Venus of Willendorf vs. The Dinosaursby Dian Sousa
I am not the Venus of Willendorf. True,
I have resembled her—a time that still holds
its ample beauty. A time when—round as a small earth,
a full brown moon—I lived only to feed the stardust
seeding its bones inside me.
I said to those bones I will grow you.
With love, I said yes to bring my sons to the world.
I said to my body, now you may. Because
I was born in my body and I assumed it belonged to me
and because I had the privilege I said Yes.
Now is a good time. And that was the end of the conversation.
I did not ask the bronto-mano-saurus
on the corner praying in judgement.
(I do wonder though how judgement
can ever hold enough love to become a prayer?
And how, of course, these bronto-mano-sauruses are not extinct?)
I did not ask the HobbyLobby-saurus in the flag t-shirt,
waving an Old Testament if now would be a good time
for me to give birth. (To give implies freedom, yes?)
Also, how could the HobbyLobby-saurus
possibly know if I was ready? Did he have the history
of my health folded in his fanny pack?
A copy of my financial records tucked into his bible?
Did he hold a highlighted map of my history and circumstance?
I did not ask the governor of Texas or the legislature of Mississippi
or the Supreme Court. I asked only my body because it is mine.
And then I stopped asking because I am NOT the Venus of Willendorf.
No woman is. We are not Venuses. Not idols. Not even goddesses.
We are women of the 21st century grown deep,
grown rooted to our power (most of us)—despite
the screeching fascist-o-sauruses
who so violently want us to believe
the luminosity of the universe has sculpted us—but not them—
to live as they say we should live—which is barely.
How bleak. How brutal it has been
to stay where they put us.
To vote when they let us.
To be the gender they assign us.
To be the one color that makes them comfortable.
To be breed and be quiet.
To grow wise and be ignored.
I’ll say it once more like a horrible cheer
my life depends on.
I am not the Venus of Willendorf
with her with heavy belly
and pointed nubs where feet should be.
How will she run after the children?
How will she hold them
with her forgotten hands?
How will she sing to them with no mouth?
Who will help her?
Will you, my dear indoctrinated dinosaurs?
She doesn’t speak English.
I’ve never seen her with a man,
and I doubt she has a job.
No. Women are not Venuses of Willendorf.
But I do wonder Dinos, what will it take
to make you less predatory?
Will you beat your undemocratic
guns and bombs into plowshares
if we suture our eyes closed, unscrew our feet?
If we fill our mouths with mud
and bury all the words blooming there?
Shall we try yet again to swallow
your bitter laws, dilute our strength
until we become your very weird,
tiny idea of woman?
No. Never again Tyrantuses.
Take a look around. Count the women.
Look into our eyes. Up here.
Every single one of us holds the history of Woman.
From Lilith to Lucy. From Ocean to Earth.
We are the history of resilience incarnate.
No matter what you do, we will help each other
have our children when we choose. If we choose.
Or we will carry on just as we are
because we are enough.
World made in the image of Woman is an abundance.
But I do wish I could understand
why this truth makes you so crazy.
Crazy to the bone with three capital K’s
and a cancerous machismo to the marrow. Man,
you bellow and roar and sink your claws
into everything that is not you.
Oh go on you insurgent-o-sauruses!
Wag your tiki torches, iron your robes,
count your money, shriek your petrified hearts out—
you have such little time left. See?
You don’t see.
You do not see the comet
just behind the clouds.
It has a tail full of rainbow fire.
It makes its own music.
You cannot turn it down.
You cannot goose step to it.
You cannot crush it with a tank.
You cannot barricade yourselves
in Idaho and hide from it. See?
You do not see.
We are the comet and the ocean
and the tides and the earth.
We are stardust same as you
but your fear is blocking the light,
blocking the brilliant life we could all have together.
Right here. Right now!
Poor us. Poor Earth.
I will even say poor you.
Poor archaic you.
Pour yourselves a glass of your favorite,
industrial-ag, hormone-enhanced warm milk
and say your final goodnights,
you ghastly oligarch-o-sauruses.
And who knows—perhaps in 30 thousand years
someone will dig you back up.
Maybe by then you’ll be filled with a radiance
and you’ll remember how to share it—
or at the very least— perhaps
you will have grown some breasts
and come to your damn senses.
* * * * *
"Venus of Willendorf vs. The Dinosaurs" was written for the Women’s March SLO 2022. Here is a video link to the author's reading of the poem: https://youtu.be/nhuHRHnvdp0Dian Sousa is the reverend and head mother of The Center for Mystification and Delight. She offers her poems as anthems in the matrifocal revolution. She hopes they will help dismantle the heavy, ugly walls of patriarchy. She has written three books of poems and is at work on a fourth. Her most recent book is The Marvels Recorded In My Private Closet (Big Yes Press, 2014). She is a recipient of a 2019 Luso-American Fellowship to the DISQUIET: Dzanc Books International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal.