Sunday 31 July 2016

Many women are afraid of not protecting or disguising the sins of their oppressors.

This is for men: The truth will set you free.

This is for women: The truth may also kill you.

Friday 29 July 2016

For women, pretending to not be experts (so as to leave everybody else's egos undented) has oftentimes brought more love than being true to what we know. That is dangerous stuff.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Wednesday 27 July 2016

I believe the key to peace is honor. As of now I don't know how to explain it, promote it, implement it, or even properly argue for it. I will keep working on it of course.

Tuesday 26 July 2016

The difference between men and women is, when women get sentimental, no one gets hurt.

Monday 25 July 2016

How many men hide their football versus women hiding their romances? My inner unicorn once made me write the following story:


When the unicorn found a romance novel, open to page 243 already, on the sofa of one of its favorite women, it felt tenderness toward the woman, but also a little sorry that the woman had to stoop so low. And it wasn’t even a lesbian romance!
Until one rainy day the unicorn read a romance itself and ate the requisite chocolate bonbons while the flames of the fireplace cast their seductive shadows.  The unicorn cried passionately throughout the last two pages, though it had a sneaking suspicion that the romance it was reading wasn’t even particularly good.
Next day the unicorn confided in its English professor, an open-minded sporty young man who, the unicorn believed, would be inspired by its insights.
“I felt so much I never get to feel in my comparatively seedy and grainy life,” said the unicorn. “And it wasn’t even a unicorn romance!”
“The only problem with romance novels is that they are all the same,” said the professor.
“Which makes them sort of like football games, doesn’t it?” mused the inspired unicorn. “The only difference is in the detail.”

The unicorn was astonished when it flunked the course.
(from The Unicorn And . . ., Lulu 2008)

Sunday 24 July 2016

Through education women have learned to identify with men for the last five thousand years or so; now perhaps it is time for spending the next five thousands years teaching men to identify with women.

And we might just become human in the process. 

Saturday 23 July 2016

During a radio interview yesterday I was reminded of this scenario: February 2000. Girl Power Day in Denver. I taught swing in a high school venue to a group of 40 or 50 girls--might have been more. I don't remember. We had the time of our lives--jiving, gyrating, high spirits. At some point an electrician came in, a man, just innocently doing his job, fixing something on the ceiling. The energy changed radically. Self-consciousness? A wish to impress? I don't know. I really don't. All I know is that it happened. After he left, the energy we had before never returned--not for lack of trying to revive the spirit from before. Things were just a bit flatter. I was reminded, too, of the late philosopher/theologian Mary Daly refusing to teach men in her classes--privately yes, but not in her classes. She was even sued over this as I recall. Did she feel a similar energy change? What will have to happen so the entrance of a man into a woman's energy field--or into the energy field of a group of women--does not change the energy irrevocably?

Friday 22 July 2016

When men made me feel intellectually inferior, for the longest time I felt I had to keep proving myself, and I could, in a way; but when you are out of your true nature, proving something, then it is difficult to feel at home in this world. 

Thursday 21 July 2016

I'm always trying to balance the desire to not want to complain about this beautiful world and show my gratitude for being part of this amazing show. Who knows, maybe gratitude is partly to clean up a world that was meant to be mysterious and magnificent. Maybe gratitude means not just eating the meal and doing the dishes, but also identifying and taking out the trash.

Wednesday 20 July 2016

Happy Sentiments Day! On July 20, 1848, 68 women and 32 men signed the Declaration of Sentiments at the Seneca Falls Woman's Rights Convention. I've copied the text below, together with the resolutions of July 19, 1948 and a link to further information. For quite a while, the declaration was only referred to as the Seneca Falls Declaration because we were once again shamed into distancing ourselves from all sentiment in the service of respectability (see, for example, my highlight in the text below). But now it can be found under its true name again. We've come a good long way, and have a good long way to go still. Bon voyage!


Declaration of Sentiments.

