Woman

You don’t need me for this one…
But I was thinking about it
And I kept thinking about it
This weekend as I was observing people and listening to their stories and conversations …

I saw how often we apologise
Or explain ourselves….

So here we are…
This is not a poem about 2020
Because, I don’t have to tell you, we won’t always be here, our lives move far beyond this year…
This is about you…
You don’t have to explain yourself
You don’t have to make excuses,
You are not a poem
Your body does not fit inside the margins
You are not a school dress code
You are a woman
And you can stand for equality
And still wear makeup
Or don’t
You are still a woman
You can start your own business
You can wear lingerie and lipstick only for your partner
Because it turns them on
And still stand for equality

Have sex when you want

Lose your virginity when you want

Wear the dress, the shorts,

Because it makes you feel good

It doesn’t make you any less
You can work out just for you
You can date a girl
You can dress up or dress down
And you can do whatever you want and whatever makes you feel good about yourself
Do it for you…
You don’t need me to write this poem, I know that, but I grew up with sisters and all of my best friends were women
And I just noticed how we often hesitate and feel ashamed about ourselves,and feel like we are not doing our best…and we are not authentic somehow…
But the truth is …
You don’t have to be the same person you were five years ago
Or two minutes ago
And the same things may not even turn you on …
The same clothes
The same food
The same job
You can change
You can grow
That’s what life is
Even Nora Ephron said,
You may write down today
That you are a mother
And five years from now
Write down that you are a writer …
So remember
Being a feminist
Standing for equality
Being a human
Does not have to look a certain way …
You are more than all of those receipts and labels …
You are more than this poem …
You are – You- a woman- a life – a piece of the universe – walking among us…

Most of all

You are your own …

Fully completely your own

Writer’s Log #5

William Faulkner — ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’

There is an awakening. A shaking I believe. There are voices who say this is not happening. Voices of nationalism. But we know differently. And those voices do not speak for us. We will not be moved by fear. We’ve made it clear. Our eyes are set forward. To equality, to preserving our planet for our children. Civil duty. Preserving our Bill of Rights. 

We have seen demonstrations in just 10 or so days. Why? Because, we remember. We’ve been down these paths before, they are well worn by history. Bullet holes in the side wall of this democracy. We will not let this ship take on water. We will not go back. We’re moving forward. 

Our generation understands I believe , the importance, the humanity, through technology, we need each other, the more we communicate, the more we learn from one another, the better off all of us are. 

We have an opportunity, to move forward in peace with one another, and right now, all of our relationships with allies are in question, have we always gotten it right? No, but we strive for this perfection, to preserve for the next generation, what we did not have.

We will not go back. 

To pointless political wars. 

To walls that need not be built 

Yesterday we were telling one nation to tear down their wall 

Today 

The world is reminding us 

Cautioning us 

We will not go back 

We’re still here 

We cannot achieve 

Or preserve these visions 

If we retreat into our own bubbles 

Of information 

If we refuse to speak out against 

Intolerance 

Against the strong man of nationalism 

We must protect what we believe in 

And communicate truth 

Because these other visions are real 

They are dangerous 

We’ve been down their roads before 

We’ve raised memorials for the losses and counted the scars 

They will not last 

They always fail 

But we don’t have to go this way 

We’re still here 

And we can speak 

We can stand 

We may take ten steps back 

And three forward 

But our eyes 

Are set 

On the future 

Not the past 

We’re not going that way.

We’re reminded of it 

Every time a woman leaves the house to go to her job 

Or to go vote 

We’re reminded of it 

Every time we step into a free health clinic 

Or planned parenthood for a screening 

We’re reminded of it 

Every time we check our phones 

And watch a video from an astronaut in space 

Or message someone across the world 

I’m reminded of it every time 

I publish an article right here 

And people from all over the world read it and respond 

We’re not going back 

Walls 

Would only shut us out and isolate us from the world today 

We’re not going that way 

We’re moving forward 

We remember watching children wash up on shores 

Fleeing from terror and civil war 

We’re not going that way 

We only thrive 

When information is open to us 

When we can work together 

And reach out to each other

We’ve seen the past 

We worked through its scars 

In this 24 hour memory 

Culture we live in 

It makes it easier to move on 

But 

We have the ability to work together 

To preserve this great vision 

Of art and family and brotherhood 

To allow other nations this vision as well 

So we can speak out 

And call an expectation on our leaders 

Because we’re moving forward.

And I believe 

Yes, this has shook  us 

But I am moved 

Because I see it unifying us 

And we are talking 

And we’re moving 

And we’re still here.

Equal 

Image origin unknown

What is it you see in a woman?

Maybe it’s her curves 

These lines we’ve been trying 

To iron out 

Through culture 

For centuries 

Equal Means Equal

But we’re not equal image origin unknown 

This isn’t a poem about why I’m a feminist 

Or how great it is that I’m a guy 

Or what it’s like in my experience 

This 

This is a poem 

About my wife …

The fact that even after all this time …

She’s not equal to me 

She starts out getting paid less than me for the same job

How can she ever get ahead?

She is not protected by our Constitution

Her freedom and equality 

Can be altered or repealed 

In a day

Women’s rights are human rights 

I read a story about a woman in another country fighting for her right to know her own body to know how to orgasm 

Men didn’t learn about their wives bodies and they really didn’t care whether they ever had pleasure or not. 

It’s not too far different here 

We’ve come all this way 

And we think we know a lot 

But we really only know 

A lot about what our culture 

Believes about things 

Just in the 90s we recognized marital rape as rape 

And yes- we don’t consider women as property on our papers anymore 

But we still want them to be homemakers 

Or daughters and mothers 

Trophy wives 

Making our sons look good 

A child has to be raped before it can have control of its own body 

This is decided by business men in Washington 

Contraceptives shouldn’t be covered by insurance because women shouldn’t enjoy sex

If they do have sex they should get pregnant

Forced birth 

This is decided by men in Washington 

When she is raped 

They get off free 

Because boys will be boys 

And they can run with a football 

And they still have a whole life to live-let’s not ruin it

Forget that her body was violated 

Her safe space 

Her mind 

Her temple 

The years of nightmares 

I can sue over spilled coffee 

But women can be raped and no one bats an eye….

We have a problem 

When we condemn women for reading works of fiction 

That have fake content 

And put men in power who are real 

And damaging 

And can alter their lives,safety and experience in society

I will say again 

I want a world 

Where my wife can live 

With peace of mind 

I want her to be safe 

I want her to be as free as me 

To be able to reach for whatever she dreams 

Women’s rights are human rights 

Why are we still fighting this battle? 

Maybe we’re just trying to iron out the curves

I think I want to write about you

I think I can forget all the rest 

I’m sorry 

I’m sorry we didn’t fight harder 

I’m sorry we’re still fighting for this 

We’ve come too far to go backwards 

I want – when I’m gone – for you to be able to live well. 

And if we should have a daughter 

I want her to be able to do all the same things our son would do. Without question. Even in her mothers high heels. 

-Ethan