a "no skinny chicks" or "no pretty chicks" T-shirt? Some women do like other women -- the same ones that also like men, but don't need them to buy stuff for them. And yes, male privilege extends to even the most pathetic bearers of the Y chromosome, who aren't "masters of the universe," but still believe they deserve what Mr. CEO has earned by virtue of his sheer bastardness. That's called "patriarchy." If you only respect "prickiness" then you won't have far to look. Consider meeting more women and men who "just say no" to the gender police. Consider saying no to middle class expectations and weirdness. Consider celibacy. Consider not judging every woman you meet by standards that have only screwed you over in the past. Consider that it is still easier to teach brain-dead undergraduates for dollars-on-the-head (fewer students and they cut your pay or cancel your class) than it is to pick strawberries. Consider that it may be easier to have no man at all than to have a man who just pisses you off whenever you listen to what he's saying. Consider that complete happiness was never guaranteed to any human by God, so how could another human give it to you? Consider eating alone in a restaurant, and both an appetizer and a dessert! Consider two desserts!



Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A note on feminism

This koan: an elephant walks in the living room, shits, and leaves. It's the woman's job to clean up the shit and put her house back in order: No one will do it if she doesn't, and she can't live w/ all that stinking elephant shit on the carpet. She applies herself to the task, and soon, the further she gets, the more achieved she feels. Self-esteem arises in her from this amazing experience of becoming efficient at cleaning up the elephant's shit. Then the elephant walks back in. What is feminism? Women here have been describing it as an "ism." Someone else assumes it is meaningless, but would he say, meaningless like Marxism. I have heard that some think feminism is an extenuation of religion.

Men sympathetic to women's causes and plights are sympathetic because they like women. It seems increasingly that many women don't like women very much, that liking women is too obvious, that one has to pretend one doesn't notice us. There is no out and out acceptance of Feminism as necessary to humanism. Where I live (perhaps outside religion as most people where I live are), girls are liabilities -- openly complained of -- and boys assets. The futures for girls & women are limited to their physical assets, but even beauty is poor -- the pay is well below the livable rate for many women I know who work, resumes & experience go unregarded, housing costs are obscene, and contrary to the popular songs about the joy of and signs of love that come of hitting us ("if that ain't love, I don't know what is"), even non-feminists leave when he acts violently;

by the same token, men have told me that they know only women with high incomes, and have rarely met the other kind of woman, the mother of daughters, who goes underpaid, her daughters who go underpaid, thin women who go underpaid, regardless of their educations, regardless even of Ivy-league educations, the unmarried who go underpaid, the women's sympathizers who go underpaid.

Item: In 1999, my boyfriend abruptly blocked access to my car, when I tried to leave a restaurant without him -- we were in a disagreement over someone else's religious recovery, and he turned on me; he hoped there would be life and death stakes in this woman's life; she was the Jewish mother of two young daughters. I'd already known him to be a salesman who assigned dollar values to people's foreheads. I called the police, who interrogated me at my car. A year later, I had lost 20 needed pounds due to stress; the mother I had defended from my boyfriend's attitudes had taken to heroin; he had gained 10 pounds, complained of his spare tire, and awaited the birth of his male 9-pounder out another woman's oven -- she a non-college-educated non-feminist, who was out-earning us, who left him for violence within a few years.

Anyway, it's this kind of "sex" that many women don't want to run the risk of going without.

Thin women around here, the lucky ones, make $18 K for a full year at it. I swear, they're paying women by the pound! It's as if the collective mind believes that men will make up the difference in thin women's paychecks, as if it's an Us not an ism.

Write a song about that. Do we poets know how to write songs?