I’ve just returned from a poetry conference in the Ozarks.  It’s the twenty-seventh time poets have come together in Eureka Springs, AK to confab and critique at Lucidity.  The gathering is aptly named.  It’s all about the craft and how to smooth, polish and clarify poetry.

Instead of our best, they ask for our weakest work.  Thrown into an arbitrarily assigned group we read our precious lines to relative strangers and await their suggestions.  The process is humbling, exhilarating and demanding.  It makes me want to revise everything I’ve ever authored and write a dozen new poems.

The first thing I see when I return to my desk is an unrevised lemon.  I pick up my pen and chop, prune, dead-head and rename till I figured out what I really want to say.   I’m counting it my poem for the day because it took longer to rewrite than compose something new:

When Women March: With A Grateful Nod to Sojourner Truth


Feels like déjà vu – over a hundred years of taking

to the street, protesting as crowds mill and move,

chanting, cheering, churning the cauldron, aerating stuffy closets

whose doors burst open from within.  Women, used to

mess and mud, chaos and confusion,

know our work is never done.

We carry laundered rags inside our backpacks

as makeshift bandages, napkins, diapers, hairbands;

print slogans across them with blood, lipstick or crayon.

We are fierce, good-natured, spirited, proud.

Joy prevails, alive on every countenance.  Women

clap, sigh, laugh, yell, sigh again.  We’ve been here before

carrying the same signs– Keep Your Laws Off My Body,

Equal Pay for Equal Work and new ones, ranging

from Ninety and Nasty to Nineteen and Nasty.

Mine says, I Can’t Believe I’m Still Protesting This Shit.

I march because the job isn’t over.

Ain’t I A Woman?

This entry was posted in NaPoWriMo, Poetry, Women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s