RBG

I wonder what the courtroom felt

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg first appeared on the scene

This quiet

Non threatening little woman

Who, case by case

Continued returning

Representing men

And women

And explaining

That equality is better for everyone

there were

Over three thousand

Laws

On the books

Holding women down

Like a boot on the back of the neck

Or a hand against the chest

A man is the owner of his domaine and a woman

Is much like property

Men cannot be homemakers

Because that’s meant for women

Women can be fired for being pregnant

“She’s just lucky we allow her to be here at all …”

I know we are not what we were

But like so much analog static

We’ve rushed past it all

In the digital age

I knew a woman who got fired up every time

There was an election

And she would remind me

That when she was young and beautiful

She couldn’t vote

If her husband left her

He got everything

She was just property

If she was wealthy

When they got married

It became his

If he moved she had to go with him

I wonder if we recognize

We’re crossing over old bridges

Our hands are shaking

Over ghosts

And battles that have already been won

And

I’m sorry,

I’m sorry that there are always

Receipts for everything we’ve given you

I’m sorry that equality and your right to vote

Hasn’t been added to the constitution

They’re still holding the receipts

To legislations considering the refund….

Legislations can be repealed it can be altered …

And I’m sorry

That no matter how much we plan for a family

There are 25 men

Somewhere

Fist bumping

And making those decisions for us

I wonder if my arms are enough to quiet the echo

I wonder

If you still hear the laughter

And cutting twist of the knife

“Go back to where you belong

Shhhh stop overreacting

It will all pan out.”

Remember,

Progress is made

One step at a time

One battle at a time

One step forward, three steps back

We’ve been here before

We know how the punches are thrown

We’ve got the scars to prove it ….

Photo origin Ethan Bethune

The Rising

Careful the way

You walk in a room

You know everyone is always looking at you ‘

Careful

The clothes you wear

The words you say

You’re damned if you don’t

Damned if you do

And I can’t think

Of a single law on the books

To tell me

A man what to do with my body

So it’s easy for me

To go after the things I like

I wonder

Why

We attack the women in our lives

And make them feel like a red lined test

A book report that failed

I want her to feel like more

I want her to feel open

I want her to feel strong

It was her independence that made me fall in love

Why would I want her to change now?

I’ve lost track of how far we’ve come

But

I know there’s a silence

Men everywhere

and she’s thinking

Is he with me just for my body?

The comfort my skin allows?

And we try

But no matter what we decide

There’s 25 men out there deciding for me

This is about our privacy

Our ability to plan out our lives

May she feel my arms around her

May she feel safe here tonight

The sky is black

The air is cold

She’s damned if she does

She’s damned if she don’t

Come on up tonight

Come on

We are here

We are one

Donate to the yellowhammer fund here

ACLU of Alabama

Planned parenthood

Post card from desolation road (it’s all over now)

She called me late

rain

Settled in her hair

The cool cool air

chilled me inside

my bones

And I kept thinking

About the ocean blue

Where the sun warmed our skin

but now

it’s all sold

And it’s so cold

we’re all so lonely now …

if it’s just the same to you…

And she was calm and she was cool

Her face was set

She lit another cigarette

Against the coming storm

You couldn’t help but think about all of the men

Who let this beast of burden in

The blatant loud disregard hung in the air like cigar

Filling old newspaper rooms

They’re empty now

Just like me

Just like you

You know we can’t go back

We’ve crossed all of these old bridges

We’re fighting ghosts

In our restless hands

She wrote me

And she didn’t know what to say

She only knew the way she felt

And

How everything has turned to grey

And there’s one too many full moons

In the sky tonight

Still

Here I am

My pen and my Gin

Thinking about how there

Was a time

A brief time

When we

Looked bright

In the springtime

But now

I think

We are destined

To be the lonely

Filling the empty

Shells of buildings

With dreams of a future

Foreclosed

On desolation road

That Golden Highway

Runs from here to the salt in the sea

Don’t look now

It’s turned to desolation road…

And all of our daughters

And all of our sisters

Woke up today

With less than they had yesterday

Better not think too much about it

Better not get too used to it

it’s just life on desolation road.

Photo by Ethan Bethune

Zelda

To all the summers

Waiting for the sunrise to touch the earth

The fields of open wheat

The blankets of lights beside the moon overhead

The late nights

Dreaming

Writing

Speaking

To all the women

Told they are too shrill

Too emotional

Or just how to misbehave

Remember

The lamps do not have to cease

Or go out

Alabama

Also gave you

Zelda Fitzgerald

She is one of our own

And you are enough

On your own

Remember Z

Read her

Carry her with you

Think of her

And

Stop apologizing

For taking up space

And existing

Start living.

