Poem: With Apologies to Erica Jong

With Apologies to Erica Jong

And our other foremothers who spent our childhoods
storming the gates of power
so that when we came of age, they would stand open,
gaping before us, beckoning.

And to my sisters who ran with me towards the maw,
firmly convinced that this.
This.
was the key to it all.

And when we found ourselves standing, surrounded,
by paper, and power, and politics,
Looking longingly out the windows of our 14-th floor offices
and wistfully whispering, “Is that all there is?”
We balked,
We talked,
We walked.

Thank you Erica Jong.
We conquered our fears, we flew.
And without that we never would have known to ask,
Why only some get to fly.

My feminism asks different questions than,
How do we seize and hold the slippery reins of power?

Like, Who holds them? And Why?
And why do they care so much?
And, what if… we dare to ask…
what if there were no reins?

I can’t careen ahead and leave my sisters in the mud,
Or no mud, carrying water.
My liberation can’t come at the expense
Of hers, or his, or hirs.

So I went back to hold my children’s hands,
and lead them to a different kind of question.

If I want them to build a different world, I have to show them how.
If I want security for
Everybody,
I have to start at home.

We can’t become free by seizing the reins of power.
Liberation doesn’t come at the end of a gun.
It comes when
Nobody
is willing to hold it.

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