Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Religion, Women and the Patriarchy

So anyway, last night I wrote this paper for my Intro to Feminism class. I am so loving this course. I thought it might suck, because I took Intro to Women's Studies last semester, and I knew they'd be similar, but this one is so much more interesting and thought-provoking. At the moment we're studying Marilyn French's and Mary Daly's theories on why Women came to be subordinate. I'll re-cap:

Marilyn French believed that Women's subordinance began with the first Human Societies. In ancient times, the people attributed life to 'Mother Nature'. They viewed the earth as their Mother, and believed that she gave them not only life, but nourishment as well (in the form of crops, rain, and the like). Early humans existed on what Mother Nature had to offer, and they worshipped her with thanks and appreciation in return.

Well, a time came when Mother Nature seemingly stopped doing her job. Maybe crops withered, or there was a flood, or perhaps a drought. French believed that due to the inconsistency of Mother Nature's 'offerings', that mankind began to take matters into their own hands. Through cultivating the soil (perhaps the earliest act of rape?), learning to tell time, gauge days and predict weather, man began to have a bit of power over Nature. He could control his own destiny and provide nourishment and protection for himself. French believes that slowly, through conquering and learning to manipulate the earth, early man began to have a bit of a 'God Complex', no longer worshipping and revering Mother Nature.

Where do we come in? Well, Mother Nature was seen as a life-giver and a provider of sustenance. Through our bearing of children and the act of breast-feeding and child-rearing, we fall into that same category. French's theory suggests that men of early times came to equate their female partners with Mother Nature, who they found inconsistent and dissapointing. Through these feelings, Women began to be viewed as subordinate.

A woman named Mary Daly had a different theory. She believed that Women's subordinance could be directly related to Religion, or more specifically, the triad: Judaism/Islam/Christianity, with Judaism being the main focus. She stated (in a somewhat blasphemous manner!) that the God of Judeo-Christianity was on the ultimate 'power trip'. As it suggests in the Torah, Koran, and Bible, God often stated how powerful he was, how omnipresent, how he 'knew everything, created everything, and was in charge of everything'. Anyone who reads these sacred texts cannot doubt that the Christian/Islamic/Judaic God was displaying 'power over' humankind.

God himself chose to dwell away from his human subjects, being 'not of this earth' - in essence, the farthest away from humankind as he could possibly be. This suggets that God is the subject and man the 'other'.

But the interesting part is this: Adam was created by God, and Jesus was apparently the son of God. Also the Bible says that man was 'made in God's image'. Because of these things, we naturally equate God with Man. Most even picture God as a man. So if God = Man and Man = God, where does that leave Woman? An afterthought. And as a 'giver of life' and 'nourisher', she is still equated with Mother Nature. God has stated time and again in sacred texts that HE is all-powerful and he is the supreme creator of life. Does this manner of speaking mean to put Women on guard, by saying, 'you might be able to give birth, but I'm still the supreme being'? Daly's theory suggested that the seemingly male, power-loving God of the triad is solely responsible for Women's subordination, by implying that she's irrelevant and has 'false power'.

Both theories are absolutely fascinating. I personally (and this may surprise folks seeing as I'm a Religions Major) find French's theory more plausible. It isnt that I find Daly's implausible, per se, it's just that I think by the time Judaism formed, and then Christianity and Islam, Women's Subordination was already in full-swing. What I do find possible is that both theories could co-exist. Perhaps Women first starting being persecuted due to French's theory, and these attitudes and feelings carried on down the years until ancient Judaism begun, and those views carried on into the Religion, flavored the views on God and were written into the Torah (and eventually, the Bible and Koran)."

Just some thoughts and ideas I had while in my Womens Studies class.

Homage to a Tumor

A malignant
of the heart.

It's the spring of my life, the winter of yours. It isn't for me to decide, it isn't for me to abide the very callousness of your nature, your reverence for the bleak, the dark, the damaged light. The scales tip, we all fall down sometimes. We have our crosses to bear, and those of us who do it trying to creak out a grin don't do this out of weakness. We do it out of strength. It isn't always easy being

cheerful, amazingly upbeat
and optimistic,
but 'whatever gets you through the night'
is quite alright,

So long farewell auf weidersehen goodnight it's not alright the way you curse and moan and fight, the way you suck out all the light, the way you never can decipher wrong from right. I take a leave of absence, a hiatus, from your stream of conciousness, so heinous,

so cruel and cold
You think it's being bold.
It's really just casual infrequent
slaughter of a character.

