Through the Open Window

Whatever happens, we need to rise and make sure the window that has been opened never closes again. Eve Ensler, Oct 5, 2018

Today the world is seeing
through the open window
what was always there,
blurred by such a dirty pane.

Daddies proclaiming to daughters:
“I know my rights.”
Daddies grabbing daughters—
tickling under their shirts while they scream.
After the bath, Daddies flapping the towel,
looking them over with ownership.
Daddies teaching daughters
they belong to him.
Grabbing daughters’ girlfriends
invited to stay for supper,
giving sudden kisses. Teaching how his rights
extend to any girl or woman of his choosing.
Small men, shouting it,
“I know my rights.”
He knew his rights but she
had never heard tell of hers.

Today the world is seeing,
through the open window,
what was there but blurred.

Dates that become rape, but never labeled that,
Daddy’s rights extended to another man.
Children born of rape, guarded from ever knowing,
children told a fairy tale of romance
that the now-numbed, grown-up daughter
for decades, made herself believe.
He knew his rights, but she
had never heard tell of hers.

Today the world is seeing,
through the open window,
what was there but blurred.

Daddies parading about with bathrobes open,
emperor-kings of their pursestring castles,
laughable to sons but not to daughters,
teaching both, who has rights to whom.
Daughters’ sense of self annihilated
before it ever has a chance to grow.
Daughters taught unworthiness
in a million tiny ways.
Daughters like me and you
who learned to compress our presence,
to be wary and cautious, constrict who we were.
He knew his rights but I
had never heard tell of mine.

Today the world is seeing,
through the open window,
what was there but blurred.
Now we keep the window open.

©Susa Silvermarie 2018

Legion of Elevator Women

Look at me, we say in the faces
of those who deny our stories.
I’m talking to you, look at me,
I’m right here, look at me.
I’m your daughter. I’m your sister
I’m your mother, I’m your spouse.
I’m telling you my story, look at me!

Telling what happened
brings it up in the body
the body that was violated,
like shifting tectonic plates
bring up a quake in the earth.
Telling our stories is the labor
that brings to light and birth
a new country, a new earth.

Look at me, we say in the faces
of those who deny our stories:
I’m talking to you, look at me,
I’m right here, look at me.
I’m your daughter. I’m your sister
I’m your mother, I’m your spouse.
I’m telling you my story, look at me!

Telling takes everything we have.
Changing shame into courage
wrings out the body like a rag.
We shake with rage
which must be faced and told
but can’t be allowed to stay
in our body to damage us further.
Squeeze it out, press it out,
in company you trust.
Extract the venom of acts
that never belonged to you.
Expel the shame, apply the poultice:
pride in survival, love of self.

Look at me, we say in the faces
of those who deny our stories:
I’m talking to you, look at me,
I’m right here, look at me.
I’m your daughter. I’m your sister
I’m your mother, I’m your spouse.
I’m telling you my story, look at me.

Re-aligned and upright,
integrity reclaimed,
we shine our light on what has been invisible.
We name the rape jokes and catcalls,
the unwanted touch,
the flashing and blaming and stalking,
the nonconsensual photos,
the groping and coercion and violations,
the stealthing, drugging, and molestations–
We name it the culture of rape
founded on misogyny.
Women telling our truth
changes the global paradigm.
We cast
rape culture out!

                  ©Susa Silvermarie 2018

Offered with thanks to Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher for confronting the Congressman in the elevator on September 28, 2018, and for Archila’s statement afterwards: “I want all of us to become a legion of elevator women across the country.”

 

 

100 Thousand Poets for Peace

Yesterday I participated in 100, 000 Poets for Peace, performing three poems about waking up to our true size and capability for Peace. I have been asked to post my introduction, which follows. (Tomorrow I will post the poems.)

In these heartbreaking times, when we have to reach so very deep for compassion and resilience, it’s not a simple thing to get a handle on what peace can be. We know it isn’t passive, that we can’t meditate and leave it at that. Peace is active and its action starts with a rooting out of violence and war inside ourselves. I see peace as a weave of my own personal peace with yours. And yours, and yours and yours.  A weaving of our personal healings into a vibrant, collective tapestry, a cloth of justice and harmony spread across the planet.

It may sound like a mere poetic metaphor. But saying—we are all connected, the peace we each create affects the peace of the planet— is no longer only a lyrical mantra. There is scientific proof, everything IS connected. A butterfly fluttering in Morelia affects a windstorm in Asia. And my reconciliation with that friend I haven’t spoken to in ten years contributes to the peace of the planet in an actual way. If I work for peace with anger and judgment, I contribute, not peace, but anger and judgment. The way you and I react to things creates waves of energy that move outward precisely like the Butterfly Effect, influencing the people and the world around us in small and large ways.

We can follow politics and register as Citizens Abroad for our absentee ballots, but we need to be responsible in another way as well. It’s time to dismantle the coverups inside ourselves. If I want to work so the Wall doesn’t get built on the border, I need to face and tear down my own walls. I need to do my own Disarmament work, so that my energetic imprint contributes to peace. Everyhing IS connected, and working for peace starts with an inside job. To step up to that work, let’s wake up to our largest selves!

photographt by Susa Silvermarie
Ajijic photo by Susa

Hollow Bone

Breath moves through
the flute of me. What is
this lifeforce making music?
I open past my puny answers
to ask a wider flow.
For that, it whispers in my cells,
the bone you are
needs be hollowed further.

Carve me then, carve out
capacity for love to pour.
Expand my instrument to breathe
the world beyond my world.
Beside the melodies of love I’ve known,
alongside measures piping nature’s beauty,
let me breathe, as well, the notes of grief,
tones of suffering from war and hunger.
Let these together stream their patterns
inside the song breathed through me.

But let the stories fall away:
words of suffering and discord,
and tales of harmony and splendor, too.
Fling my tellings to the wind,
bury narratives in earth,
burn the tellings down to love!

When events are washed of all their stories.
and all I know through hollow bone is breathing,
then all that’s left is music.
All that’s left is music.

©Susa Silvermarie 2018