Sunday, 26 June 2022

Venus of Willendorf  vs. The Dinosaurs

by 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/nhuHRHnvdp0

Dian 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.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

 Writing In A Woman's Voice is currently on summer solstice break until Sunday, June 26, 2022. Happy solstice, summer or winter, to all of you. 

Saturday, 18 June 2022

 

If Herons Could Pray

by Cristina M. R. Norcross


I am free.
Every cell speaks of this.  
Even the wind knows how to reach me.
I see branches that sway and kiss the ground
like the blue heron in prayer.

This body—
this body
that houses equal weights
of wonder and fear,
does not yet know how to shed the morning paper,
the mirror's reflection,
the urgent messages left behind in sand.

I heard a wooden flute last night 
after several poets read verse
to celebrate the longest day.
With the flute's long, sustained notes,
the woods came closer to my blanket.
The sun slipped slowly behind marigold-tinted clouds.
The blue heron returned to pray.

He is waiting for me to stop for a longer rest—
for me to notice this freedom.


* * * * *

"If Herons Could Pray" was first published in The Lava Storyteller, Red Mare Press, 2013

 
Cristina M. R. Norcross is editor of Blue Heron Review, author of 9 poetry collections, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and an Eric Hoffer Book Award nominee. Her most recent collection is The Sound of a Collective Pulse (Kelsay Books, 2021). Cristina’s work appears in: Visual VerseYour Daily PoemVerse-VirtualThe Ekphrastic ReviewPirene’s Fountain, and others, as well as numerous anthologies. Cristina has helped organize community poetry projects, has hosted many readings and is co-founder of Random Acts of Poetry & Art Day. Cristina lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two sons. www.cristinanorcross.com



Friday, 17 June 2022

 

Reading from the Songbook of Self
(Inspired by Mary Cassatt’s painting, Woman Reading in a Garden*)

by Cristina M. R. Norcross


 
When I transferred schools,
moved up to Canada
and switched majors,
I discovered a garden within me.
I found Margaret Atwood,
Margaret Laurence,
Alice Munro.
Their words were blooms in my ears.
My world unfurled, opened up 
to these wordsmiths of the North.
My hands became green leaves,
new shoots of ideas reaching out,
sprouting, turning pages.
Mesmerized by Atwood’s characters surfacing,
entranced by Laurence’s divining rod of truth,
I, too, was coming to the surface,
finding my own words
in the rich soil of experience.
 
I scoured used bookstores,
sat in the reading nook of the library window,
scribbled found thoughts on the bench
near Parliament Hill,
found myself in cups of tea 
and blank notebooks,
took meditative walks 
through ocean waves of snow.
My quiet sanctuary was an 8-hour drive
from the life I once knew.
I was recreating the self, becoming,
one page at a time, one paragraph at a time.
Holding the knowledge of tomorrow
on my tongue like a salted caramel square,
I held the book of me 
close to my beating chest,
hearing music play,
as if for the very first time.


* * * * *

* Link to Mary Cassatt’s painting, Woman Reading in a Garden:
https://www.wikiart.org/en/mary-cassatt/woman-reading-in-a-garden-1880 
 
Cristina M. R. Norcross is editor of Blue Heron Review, author of 9 poetry collections, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and an Eric Hoffer Book Award nominee. Her most recent collection is The Sound of a Collective Pulse (Kelsay Books, 2021). Cristina’s work appears in: Visual VerseYour Daily PoemVerse-VirtualThe Ekphrastic ReviewPirene’s Fountain, and others, as well as numerous anthologies. Cristina has helped organize community poetry projects, has hosted many readings and is co-founder of Random Acts of Poetry & Art Day. Cristina lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two sons. www.cristinanorcross.com



Thursday, 16 June 2022

On telling my 13 year old grandson of the birth of his cousin

by Meg Campbell


Desmond arrived, I announce,
as Callum climbs into the front seat.
You’ll be 26 when he’s your age today.
You might not be here, Callum says.

When aged nine, Callum accompanied me
to receive an award etched in glass.
On the taxi ride home
he asked,
Can I have it when you die?
Take it now, I said.
Our gaze locked, our eyes moist.

Now driving, I insist,
13 + 68. It’s not that old.
He differs.
Graduating high school.  Probably not.
Or when Desmond’s 21.

That is the way now.
There are no crumbs to follow.
The birds have flown away
or to the highest branches
where I crane to see them
but cannot.
My eyes and joints
like a car in Havana
past her glory -
rusty but buffed.

Time, health too,
I add to my list.
I imagine how I will die.
Please not burned alive.
For all my morbid thoughts
I am happy.
Saw Baltimore orioles
at the feeder this summer.
Puffed chests of yellow.


* * * * *

Meg Campbell is the author of two collections of poetry, Solo Crossing and More Love (Midmarch Arts Press, NYC). 


Wednesday, 15 June 2022

 

This month, an additional Moon Prize, the 97th, goes to Lorri Ventura's poem "A Child's Dreams."  


A CHILD’S DREAMS

by Lorri Ventura


In her dreams she drives an ice cream truck
And hands free fudgsicles to all the children
She cures cancer
Ends wars
Reverses climate change
And speaks all languages fluently.
She spreads kernels of beauty and hope
Wherever she goes
The way Miss Rumphius blanketed the earth
With lupine seeds
Best of all
She lives in a house full of cats
That purr her to sleep at night
So that she can save the world


* * * * *

Lorri Ventura is a retired special education administrator living in Massachusetts. She is new to poetry-writing. Her poems have been featured in several anthologies, in Red Eft Journal, and in Quabbin Quills.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

This month, the 96th Moon Prize goes to Marjorie Maddox's poem "Ode to Everything."  


Ode to Everything     

by Marjorie Maddox
                                                                                   


Enough of the lamentations.
                        Open the window and sing!
            The world is awash with
world: color-dripping globe always
tilting into some
Ah! or another,
clouds stretching wide plump happiness,
            even in the noisy stage-show of showers,
            such sunny ovations.
                        And the birds—
overpopulating every poem—
swoop here for free—
swallow, hawk, robin, gull, eagle—what else
can be written but wings that wave
horizon to horizon?

And enough of windows.
                        Praise doors! Step out
            with arms open, and eyes gathering
            vim and vision: grandeur
trailing from worm and woodchuck,
branch puzzles of woods, open boat of breeze—
all brimming with
Hey!
            and
Hallelujah!
                        and
Celebrate! such green giving
of thanks, such miraculous mercy of earth:
calm valley and even this rugged, rocky chain
we climb now as family, claiming praise as respite,
holding close each breaking day, dangerous
                        yet divine in all
                        its gorgeous glory.


* * * * *

“Ode to Everything” was previously published in
Plough.

Professor of English at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 13 collections of poetry—including
Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); Begin with a Question (Paraclete), and Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For (Shanti Arts), an ekphrastic collaboration with photographer Karen Elias—What She Was Saying (stories, Fomite); 4 children’s and YA books—including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises (Finalist International Book Awards), I’m Feeling Blue, Too! (a 2021 NCTE Notable Poetry Book), and Rules of the Game. See www.marjoriemaddox.com