My character.

My myth, my legend, I came across a sea to find you, or so you'd like to think, your mind being on the blink, you can't see for your eyes, the danger lying within just out of arms reach you try to grasp, I'm out of reach, because you push with the tips of your fingers, you push as you clench, you push away as you draw in. You draw

circles of omnipresent procrastination
the ever present sheet of paper with lines too wide
the pen too narrow
your heart too soiled and solidified in it's rage
against the dying, dying of the light
to quote again

You never quote
For thoughts that aren't your own
Have no resonance

No voice.

No voice like your own,
no hands like your own,
no heart quite like your own.

Closing time, farewell goodnight
to all the little things that creak about the night
(it's dark inside your chest,
the beats play out a tune)


Intro-spective spectator sport - the mysteries beneath the lashes of dreams, the flights taking wings, the sands of time the reason of rhyme, you flip on a dime -

Ill cloaks itself in gauzy feathers, black and inky, souless red, the wisps of a deep burgundy rooted self hatred, self loathing, posing as something, a goddess, an angel, a sex filled raging borderline amazing :

A nothing, in case, encased in therapy...

You stare upwards at clouds, drifting away, the sky your shelter, but it gives way. An endless prayer on your knees
The rain falls, in drips, in drops,
down over the tips of the tops of the trees,
And standing is a privilege,
until you fall.

Christmas in July

The world is such a strange, strange place.

In my surreal weekend I watched people scramble and fight over $2.96 DVDs at Walmart. Later, on our small motel TV, a heavily made up newscaster promoted a parade by telling me that 'tis the season for giving'. I saw no giving. Only women scratching each other over 'Pretty Woman' and 'Lethal Weapon 4'.

If I give you my cynicism, would that be considered a gift?

I find it a impossible that we start our children off with some goofy tradition of Santa Claus - a big fat man who somehow squeezes his ass through your chimney (even if your trailer, apartment or houseboat doesn't have a chimney) and doles out the very present you wanted just for you because he's ho ho ho so happy to do it. On account of the elves and Mrs. Claus and whatnot. Then a few years later, just as we delivered out such dogma, we snatch it away. ha ha. I was the one giving you those presents all along. Thank Daddy for his fine performance as Sir Klaus on account of his beer gut and cheap fabric I got at the after Thanksgiving sale at Walmart.

Santa Claus is fiction. How could we believe otherwise. I mean, c'mon. A fat man in a red velour suit who jiggles like a bowl full of jelly and gives a bunch of brats bikes every year at the same time.

THAT would be impossible.

What IS true, however, is that this guy was born in a stable who later grew up to be mightier than Zeus and was resurrected and will only save you and I if we accept him into his heart, but oh there's a catch! You have to drink wine that's been blessed and wafers that have been blessed and play pretend that you're at a cannibal tea party and drink his blood and promise not to fuck or be gay or ESPECIALLY be gay AND fuck, and you have to say things like, 'praise Jesus' and hold your palms out with your right hand raised whenever you listen to certain music.

You know honestly, I think the REAL miracle of Christmas is how two slaves from Egypt could have such a snow white baby.

An even bigger miracle still is people haven't figured out that Adam and Eve are metaphors for those two big apes dancing around the giant white bar in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Thank you. I'm here all day.

Sweet Like Poison Honey

It's the truth, you see me as a marshmallow puff, a lollipop vixen. For all my darts and daggers and standing straight, you only see the bending in the board. You see the faltering, the negative, the fluff coming out of my ears.

You talk in a big voice and jut out your chin,
you manly speciman of man,
you goddamn king, you god,
you mother-fucking lifesaver.

Let me worship, let me stand alone and take your insults,
and a humble gesture, a motif to silently compliment
your every spoil of war.

For all the years I spent catering to your wanton sadism, your fleeting darkness, your melancholy eyes, cloaking what I only imagined to be a deeper hurt -

But no. It was a deeper vanity, an obsession with your image, your own beautiful pitiful spoiled boy...

...your inner baby...

You savored the sight of your own fist as it smashed through the air, the moisture glistening in every corner of the room like tears!

Tears you would never shed-
Eyes don't sparkle
when they're blotchy and red
and boys don't cry
not if they're vampires

Give me back
the ends of the earth
you trampled.

