NaPoWriMo 5/30 Radical Cheers for Radical Consent

Cheering for Consent

from a great late night conversation with my coworker Grace Gordon, who is working on a presentation for a conference on Radical Consent. After that conversation, I dreamed of writing cheers for consent…

She didn’t say yes?
Then it’s rape!
Too afraid to say no?
Then it’s rape!
Too drunk to say yes?
Then it’s rape!
C-O-N-S-E-N-T
Consent!
Consent!
Consent!

Ask consent!
Get consent!
Check consent!
Fuck!

C-O-N-S-E-N-T
it’s the only true way to be SEXY!

At a party high and drunk
now she says Rape – who’d a thunk?
Well, you claim, she didn’t say no.
But if she couldn’t say yes off to jail you go!

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Next up at #poetrylive – Laura Madeline Wiseman

Happening now at #poetrylive via @thisfrenzy is Queen of the Platform by Laura Madeline Wiseman from Anaphora Literary Press. I first met Madeline at a Split This Rock workshop she ran which gave me starts on 3 different poems. Then two sections of my long piece “Wanting a Gun” were accepted for her amazing anthology Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence. And now I have her newest chapbooks in my happy fan hands and wow, I’m full in from the first poem.

Follow along as I read, sharing lines and images and poems that move me, startle me, shake me up!

Wiseman - Cover - 9781937536541.indd

From the cover copy:

These poems are based on the life of Laura Madeline Wiseman’s great-great-great-grandmother, the nineteenth century lecturer, suffragist, and poet, Matilda Fletcher Wiseman (1842-1909) and the men in her life: her brother, George W. Felts (1843-1921), a civil war solider who was later charged with murder, her first husband, John A. Fletcher (1837-1875), a school teacher and a lawyer, and her second husband, William Albert Wiseman (1850-1911), a minister who became her agent. Like her seven brothers who served in the Civil War, Matilda chose the public sphere. After the death of her only child, Matilda joined the lecture circuit. She spoke to support herself and her first husband, until his death. On the stage she spoke among other lecturers of her time, such as Susan B. Anthony.

to take responsibility for a state of affairs

from lesbian-feminist philosopher Joyce Trebilcot’schapbook 1983 chapbook “Taking Responsibility for Sexuality”

Notice first that to take responsibility for a state of affairs is not to claim responsibility for having caused it. So, for example, if I take responsibility for cleaning up the kitchen I am not thereby admitting to any role in creating the mess; the state of the kitchen may be the consequence of actions quite independent of me.

Similarly, in taking responsibility for her sexuality, a woman is not thereby claiming responsibility for what her sexuality has been, but only for what it is now and in the future.

responsibility

Joyce Trebilcot

The most diffi…

Quote

The most difficult of all things, the only difficult thing perhaps, is to enfranchise oneself and – even harder – to live in freedom.

Anyone who is in the least free is the enemy of the mob, to be systematically persecuted, tracked down wherever she takes refuge.

I am becoming more and more irritated against this life and the people who refuse to allow any exception to exist and who accept their own slavery and try to impose it on others.

Isabelle Eberhardt, 1902

Isabelle Eberhardt (17 February 1877 – 21 October 1904) was an explorer and writer who lived and travelled extensively in North Africa. For her time she was a liberated individual who rejected conventional European morality in favour of her own path and that of Islam. She died in a flash flood in the desert at the age of 27.

To All of the Middle-class White Christian Women

To All of the Middle-class White Christian Women
Who Occasionally Consider Your Privilege:

Now you’re talkin about
owning your racism
and owning your classism
and owning your anti-Semitism
and owning your lesbophobia
and I’m supposed to be impressed

and the question I’ve got for you
is just how you plan
to pay for all this stuff you’re owning?
will you use your checking plus account
or cash in a CD
or get the money from daddy
or put it on your VISA?

and what happens
when all of this stuff you’re owning
gets a little old
and out of fashion?
what happens when you go to find something
new and improved
something that works easier
for you?
What then?
You just gonna pitch this stuff?
or you gonna try to sell it
back to us
packaged as our own desire
and try to make a profit for yourselves
in the process?

found in file, undated, probably from 1989 or 1990

A poem for Good Friday

A poem for Good Friday, from Shez, a Jewish Israeli lesbian-feminist poet and one-time punk rocker. The translation is my own.

Only I know what’s in Jesus’ underwear
I was with him just yesterday—
on his last night—
I didn’t laugh
I wasn’t surprised when
I lowered his underwear
I sucked I licked I slid in, pushing
I blew hard I breathed deep and
all shook up I shouted:
“Woman! Bestow upon me your beauty
your compassion, your grace
Dowse me in your passion
your tenderness, your womb”

Women Write Resistance is Out!

Two sections of my long poem “Wanting A Gun” are included in the new anthology Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence

Women Write Resistance

Women Write Resistance

Readings by local authors from the anthology are springing up all across the country—stay tuned for information about upcoming events in Philadelphia!

Meanwhile, you watch a clip of poet Barbara Salvatone reading the two sections of “Wanting a Gun” here:

Watch a Poem Grow! February 2013 “another day another woman’s body”

Draft 2

Another day, another woman’s body found
bound, it’s reported, and strangled and set ablaze.

Bound, it’s reported, sharpening the gruesome details
with every repetition, adding next the rope around the neck

and after the rope around the neck the report that
the body was still smoldering when the dog walker found it.

The body, the it, that the dog walker found while looking for
the woman, the woman who had had a life,

the woman who had had a life and a dog, and a dog walker
whose own life will never be the same

for whose life could be the same after going to meet a woman
and finding a body strangled and bound and burned?

Switch gears—whose life could be the same after going to meet a woman
and leaving behind a body strangled and bound and burned?

He strangled her, he reported, and then bound her body
and set it ablaze but he didn’t mean to he just snapped.

Watch a Poem Grow! February 2013 “another day another woman’s body”

Draft 1

Another day, another woman’s body found
bound, they report, and strangled and set ablaze.

Bound, they report, sharpening the gruesome details
with every repetition, adding the rope around the neck

and with the rope around the neck they add
that the body was still smoldering when the dogwalker found it.

The body, the it, that the dogwalker found while looking for
the woman, the woman who had had a life,

the woman who had had a life and a dog, and a dogwalker
whose own life will never be the same

for whose life could be the same after going to look for a woman
and finding a body strangled and bound and burned?

Strangled, bound, burned—how the pornography of violence
substitutes the description of the body for the depth of the life,

how the details of the body’s death become more glamorous than the life,
how the news staff knows the ratings will spike with certain lead-ins,

how certainly the lead-in body bound ablaze stay tuned will spike
interest in seeing what pictures might follow. Admit it, aren’t you curious?

Curious, how we learned to want to see the pictures, how after the camera
came along we learned to require photographic evidence of our bodies

December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012
Elliott batTzedek

How hard is it not to shoot a child?
How hard to raise up children who will not shoot
children? How hard not to sell exploding bullets and
assault rifles and video-game infomercials? How hard
not to pay for care for the lost and the broken and the crazy before
the SWAT teams and the counselors are called?

Easy, easy, so much easier
than blood that can never be cleared from a classroom, than
knowing “point-blank range” means children saw
his face and knew the hard stone bullets were coming.

A senior in high school when Lennon’s glasses were shattered,
my life since has seen murder after mass murder,
most with masculinity in common,
most with the un-mentionable race,
most with mental illness, too.

But all with guns and guns and guns and guns
and guns and guns and guns.