[signed July 20, 1848, by 68 women and 32 men at the Seneca Falls Woman's Rights Convention]
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.
The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.
He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.
He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men—both natives and foreigners.
Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.
He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.
He has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master—the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement.
He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce; in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given; as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of women—the law, in all cases, going upon the false supposition of the supremacy of man, and giving all power into his hands.
After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it.
He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration.
He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction, which he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known.
He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education—all colleges being closed against her.6
He allows her in Church as well as State, but a subordinate position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the Church.
He has created a false public sentiment, by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated but deemed of little account in man.
He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and her God.
He has endeavored, in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.
Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation,—in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of these United States.
In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and national Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf.We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country.
Firmly relying upon the final triumph of the Right and the True, we do this day affix our signatures to this declaration.

Report of the Woman's Rights Convention, Held at Seneca Falls, N.Y., July 19th and 20th, 1848 (Rochester, 1848).

July 19 resolutions:

Whereas, the great precept of nature is conceded to be, "that man shall pursue his own true and substantial happiness," Blackstone, in his Commentaries, remarks, that this law of Nature being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other.  It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this, and such of them as are valid, derive all their force, and all their validity, and all their authority, mediately and immediately, from this original; Therefore,
Resolved, That such laws as conflict, in any way, with the true and substantial happiness of woman, are contrary to the great precept of nature, and of no validity; for this is "superior in obligation to any other.
Resolved, That all laws which prevent woman from occupying such a station in society as her conscience shall dictate, or which place her in a position inferior to that of man, are contrary to the great precept of nature, and therefore of no force or authority.
Resolved, That woman is man's equal—was intended to be so by the Creator, and the highest good of the race demands that she should be recognized as such.
Resolved, That the women of this country ought to be enlightened in regard to the laws under which they -live, that they may no longer publish their degradation, by declaring themselves satisfied with their present position, nor their ignorance, by asserting that they have all the rights they want.
Resolved, That inasmuch as man, while claiming for himself intellectual superiority, does accord to woman moral superiority, it is pre-eminently his duty to encourage her to speak, and teach, as she has an opportunity, in all religious assemblies.
Resolved, That the same amount of virtue, delicacy, and refinement of behavior, that is required of woman in the social state, should also be required of man, and the same transgressions should be visited with equal severity on both man and woman.
Resolved, That the objection of indelicacy and impropriety, which is so often brought against woman when she addresses a public audience, comes with a very ill grace from those who encourage, by their attendance, her appearance on the stage, in the concert, or in the feats of the circus.
Resolved, That woman has too long rested satisfied in the circumscribed limits which corrupt customs and a perverted application of the Scriptures have marked out for her, and that it is time she should move in the enlarged sphere which her great Creator has assigned her.
Resolved, That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.
Resolved, That the equality of human rights results necessarily from the fact of the identity of the race in capabilities and responsibilities.
Resolved, therefore, That, being invested by the Creator with the same capabilities, and the same consciousness of responsibility for their exercise, it is demonstrably the right and duty of woman, equally with man, to promote every righteous cause, by every righteous means; and especially in regard to the great subjects of morals and religion, it is self-evidently her right to participate with her brother in teaching them, both in private and in public, by writing and by speaking, by any instrumentalities proper to be used, and in any assemblies proper to be held; and this being a self-evident truth, growing out of the divinely implanted principles of human nature, any custom or authority adverse to it, whether modern or wearing the hoary sanction of antiquity, is to be regarded as self-evident falsehood, and at war with the interests of mankind. 

Tuesday 19 July 2016

It rained last last. First good rain this summer. It may rain again tonight. Yay!

Monday 18 July 2016

My esteemed professor of poetry (who also taught an excellent course on American War literature) explained some forty years ago that God created sex so that men would learn to fall in love with women. I've always suspected that something must have gone awry. Yesterday my husband explained: the thing that went wrong was that men fell in love with sex instead. 

Sunday 17 July 2016

Thought of the flowers today, how they're possibly the highest living organisms—they live on sunlight, water, and minerals.  They don't have to kill to live.  

Friday 15 July 2016

Too much has been lost in the name of competing with others for things we don't even want.

Thursday 14 July 2016

Apollo versus Dionysus. Reason versus emotion. I can't get out of my mind how Apollo, the god of reason (and poetry, for that matter) was ready to rape a naiad, Daphne, while Dionysus, the god of emotion, never came close to wanting to rape anyone. I tried to write about this, but without much luck or satisfaction. Maybe somebody else will at some point.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

I think one of the things our human race needs most is honor. We've not done very well in that department, and we've suffered for it. Here then is my draft of the Thirteen Commandments.