You snake charmer,
you half wit
in disguise of genius,
you fall in pieces,
you fall to shame.

(*Disclaimer - no, it's not about Blake. You can breathe again!)


Some of my awesome women-friends are going through hard times. A handful of you will recognize yourself among that sentence. I empathize, sympathize and feel your pain in the most literal of ways. Life is tough.

Stand strong,
let the wind blow you whichever way it will,
it knows our bodies better than he does.
Bend towards it's breeze, let yourself fall,
embrace the weaker sex, if that's what we are,
for we feel emotion
rather than cold, hard stone.

We stand tall on mountains, overtaking cliffs
We're the ones who nurse you,
play mommy to your Whim,
and child to your Want.
We stand tall and pretend to be small,
so as not to offend -
and you don't notice;
you're pressed for time, pressed for space
pressed for relevance,
your saving grace.

We stand behind shadows, smiles on our lips
We hold the steaming plates,
you chow and masticate and talk yourself to death
with crummy wisdom,
the woman across the table, winning the competition
with a wan smile and nod of the head,
so aloof and calm, you'd think her dead.

We stand on clouds, our brains so far away,
we dream, didn't you know -
we rhyme,
our legs and feet have purpose, have time
rhythm, ageless, never failing,
our hair grows longer, our wrinkles endearing
our hips spread across the ages,
we hold out arms, for you to sink into.

We're mommy, we're lover, we're wife,
we're your backbone,
never crooked, never failing,
holding up your necks,
holding up your egos.

Stand strong,
this cursed knowledge
will last amongst your daughters, your withered hands will linger
for far longer than you think.
Let the wind take you, bend you, even break you,
we're never as brittle
as they think we are.
We are their hope, their light,
their source
of inexhaustable energy.

Sad Ode to a Friend

Shoot em up
slice it leftwise, rightways
Amongst the days, so long and full of acrid breath,
the people shout, they mill about, you walk with
uncertainty, faked carefully without a smile.

The rage boils just below the surface,
the grass grows, an afront to the earth, the nameless face
you walk amongst us, you walk slowly -
so we have to slow down,
to catch up
with you. You talk in a low voice, so quiet even the crickets can't hear
For silence and mystery makes it seem you have something to say
when you do not.

The endless mindless drone of it -
the poor me sad me help me help me
hurt me
(you want us to hurt you)

A real woman would disgust at the sight
of you
clinging to patriarchy
clinging to the vines of trees you can't identify -
chemically altered, forever bartered
your ass for a smile
your life for a while...

Abuse is key, it defines us
to be in a group. To be selected with a label stuck on -
the glue can't ever rub off;
so you belong, you're singing some song,
albeit sad,
so sad you are.
At least you have a claim to fame.
At least you have a name.

Bad Poetry

Bleakly run –

A cigarette just out of reach,

To start the day amongst the clutter

A single shudder

To bring something back to mind.

Open and shut.

Never were things in such shades of gray

Never were they played out this way

My doe-wide eyes see nothing ventured, nothing gained,

Nothing sustained

Frame to frame, I cannot stay

Give up the game.

I cannot tell you why

The divide within my shallow chest knows nothing of defeat

It knows nothing of heartbreak,

Calloused hands caressing gentle words you say to lie your way –

Into the fray

I cannot stay. I cannot play this game.

The glass,

Half empty half full,

Half full of potential,

Half full of the weight of your words.

A cautionary tale,

A tale between two entities, lying and dividing

Pieces of our sordid history,

Watch it fail

Or let it go, to see if it bounces back.

A multitude of sins.

We lie in wait,

In weight so solid, barely breathing, seeing or believing –

We wait to cover up our misgivings.

Shun mine for yours;

a martyr-like sacrifice.

I could be blessed

Should I admit defeat.

I never knew what lay beneath your brows

I never knew the volume of your words,

The way they spoke like curling smoke,

Dancing languidly through the air…

You never dared

Or dreamed or spoke outloud,

You crushed it right beneath your foot.

