Brave Enough to Be Angry

Trump perv



“Women, you have to treat ’em like shit.”

—Donald Trump, New York magazine, November 9, 1992


I don’t have a tidy soundbite for you.

I wish I did,

But I am not a hero.


I am not a child.

I have learned to regret words spoken in anger.


But we are seething,

Beneath the surface.


How long we’ve been ignored,

Seething for those brave enough to tell the truth—

Seething for those punished for doing so.

Seething for being told we have no right to seethe at all.


You too?

Me too.


Centuries of indifference,

Tacit (and sometimes open) sanctioning of sexual harassment, abuse, assault,

We are suddenly in the midst of a cock conflagration.


Powerful men swallowed in the bonfire,

Banned from the primordial, privileged Garden of Dicks.


In the Garden of Dicks, it’s always about the dick.

You are a man, you have urges.


Oh yeah, you?

Well, me too.


In the Garden of Dicks,

Women come and go, working, serving, servicing—

Trying to earn a living wage,

Searching for a husband, a job,

Looking for venture capital or just a good time,

Seeking an advanced degree, a part in a movie.


Don’t you know who I am?


Often, we have no choice.

We enter a room and instantly know.

Oh, it’s that place.

There’s always something sweaty and unnerving in the air,

Like the men there

Have just laughed at a joke we aren’t supposed to hear.

And, eyes averted, we carry on.


In the Garden of Dicks,

There is one peculiar fear—

Loss of power, castration by other means.

Take my humiliation, please.


In the room, the women come and go,

Talking of sexual harassment.


It took me four decades,

Wandering alone and muted

To finally be brave enough to be angry.


You too?

Me too.


We arise en masse, our words jagged glass.



Susan as Sylvia. . .

Finally Free

miss havisham

Don’t let them tell you it’s not a death.

It is.


The cold stack of papers—

Signed and notarized,

Fly across the country.

The endorsements final, the money itemized.


You wait for the death.

You know it is the right thing to do.

The smiling lawyers await you too.


It is like euthanizing a pet.


You make the decision, then the appointment.

And spend the night sadly examining the old cat’s eyes—

Curled round your head on the pillow,

Rough tongue and toothless mouth

Licking those final treats from your dry palm.

There is nothing left.


Don’t let them tell you it’s not a death.

It is.


That sad fairy tale, it is done—

Cobwebs on Miss Havisham’s wedding cake

The dusty crystal awaits the wrapping and bins.


The pale bride comes loose at the seams,

A malfunctioning windup toy put out of her misery,

The wires popping out, beginning to smoke.

Rising, imploding into the crimson clouds.

Reborn, reinvented from her sins.


Don’t let them tell you it’s not a death.

It is.


You, Mother

I had to be perfect.


You, Husband

You expected me to be perfect.


You, Child

You needed me to be perfect.


You, Greek Chorus, chiding or otherwise.

Judge, judge, judge.


Look into your heart and know—

I am I, am I.


Do not think I underestimate, or forget.

It is still a death.


I am finally free,

Whatever that means.

Four Haiku

altar vessel

After Sylvia Plath


I wear this skull smile

Hidden in my black toga,

Vessel now empty.


I’ve done what I did—

The blood jet, is poetry.

You will not stop me.


My gold, beaten skin

Will not speak to God again—

I am I, am I.


I am I, not more—

Fused with the world, done.

Infinite nets, cast.






Taking to My Knee


I bow for myriad reasons,

Always my own.


Supplication, protest, personal, or otherwise—

To that over which I may

Or may not

Have control.


Genuflecting at the altar—

To worship the wheat-wafer body of Christ,

Among choking incense and magenta stained glass.


The black-clad faithful, they nod in approval—

I, the stolid girl of duty.


Then oh, she rebels.

The trap door awaits me, for the trip to hell.


I kneel at your feet—

My head on your thighs

You stroke my hair,

Following passion my mother will never understand.


I contemplate the world.

My white privilege, my cultural damage

Does not absorb

The sacred, the sacrosanct.

I am not a time bomb, awaiting implosion.

I walk the streets freely, unquestioned.


When we kneel,

It insults the John Deere hat wearing masses—

Chewing tobacco and proclaiming

They will make America great again.


What does that mean?

The collective fear curls into a boil that sings

Oh say can you see

By the dawn’s early light—


Oh America.

Oh flag, oh anthem

This is not my America.


And I bow to my knee

Not from disrespect

But to pay tribute to those betrayed

By my America.






The moon, it travels so fast.

How long does this moment last?

Cold dust obscures hot hydrogen gas.


When time moves slowly, it ticks hours,

Moving quickly, it obliterates weeks.


Oh, black umbra of eclipse hanging in the sky,

Lead weight, iron anomaly dangling from some invisible thread—

You mock me, burn the soul from my eyes.


I belong here no more than I belonged there—or anywhere.

My life compressed into a few family photos,

Crystal glasses wrapped in tissue and packed in rubber bins—

A gravitational confinement only found in ancient stars.


You are in the shadow of the moon.

You know what you left behind.

You know you are alone.

You know what hell feels like.

Not fire, not heat—


But paralysis, blackness and the crackling gold corona,

And laughter in another room.


bg2017msg_Spoonbridge_006-test-2048 (1)


Oh, spoonbridge and cherry

Oh, audacious blue rooster, ten feet tall.

Oh, icons of the Twin Cities—

The highways twist over you, confused grey concrete entrails.


I pass you, each morning, on the slow morning crawl to earn my keep—

Lyndale to Hennepin.

I know these signs, the turning lanes, marked in green paint, still half asleep.


The red metal letters spell L O V E

For the wedding photographers and the tourists’ selfies.

The well-fed geese fold themselves under the cherry fountain mist.



Love brought me to this strange planet.


Where the land is too flat, the roads too wide—

Where cars move too quickly, people too slowly.

There is not enough time, energy, sex, or money for it all.


Love is not enough.


I do my wash religiously, once a week.

I change my sheets,

To create order from the chaos.


I see the shattered eyes of children

In the homeless shelter where I work.

Displaced, thrown away, all of us.


Hey sweet, can I fix you some tea?

Would you like a cookie?

Why are you here?

Are you as lost as me?


Nothing I say, or do, can change a God-damned thing.


Once I was someone’s mother,

Someone’s wife, someone’s daughter, someone’s friend.


It is late September.

I count the wildflowers on the highway’s edge.

I remember my lush hydrangeas by the sea, pink and blue cotton candy,

And the bell-sounds of long ago halyards on their masts lulling me to sleep.