Woman

Woman of the earth

She comes out in the full moonlight

inside of the quiet

Her feelings like fingers dip into a little bit

Of everything

She runs they say

with the wild things

Ten thousand miles

Under the eye of the giants

She’s dived into the mouth of the volcano

Woman of the earth

See her under the weight of

Their poetry

Their weather

Their religion

Tangled up in star signs

Her roots spread deep

What have we done for her lately?

Everything we give her

Comes with a receipt

We’ve got her

Tangled up

Tangled up

In a card

In a headline

On a stage

In a bit

Overreacting

Like strings on a puppet

Where is she now?

I keep looking

She’s a woman

She’s a woman

You can’t label,categorize,

She’s a woman

I loved a woman

Love a woman

She’s a woman

And she’s damned if she doesn’t

She’s damned if she does

Woman of the earth

She runs

With the wild things

She rises with the moon

But what…

What have we done for you lately?

Letters to a Nurse 19

It’s light here

This space

We’ve made together

It’s light here

Our backs against the weather

what we have

We’ve made

Against the winter

Against the night

This space

Just for us….

Adulthood may be dark

The future of our discontent

But right here

At home

Right in the now

This moment

Today

the ingredients

For all our tomorrows

Quickly becoming yesterday

It’s light

With you

It’s always light

In mid November

Leaves on the ground

Overcast

gray sun

First frost

It’s warm

It’s light

It’s Home

-Regardingsamuel.com

Ethan Bethune

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.

We’re still here

We are living among ghosts

Standing shoulder to shoulder 

Touched by their light 

At the far reaches of the universe 

There are stars sending us light 

By the time this light reaches us 

Their stars have long since, died

But their light goes before them

And there are galaxies 

That have lived for billions of years 

Watching as we evolve 

If you measure the expanse of their light…by 6500 years…it doesn’t add up…you would extinguish space…

You are light 

You are love 

Don’t let someone’s small mind 

Extinguish who-what-you are.

Don’t let them shut the windows and the light out of your house.

This weekend 

Seven continents marched 

Hold your head up high 

Hundreds of thousands of women and men 

Stand with you 

You are on the right side of history 

And laugh it off 

If you can 

A lot of these 

Who don’t understand 

Are all about going back to an original intent 

The 50s 

But hell 

They still believe the earth is flat so why stop there

Just go all the way to the 1650s 

And they might not be able to tell a lie

But they have blank binders full of alternative facts…

And they are here to protect you from hoaxes 

Such as the EPA and Climate Change and The Globe Earth

Cry it off if you can 

Why are we marching ? 

Because you’ve only been able to vote for half a century 

And you are not protected by our constitution 

One executive order 

One mandate 

And you would lose your right to vote 

You would become once again 

Property

Because ten white men shouldn’t be able to alter your health care 

Because women’s rights are human rights 

And they can believe whatever they want 

But to look at someone else 

And pass laws against them 

Because they don’t believe the same 

That’s why we march 

keep walking forward
You are not 

An item on an agenda 

A helpmate 

Or less

You are a woman 

You are your own 

Seven continents stand with you 

History stands with you 

I stand with you. 

And we’re still here.

-Regardingsamel.com 

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 

The Mexican ( and other stories)

1

So I’m pretty sure my Dog is a racist. Either that or he has been watching far too much Fox News or Facebook. Gosh dang it, he’s probably a Republican too. 

If you’re new here. Understand. I live in the south. You know, the ones offended by all the things. 

I’m only writing to help you escape. It’s ok to laugh. Anything else gives you cancer. Or something worse,hemorrhoids. And neither of those are good for your sex life…Always feeling like you have to go to the bathroom. Nauseous from your chemo. It’s just really difficult to stay in the moment. Or so I’m told. 

Hey, if you live long enough. You don’t have to have sex anyway. You’re back to just living for Saturday cartoons. But you’re older now, so you call them Fox News and Republicans. Or just those people on Facebook. 

See what I did there?

Anyway, my dog. 

The fierce protector. 

I was letting him use the bathroom and it was late at night. A little bit of rain going on. He always has to go in the tall tall grass where no one can see that he too has to take a dump. He always pops his head up so he can see that I’m still there though. Because, he’s a fierce protector. 