Some Old Angst

Will it ever become clear? The future so fuzzy, seemingly covered in fur, dander, some swarthy material that cloaks my eyes from seeing anything real. Reality is a beacon, calling to me, promising sanity, but I'm blind. What I want is ambiguous, refusing to adhere to me, refusing my graces. Deplorable. For want of this I would do most anything. I'm drawn in, like a vampire to neck; I want to sink into this, make it my own. I've never felt this way, bottomless, uncertain. I've never been unclaimed. In this world I've always belonged, always had a label. And much to my chagrin I've embraced this role, become the woman I am, the woman so many people wanted me to be. For so long I've been this that now my shell is staid, cold, locked tight against my flesh, flesh now dying to get out. I ache quietly, I am pitiful in a subtle way. I draw myself in deep, tucking my knees to my chest and saying nothing of what I would really like to say, really like to do. Cowardly courtly love leaves much to be desired. I am no beggars wife, no tale from Canterbury. And yet I've been nunnified, or so it seems, brought low in my desires and made to be ashamed.

But I'm not ashamed. For want of this I would do most anything. For want of it I would tell you the things I'd do. Most anything.

You see, anything is possible.

It's so unclear. So blurred, fuzzy, redundant. Opaque, like the blobby tears that still fill your eyes when you wake on sad mornings. The sun in your vision, the glint of moonlight over water. These things are beautiful, but they blind us. The cold fear takes hold of us each, every one, falling out of favor. Addictions so predictable, I give them up, one by one, I give up the things I called my own. The things that owned me.

I want to lock myself tight into this world. I want a purpose, a goal, to be filled with the knowledge that I'm purposeful, that I can be of use to something. Myself, perhaps. A greater good beyond the outside appearance. My hair with glint of red, beguiling green eyes, a friendly smile – all the world's my stage but what will we DO with that stage? What will we say? For want of this I would do…anything.

I don't want to live my life saying 'what might have been if I only I had been'. To be scared, to be hurt, is a fate worse than death. Never again will I walk in the world with head hung low. Bruised, battered; no, this will not occur. For self-worth is easier to come by than we think. I looked in the mirror. Those who falter, those who quake, they are but shadows lying low in a horizon of doubt. I prefer to be a cloud. Seamless and floating, a representation of all things light. To be sure, eventually I would break and crack and pour my opulence down like a spring rain, but even then it would be light. The heavy burden of self-doubt goes away, and it stays away. I move gracefully, cumulus-like and airy. A blinding whirr and heaviness is gone.

Very Green

Pages upon pages!

I can never say -

Tonight's feature: A magic show. A chrysalis.

- lying in darkness, we're dimly lit fireflies. Our wings our auras, pale color giving away to deepness, feathering in the dark, cool air. Fumbling, finding balance. The tips of these wings defenseless against the thickening tension -

A bird in a cage. Flap, fly. Hysterically by.

I can't just be...

- lying here; with you. My eyes are wide open. Staring at a latitude somewhere past your shoulder. You, above me, enamoured, dedicated. Drunk on some feeling I am not privy to, you smile, wistfully, reminding me of past things I had buried. Deep earth, musk, the cool blackness my friend should I choose to embrace it. A faint sheen of sweat glosses you; sweet. My eyes cannot shift - they're stuck. I stare, I stare, straight ahead, past the point of which I should be focused. Past the point of no return. Fixated, deadened, I stare.

So wide, my eyes, a constant state of learning. I have found myself in this place. I have found myself a fledgling. No amount of knowing will make me any less green.

...I am a gardener, cutting off stalks at the root. A petal, a sweet fragrance, lost in some time and space. Deadened leaves, hardened, pollenated, brought back again like Elijah of the fields, brought back again to fly amongst the nesting.

I'm so green - and I can't stop staring.

Second Time Around

A lowly beat to breathe by.

I find it all so distracting. The noise, the clatter, the clunk and circumstance of any given day.

Founded on a whim; this acid trip brain freeze. We met on a winter day; the wind was harsh, it blew hard. Frozen particles of acrid sanctimony filled my lungs. We met head on. Your eyes were dark, wintry.

A sentence spoken, a voice heard. Yours. Mine.

Through my hips I danced a tune I felt. Diligently, reminiscent of days yonder. I broke the box, I shimmied and shook, I poured out my heart with my ever moving legs. The curves ran rampant, your eyes followed.

Through my eyes I wrote a novel, I told the tale. You and I. The tale of things lost, of things gained, of which was which. I told this tale with a luminous quality, a voice of angelic literary narcissus. I was Sappho and you my apprentice. My lids grew heavy, the story wary.

