Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Polemic #1

by Honor Moore
"This is the poem to say “Write poems, women” because I want to
    read them, because for too long, we have had mostly men’s lives
        or men’s imaginations wandering through
    our lives, because even the women’s lives we have details of
come through a male approval desire filter which diffuses
        imagination, that most free part of ourselves.
One friend is so caught on the male-approval-desire hook she
    can’t even write a letter. Ink on paper would be clear
        evidence of failure to be Sylvia
    Plath or Doris Lessing, or (in secret) William Butler Yeats.
Hilda Doolittle, the poet who hid behind “H.D.,” splashed
        herself with ink just before writing to make her
feel free, indifferent toward the mere means of writing. I would take
    ink baths if I’d be splashed free of male approval desire.
        This male-approval-desire filter and its
    attached hook, abbreviated M-A-D filter and hook,
have driven many women mad, could drive me mad, won’t because
        I see all the other women fighting the M
Male A Approval D Desire, and I clench my fists to hold
    their hands, and I am not as alone as my grandmother
        was who painted, was free and talented and
    who for some M-A-D reason married, had kids, went mad and
        stopped finishing her paintings at thirty-five.
M-A-D is the filter through which we’re pressed to see ourselves—
    if we don’t, we won’t get published, sold, or exhibited—
        I blame none of us for not challenging it
    except not challenging it may drive us mad. It is present
in the bravest of us. It comes out in strange shapes, escapes
        like air through the tiniest hole in the strongest
woman’s self. It is a slaughterhouse waiting for the calf
    or lamb-sized art, for the sausage-ready little pig poems
        which never get to the supermarket: They
    are lost in the shuffle, or buried as ladies’ poems have been
in bureau drawers for years. Male Approval Desire is a cog
        in the Art Delivery Machine: It instructs
by quiet magic women to sing proper pfIant tunes for
    father, lover, piper who says he has the secret, but
        wants ours; it teaches us to wear cloaks labelled
    Guinevere, become damsels, objects in men’s power joustings
like her: lets us shimmer, disappear, promise to rise like a
        Lady of the Lake, but we drown — real, not phantom.
The Art Delivery Machine is ninety-nine and forty-
    four hundredths percent pure male sensibility, part of
        a money system ninety-nine and forty-
    four hundredths percent pure white-male-power-structure controlled. So you may wonder why I write this poem and say “Write your own poems,
        women!” Won’t we be crushed trying? No. We have more
now, fifty-six hundredths percent of the Art Delivery
    Machine. We can’t be stopped. So I write this polemic I
        call a poem, say “Write poems, women.” I want to
    read them. I have seen you watching, holding on and watching, and
I see your lips moving. You have stories to tell, strong stories;
        I want to hear your minds as well as hold your hands."

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