His bark is scary. I’ve learned this from all the barking moments at 2am. And he’s a fierce protector, because he stays under the blankets while barking. Never having actually left the bed. 

But the racism was new to me. 

It was dark and raining. And he was in the grass doing his thing. 

And I looked over and saw this Hispanic walking up with a hoodie (you see where this is going) and he had his ear buds in listening to his tunes. And I thought, oh Crap. 

Simon’s head pops up looking for me. And he sees this guy walk right passed us…and tears out of the grass, razor back fur… Barking and whaling…

The guy just freezes mid walk.

And our fierce protector runs…not towards this guy. But passed him. And straight for the apartment. Screaming like “Mexican. Hoodie!! Run!!! Dad run!!”

I’m standing  there just staring. The guy shrugs his shoulders and actually shakes his head because my dog is too chicken and afraid of the dark to actually do anything. He starts walking again. And Simon looks over his shoulder, realizes I’m not panicking like him. And skids against the door circles around and runs back,still howling. 

I was so mad. I mean thanks for all the protection,bud. 

2

I’m going to be 27 this year. I actually remember the first time I used the Google. I was so amazed. I just sat there and tried to think of what to search for. So I typed in cars. And then I was at a friend’s house and he accidentally showed me porn hidden in his minimized screen and I never searched for anything else again.

No. 

I actually continued thinking of things throughout the week to search for at the library. Because one, I was that kid and two we didn’t have the Internet. 

Yeah, Cell phones  were flip phones with green screens. And Facebook wasn’t here yet. And when it did hit, man, only college kids could use it . And they changed that…and then they had that clever “what’s on your mind or how are you feeling? ” And everyone had some funny status just hanging like a banner at the top of their page.

“Nothing” 

This showed how smart we were. And China and Japan how comfortable we were with computers. 

But it’s amazing how much it’s grown.Have you seen people’s status’ this year?? 

I wish I could see some more  witty and emboldened “nothing Facebook stop asking.” 

 I’ve always written and even built this site from my phone. 

It was difficult and I was sometimes encouraged by the champagne. 

Tumblr was an event . Before it was cool, whilst it was cool and had its secret code language like wind talkers to tell people you were on there. And then it faded a bit. 

I was homeschooled,man. 

But with social media like that ?

You met cool kids all over the world. 

And even the tamest coolest and lamest got scared and worried or infuriated about the same things as you. 

And everyone all over the world got super horny  and weird every Friday. Everyone. And then tumblr was like, ” we should probably  add some firewalls or something” But the cool thing was , everyone voiced and debated and it was safe. So you learned and you were like “holy shit this rape thing is a big problem. Gays should be able to just get married. We should talk about this.” 

And then you walked outside and remembered you lived in America and we’re still uncomfortable with the fact that women masturbate and enjoy sex …we use it to sell things  but we will not talk about it. Pass laws,yes, take away birth control, hell to the yeah, I mean everyone thought that if it was rape the body just shut that down. Or …that it was ok because you were there. And if you show up?? You had to be ok with it. Or whatever happens in a marriage bed is ok. 

By everyone I mean, all the men. 

No one really said 

Hey, if she isn’t having fun. It’s not ok. 

Or if she isn’t in the mood, it’s not ok. 

Or if she changes her mind, It’s not ok. 

Or hey,it’s actually not supposed to hurt your first time. If it does, they’re going too fast and need to slow down until you’re really turned on. 

We’ve come a long way 

And I feel incredibly old 

And now 

That I’m older and funnier 

And actually cool 

My wife has reminded me…. Another perspective 

We still need to be talking about things. 

About what we like. About our expectations when we get older. About the fact that when I walk our racist hilarious dog. I’m just walking a dog and people wave. 

When she walks him,she has to wear earbuds and music so she doesn’t hear the dumbasses cat calling and blowing their horns. 

And we’re taught to expect this. 

A lot of rapes are happening inside marriages.

and that’s not ok. These are things that are not ok. And we should just keep our hands off women’s rights already. We will never as men understand their walk. Not fully. We should protect and fight for and beside them if anything. But leave their healthcare alone. And their rights alone. 

Moving on 

My dog is still afraid of milk bones. He also loves butterflies…and smelling flowers. Dirty Dancing and Gilmore Girls. 

But he did throw up on a brand new rug…so there’s that.  

And we’re working on the racist thing.