Through my hands I mimicked reality. I pushed and pulled, I clasped my fingers around the concept of your light weightedness. I balled into a fist, I punched, I scratched, I slapped. I pointed out the nonsense, the nonsensical mistake we made.

Through my ears I heard you speak, above a whisper, above a sliver of doubt. My ears betrayed me. I thought I heard –

I thought I heard another thing. A thing to make me smile.

You rarely see things you don't mean.

The night air, so cold, makes whisps of smoke betraying itself for shapes. It lies, it glistens with a sparkle that is false. For beneath the glitter is glue.

I have loved you and your pretense simultaneously. I've loved you both. I've loved you all.

With straw for hair and marbles for eyes, this doll takes form. This doll awakens. This plastic skin becomes porous. She waits in suspended motion.

You asked, can I recreate this body, this night, this incident. Incident, I replied. This is no incident. This was an accident. Accidental particles, floating on a breeze of sorts. Falling together, sticking tightly – dust gathers in groups, little circles, cliques of air. We all fight for breath together, we all brave the cold together. No, not an incident. An accident of metaphysics, you and I.


So much to occupy the mind -
It's a cacophany, a litany,
things to remember, things to forget.
We transition with ease from person to person,
tree to tree
from you to me -

I find a common denominator

throwing waste
and passing judgement.

Your opinion, so holy, so rolling
cresting, falling, with each rising breath,
we base our lives, a day to day routine -
on telling you what's wrong with me.

Slick back, jet black,
ash and circumstance,
always pulling through, on charm alone
too intimidating, too mundane, too quizical
to offer substance,
but charm alone
the benefactor.

One day gone past
you walked upright
your shoots and leaves
brighter than the rest,

I will never stoop
to levels of disgrace
I see with open eyes
my faults, my greats alike,
those categories, traits

to bring us close together
instead of seperating
oil and water.

They will never embarrass me.
They are welcome any time,
any place
and those who find them off-putting
- they are the disgrace.

Some far-off constellation
some concept alien and frigid
that perception is only third the battle
and one day our eyes fail,
where shall you be?

Evolving slowly
tree to tree

A warming feeling, numbing to the core
The very muscles of our brain.
Ridiculed and sore.
I thought I knew you
but I didn't know your mind
who is before, who behind

You stand agape
Demonstrating your personal resemblance
to the ape.


triumphing slowly
my consciousness awakening
to a missing;
a leathery, paper thin feeling
a wanting

the salt and pepper air
the gale
the spray, the sea-slow island time

the wind my gravity

I no longer feel sand in my shoes
as I walk - the pressure pull
the tepid sky
I no longer feel secretive, sly
I no longer have a calling-card by which to breathe
I no longer close my eyes
when I lie

the air cryptic and pressing
the looming stresses of our digestive systems
the media-frantic tipsy torvy gangfuck of a

I miss shells, I miss green rolling hills
I miss legalities and honest moralities
I miss finding beauty in a big nose,
sex in a slang
interest in a voice.

I miss unique-ity.

Would I to land
on yours today
I would bend on knee
and kiss your earth

a torrent of tropicality

the kind of nonsense you could appreciate

with a word like zed
you could build empires

empires of laid-back stepped-back
unassuming true representations
of humanity
fuck commerciality
fuck conventionality
competition belongs in a stadium
and love is in our homes

we are all judged equally,
but not at all.

Your speck of earth
your brood
stand tall

I miss the squeak and squawk
of 'fush and chups'
the molly mawk
I miss the kowhai, the koru,
the L&P
the useless abundance of

I miss a time and place
unspoiled by western practicality

you'll forever belong to me.

Creeping Equilibrium

The equilibrium is off -
like a cracked shell
the yolk split and divided

The small things need a voice,
a choice
such a spark
in something small
the higher we set them
the harder they fall.

Grandiosity, ambiguity
Lying behind eyes
mistaking want for depth
mistaking wiles
for smiles

I don't exist to serve
she said,
her voice tepid like lukewarm water
afraid to speak in a stream
instead in a hiss
a broken teapot
a hit or miss

I don't exist for you

I exist for this
for breath
for spark
for nature kiss

My talents mine
the small things
for me, I desire to be open
I don't need things
to make me be -
I don't need proof
that I can see
that you and me
we are not 'we'

we are not we

I exist for me
for small things everywhere
a quiet triumph
over loud, unsteady beats
inertia creeps

walking steadily
small and unnoticeable
against the grain.