On the top of the mountain these were carved
into the tender granite of my soul:

1          Know that life is a gift, not a duty. Honor it. And celebrate.

2          Honor yourself.

3          Honor your tenderness.

4          Honor your exuberance.

5          Honor your spirit of enthusiasm.

6          Honor your ancestors.

7          Honor your children. This is very important.

8          Honor your love and your lovers.

9          Honor your planet and all creatures and elements that share it.

10        Honor your hunger and desire.

11        Stop war.

12        Honor your beauty and your breath.

13        Live deeply.

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Doing some research, I came across a book I once loved passionately, and as soon as I opened it, the magic came spilling out again. It is Susan Griffin's Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her. Wow. I wish I had written it, and I am profoundly grateful somebody did.

Monday 11 July 2016

Can you imagine Walt Whitman being groped on the subway and then continuing his majestic praise of our beautiful world without losing momentum? I can't. And yet, I know powerful women writers who have to go through that scenario in one way or another repeatedly, including then having to listen to the inner demons mocking with insinuations of insignificance, while the sordidness of it all puts a lid on the beauty of the world for us.

Here is what writer and editor Lisa Marie Basile (Luna, Luna and other literary venues) posted on Facebook today, re-posted here with her permission:

I'm on a relatively empty L train from Brooklyn at 11pm wearing a semi "provocative" outfit (not really, if you're a human). Some men come in and stare at me. I put my head down, feel an immediate blend of shame, fear, rage and disgust. After two minutes a man comes and slides his hand up my thigh and sits next to me.
I immediately move and go down the car. The 7 or so other men say nothing, and I don't know if anyone saw. No one reacts. I'm the only girl in the car.
The guy who touched me moved down to me, at the next stop I change cars and he follows. I stand near a group. He gets off.
Every time - every fucking time - I think I should have an editor-of-luna-luna-radical-feminist response.
I think my Italian rage will come out and I will make him pay. But it doesn't, I just shrink and shrink and feel mostly bad that I left the house with my tits on display or my makeup done, internalizing the slut-gets-what-she-asks-for reaction.
There is a lot in this world to feel bad about. The black community is reeling, dying, and the world is a shitstorm of colonialist values and oil-stealing and rape and massacre at the hands of those who should be protecting us.
So I feel bad for even thinking that this issue is a REAL issue and then I feel bad that I feel bad. And I feel bad that, as a person of relative influence and privilege (insofar as education and platform is concerned) I can't get my shit together enough to deal with the feelings of shame and dirtiness that rise when a nasty fucker touches ME without my consent IN A PUBLIC PLACE because they have enough power to do so.
As an educated woman who has a community of educated, compassionate, beautiful and powerful people at my disposal to learn from and talk to, I feel somewhat like a failure - that I can take an entire decade to go from an ignorant humanist to a dedicated feminist with the vocabulary and passion to dialogue with others... And still be reduced to a victim, a mess on a public train platform where I watch other women be handled and watched and followed and where I am a weakling who walks away and has no control over the shithead who thrust his hands up my legs.
Why can't I just come up with the appropriate internal responses to this?
Why, even with this knowledge and understanding of sexism and power dynamic, I am that woman who can't even muster the self-love not to self-blame?
Think of all the others who endure this every day. Think of all the power structures that exist that don't give women the ability to even question the assault they face daily. And here I am complaining (or what is it, really?) and being THAT typical victim.
I hate being a victim. I feel whiny, repetitious. Ugh. I was a victim of sexual assault when I was a young girl. I endured a lengthy psychological trial and legal proceedings that ultimately did not pass in my favor or in the favor of the other girls that were assaulted by the pedophile pervert who took advantage of us.
I don't want to be a statistic. It makes me feel dirty (obviously terrible) but the reality is that they're the dirty ones. They're the sick ones.
But the fact that I wrote this - and that I talk to women very often as an editor and friend - shows that we will win.
We won't be silent -- and everyone who physically asserts themselves when they have no permission, whether it's rape or an ass-grab on the street - will face the sound of us saying "no more." I don't care if it doesn't happen until I'm dead. It will one day.
Even if it takes some internally unhealthy bullshit to get there.

