Drawing Lines

Posted: August 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

How long has it been since I posted a poem… yet I am way behind. Why is that?


CONTEXT: April, 2012

Some things happened in the national poetry community around then. Or, more exactly, things that had been happening came to my attention around then.

I was angry.

REALLY angry.

So I wrote about it and performed it at the CapSlam… semis? Finals?

I received a partial standing ovation and not really great marks. It seems that people who understand it liked it, but it went past others.

So why haven’t I posted it?

Because I wanted to slam it again when I got to it in my book.

And then I got to it in my book.

And I tried to re-memorize it… and put it off… and again and again…

The problem is that it is a very angry poem and two years later, I don’t feel angry. Instead I feel sad, disappointed and a little ashamed at how little has been done to REALLY change things.

So, instead of performing the poem, I have done some things to try and change things. Some things. I don’t claim anything, though…

So, here is the poem.

Drawing Lines

Lines have been drawn,
Lines to pick sides
And chalk outlines
Marking innocence and
Aggressive ostrich-necking
With sand filling ears and eyes
Grinding down the resolve
For justice.
I thought we were so lucky.
We built a home of love and ideas,
A canopy of voices held aloft
By a support beam of art
Braced on a foundation of
Respect and openness,
But my onion-peel blinders’
Rosy glow comes from
A mixture of blood and sweat.
Cutting into that onion
Too quickly brings stinging tears
Leaving lines of pain
Printed on my face
For everyone to read.

We have asked for years
Why women were less likely
To lay roots in our soil.
I had theories about wind and
Rain – finding the best
Environmental conditions
To grow and nurture –
Never knowing that irrigation
Liens were for naught
As incisions were being
Made at the root –
Fresh fruit
Plucked from the vine –
But even these analogies
Hurt and make cute
Out of a poison
That turns to fire in
My veins.

This is my home,
And seeing my home
Turned into a grazing pen
Where judging eyes come
Not from white boards
But red-lines predator gazes
May as well be wrist-cut
It wasn’t here that I heard
The word rape.
But the line from appraising gaze
And art-rush inspiration to
Supportive ear and helping
Your career to
Pressure points and
Exploiting weaknesses
Can’t always be washed away
By morning sun rays through
Drawn curtains across scarred skin.

I thought of this place as a haven
But I will try it tear it down
In a hail of fire and fury
Rather than let false safety
Turn into opportunity to
Shatter illusions and
Filling an ego tank with
Another’s lifeblood.

If you think this poem
Is about you and you have
Felt that wolf gaze that
Lingers even after you
Have left the room,
Then I am sorry.
I am sorry that I have
Worn these blinders for
So long that I forgot
That freedom can not be
Purchased at the expense
Of another.
I have failed you
And I will pluck out
My eyes before
I let them NOT see again.

And if you think
This poem is about you
Finding your gaze and
Ways questioned
As curves come before words
And your idea of being
Supportive is hard-wired
To suggestive and your
Mind stops in at your heart
Before continuing to the
South, know this –
Lines have been drawn
Exing out pick-up and
Deal closing lines
Because no space is safe
If it isn’t safe
For everyone.


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