poems, reflections and such

IWD – a poem

Following the election of Trump in 2016, thousands of post-its defending, celebrating and demanding human rights, especially for women, appeared in subway stations around Manhattan. I took this photo in the Union Square subway station –

8 March 2020 [first published via FaceBook]:

I’ve spent approximately 6 million years in unpaid overtime working on International Women’s Day, but this year, I’m taking the day off. I wrote a poem about it:

This International Women’s Day I would like to take off my gender
put it in the jumbly drawer with my jewellery
the library cards
and the watches waiting to be fixed
then sans gender I’d step out into the sunshine of being recognised as fully human.
I’d not second guess whether you see me like you – equal.
I’d dash off a million emails without policing my tone
go to a bar on my own
hang out in the free weights section of the gym.
I would not have to make the thousand tiny and big calculations about
whether you believe me
whether you take me seriously
whether you are dangerous
I would have other thoughts instead.
With my gender safe in the jumbly drawer, you wouldn’t play out your culture and your conflict and your religion on my body
I’d just be me
I’d just be human.

This International Women’s Day, I have a wish.
A wish for men to organise the International Women’s Day breakfasts and lunches and marches, and the corporate branding unanchored in responsibility.
I wish for men to get up early, and bleary eyed
eat the sad stale bagel unique to catered breakfasts.
I wish for men to write the speeches that by some unwritten law must start by
‘acknowledging how far we have come…’
as if we cannot ask for the rest of our rights unless we are polite about it
as if we should plot our status against other women
earlier women
distant women
but never against the men sitting next to us
as if it’s unladylike to be too thirsty for our rights.
This woman does not want to write that speech anymore
I wish the men would write it
I wish it shamed them.

This international women day, I have a request for men.
Believe us
see us
let us finish our sentences
take our advice
use our research
pay us
elect us.
Don’t murder us.
Don’t take our oppression as a personal slight
don’t ask for a cookie because you never raped anyone.

This international women’s day, I will not get up early to eat a sad stale bagel
instead, I will take a day off from my
restrained, angry, exhausted requests
to please please please treat me and my sisters like
fully human humans.
I’ll ignore the people, the institutions, the governments who have other priorities right now
easier things to talk about
religion to defend
uteruses to police
violence to ignore.
I’ll take the day off all that
and be back tomorrow.