Sunday 10 July 2016

"No" is one of the hardest things to master. Especially for a woman. Especially after the experimental self-assertion of age two of toddler existence.

Who wouldn't want to be pleasing? Who wouldn't want to say yes to every bit of teeming life in this world?

And yet in order to embrace the world with sustainable energy and enthusiasm, a lot of dead skin has to be sloughed off.

Here is a poem I wrote on the subject:


Let me acknowledge this darkness, its pain and its fears.

Let me report what I have seen in this world I have chosen to love.

Let me say this:

no to the woman with the bandaged gash on her forehead serving her husband at the dinner table

no to the woman kneeling in her pew in her best Sunday hat in preparation for being insulted from the pulpit

no to the woman with daintily crossed ankles waiting for someone, anyone, to ask her to dance

no to the woman doctor refusing to prescribe birth control unless the girl’s pious parents sign for it

no to male egos that love to be coddled by women’s love and then despise the lovers for loving

no to greedy women who make it even more difficult for the rest of us

no to genital mutilations, physical and emotional

no to the stranglehold on all of our desires

no to prurient Lolita worship

no to good-natured Molly Bloom contempt

no to everything that forces us to choose between prudery and promiscuity

no to women who refuse to be feminists, even though that includes beauties like Doris Lessing and Mary Oliver, whom I love

no to the concept of post-feminism—it isn’t over until beauty sings

no to a mother being expected to suffer and then smile anyway

no to people who want us to smile and get over it rather than reporting our pain

no to the teenage brother whose ears turn pink at his sister’s first period

no to embarrassment

no to an orthodox Jewish men’s prayer that thanks god for not having created them women

no to the newly married woman who gives up teaching because her husband’s religion forbids that any woman should teach any male, even a little boy in pre-school ballet

no to the anger that half of the human race is so accepting of the status quo that would make me and mine be his servants in hell rather than having an equal in heaven

no to women dwindling upon marriage out of kindness

no to women earning jewels and mansions and political office by cajoling the status quo

no to giving less importance to preparing a woman for childbirth than to preparing men for killing other mother’s children

no to the discomfort of having to say no

no to the religions of nothingness, nirvana, the next life, this life nailed to the cross or being dismissed as illusion

I am not an illusion and my day is dawning. I will praise it and the beauty I will find.

Friday 8 July 2016

"Freedom to love" is a phrase that echoed in my mind all day long. Maybe I'll end up writing poems about it. Maybe I'll just enjoy the concept, and the hope that it might loosen the shackles of intellectual respectability and responsibility that I have tried to honor for so long (too long?) until I can slip out of them entirely. Then I might go and play with the fairies in the forests or the lizards in the woods and rekindle my first love for all things beautiful.

Thursday 7 July 2016

"The truth will set you free." - I want us to work on building a world in which neither truth nor freedom are painful.

Wednesday 6 July 2016

This morning was so beautiful, it made my heart ache. Summer days are whispering by. You have to listen so carefully to even hear them before they are gone. I am in love with summer and the sun's scent on wood and earth.

Tuesday 5 July 2016

"Did you ever have a significant man in your life who never belittled you?" my husband asked at the civil conclusion of an argument. I realized that I had not and that I had never asked (or answered) the question. Father, brothers, teachers, boyfriends, lovers, husbands, bosses, and every other significant man in my life, had at some time or other (and more often than not) felt superior to me and treated me with condescension in one form or another. Whether benevolent or malevolent, being treated with condescension of any kind is a heavy cloud to live under day in and day out and year after year, no matter what. I can honestly say that I hope with all my heart that at least I am the only woman in this beautiful world who is experiencing this seemingly permanent cloud of condescension. I fear, however, that I am not. I hope I and every other woman who is in this predicament will find a way out of this astonishing pit of undeserved awkwardness. Let words and compassion be our ladders out of this.

Sunday 3 July 2016

Nothing has to be done,
but if you do it, do it with love,

do it with joy.

                       From Kuan Yin: Flowers for Change

Saturday 2 July 2016

I think of all the children who are filled with somersault energy: "Look out, world, here I come." 

I wish such shameless exuberance for all of us. 

Friday 1 July 2016

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.  And on a quiet day, if you really listen, you can hear her breathing."   -- Arundhati Roy