Strong Women Can Say No
By Marge Piercy
A strong woman is a woman who is straining.
A strong woman is a woman standing
on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
while trying to sing Boris Godunov.
A strong woman is a woman at work
cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
and while she shovels, she talk about
how much she doesn't mind crying, it opens
the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
develops the stomach muscles, and
she goes on shoveling with tears
in her nose.
A strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you so,
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
why aren't you feminine, why aren't
you soft, why aren't you quiet, why
aren't you dead?
A strong woman is a woman determined
to do something others are determined
not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
to butt her way through a steel wall.
Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry, you're so strong.
A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar. A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.
A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling,
she is not strong as stone but as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.
What comforts her is others loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
each other. Until we are all strong together,
a strong woman is strongly afraid.
Spent too much time being influenced by many Devil's Minions yesterday so am behind now. I did watch last week's Andromeda while folding laundry, and wanted to note that while I hate hate hate Nietzschean-hag gratuitous-love-interest Beka, I am totally enamored of the Dylan-Gaheris onscreen slash and think they need to keep reincarnating the latter again and again.
Boy it's fun watching that show without having to review it, being able to respond on a purely emotional level without thinking too much. This episode gave us a look at Andromeda without Captain Hunt, and while Rhade clearly doesn't have the stuff to build a Commonwealth, he does let us see how certain episodes would have played out with...with...with a lead actor who has real emotional range! Not that I am complaining about Sorbo. I love him, I find him completely charming and engaging. But Rhade-in-tears is just...gah! What is up with all the fic-writers who can't tolerate men crying? There are few things as sexy as a guy broken up because he's lost the man he loves...
Friday Media Alerts: From CNN, Bishops Seek Saint For Internet: Hopeless Clickers Urge Vatican To Name Protector
The New York Times on Marsden Hartley and Modernism
Also from the Times, Kristof on Flogging the French
The giant howl for the day, from The Onion: U.N. Orders Wonka To Submit To Chocolate Factory Inspections!
And making me smile, from Entertainment Weekly, Jim Mullen's HotSheet:
"Meta: The current word for movies about making movies, novels about writing novels, art about art...It replaces the words pretentious inside joke."
Off to work in my kids' school library. Hope all the Minions have had lovely afternoons.