A woman is not a pear tree
thrusting her fruit in mindless fecundity
into the world. Even pear trees bear
heavily in one year and rest and grow the next.
An orchid gone wild drops few warm rotting
fruit in the grass but the trees stretch
high and wiry gifting the birds forty
feet up among inch long thorns
broken atavistically from the smooth wood.
A woman is not a basket you place
your buns in to keep them warm. Not a brood
hen you can slip duck eggs under.
Not the purse holding the coins of your
descendants till you spend them in wars.
Not a bank where your genes gather interest
and interesting mutations in the tainted
rain, any more than you are.
You plant corn and you harvest
it to eat or sell. You put the lamb
in the pasture to fatten and haul it in to
butcher for chops. You slice the mountain
in two for a road and gouge the high plains
for coal and the waters run muddy for
miles and years. Fish die but you do not
call them yours unless you wished to eat them.
Now you legislate mineral rights in a woman.
You lay claim to her pastures for grazing,
fields for growing babies like iceberg
lettuce. You value children so dearly
that none ever go hungry, none weep
with no one to tend them when mothers
work, none lack fresh fruit,
none chew lead or cough to death and your
orphanages are empty. Every noon the best
restaurants serve poor children steaks.
At this moment at nine o’clock a partera
is performing a table top abortion on an
unwed mother in Texas who can’t get
Medicaid any longer. In five days she will die
of tetanus and her little daughter will cry
and be taken away. Next door a husband
and wife are sticking pins in the son
they did not want. They will explain
for hours how wicked he is,
how he wants discipline.
We are all born of woman, in the rose
of the womb we suckled our mother’s blood
and every baby born has a right to love
like a seedling to sun. Every baby born
unloved, unwanted, is a bill that will come
due in twenty years with interest, an anger
that must find a target, a pain that will
beget pain. A decade downstream a child
screams, a woman falls, a synagogue is torched,
a firing squad is summoned, a button
is pushed and the world burns.
I will choose what enters me, what becomes
of my flesh. Without choice, no politics,
no ethics lives. I am not your cornfield,
not your uranium mine, not your calf
for fattening, not your cow for milking.
You may not use me as your factory.
Priests and legislators do not hold shares
in my womb or my mind.
This is my body. If I give it to you
I want it back. My life
is a non-negotiable demand.
Lauren Zuniga, To the Oklahoma Lawmakers: a poem
”If you want to write your Bible on my organs then you better be there when I’m down on my knees pleading for relief from your morality.”
The Oklahoma ultrasound law she refers to (this video was posted in 2010) has been legally challenged, but many others just like it are being passed in several states. (also, a trigger warning for this video)
Look At Miss Ohio / Blind Pilot (cover of Gillian Welch)
In the face of all the anti-woman sentiment in America (especially from Ohio) right now, this song reminds me of how pressured first-world women still are to make certain choices and how those “choices” must be carried out on a timeline determined by others - even and often other women, to be certain.
Had your arm around her shoulder, a regimental soldier
An’ mama starts pushing that wedding gown
Yeah you wanna do right but not right now
Given the serious and horrific grievances by those less fortunate all over the world, these issues may seem trite at first glance, but there is no way to help anyone else anywhere unless we fix what is broken in our own home first.
In all the ways.
And there’s a longlong list.
Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre of Tulsa, Oklahoma held up a sign at a protest Tuesday that said “If I wanted the government in my womb I’d fuck a senator. The Senator was at the capitol to protest anti-abortion legislation in the state.
“When I saw that sign out of all of those signs, I was like, I’ve got to have a picture of it,” said McIntyre, D-Tulsa. “I thought if my 87-year-old mother sees this, I’m going to get hell this weekend, but it was too late,” said McIntyre, according to NewsOK.com
Photo: Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre talks with a protestor during a rally opposing the Personhood measures at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Occupy Philadelphia. These photos were taken by Michael Albany at Occupy Philly’s protest against backdoor anti-abortion legislation and in support of women’s healthcare rights on January 17th.