Friday, October 9, 2015

The Ghosts of Fallen Women

My head is always beset
with the visions of fallen women
bloody in hotel rooms,
murdered at home,
lying in ditches,
traduced and betrayed,
in Magdalene Laundries,
on coroner's gurneys,
throwing themselves downstairs,
taking pennyroyal oil
and bleeding,
dying for days.

These living women
haunt my conscience,
these girls who shrieked
their labor songs in chains,
or were jailed for dropping
their gifts like stones,
who threaded the path between
their addictions
and the health of two,

who took beatings knowing they
did not
take those beatings alone.

My mind is haunted
with the knowledge of gifted women
happy in motherhood
blessed with strength
privileged in many ways--
and they remind me also
of these so many ways
the freedom to bear
means everything.

And that the freedom to choose
one's life, and
the freedom over one's body,
and the triumph
of the once-"fallen"
is the only redemption I give a damn about.
For the sake of the dead and gone,
for the sake of the here and now,
and for the sake of those
to be.

Only choices
let my
women be free.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Barren land

Barren land that calls to me
for the hope of awakening,
she lies poisoned
and dreaming
plant ruined and soil shot,
fauna fled and
time forgot.

But this is our earth
and our mother
we must bind the soil to nitrogen
and make mother earth
give of herself again.

Barren land that calls to me
salted with iniquity;
dried up lakebed and wretched soil
evidence of toil--heedless.
And this bed unsmooth
the benefit of any lake to you
where water diverted feeds carrots and greens,

and provides for so many amazing scenes.

But now needless.
And the seed that falls
breeds less
on the barren land.
Poorly planned ill-used and unblessed,

We live on the barren land
until we try to need less.

And find the abundant resilience
in the barren land.