Writing Again, But Poetry?

I intimated some days ago that I was writing again, meaning that I was looking at some of my fantasies for new inspiration. But then a funny thing happened. Donald Trump’s 2005 comment about grabbing pussies made the news and turned my world upside down.

I am a 65 year old woman who lived through many of the trials and tribulations of the 1970s and 80s as a woman rising under the feminist movement of those days. To say that I was subject to sexual harassment is an understatement in the extreme. I was also the victim of one sexual assault and two rapes. I did not report any of them, in two cases because the assailants were members of the legal profession in which I was lowly public defender. I will not further detail the incidents, but it should be clear that a woman making charges against two men high in the legal field would have been laughed out of court. I would have been disbelieved and smeared at a level that is no longer present in our legal system, except from certain judges who seem to think that rapists shouldn’t have their futures damaged by a few minutes of fun. They are the dinosaurs of today.

But back to Trump and the effects of his statement. I, like many women, numbering undoubtedly in the millions, suffered the crimes against me alone, and I built internal walls so that I could continue to function without falling apart or lashing out. Many women of my age built walls of different strengths and sizes, depending on the nature of the abuse they suffered. The everyday indignities of being a woman in a “man’s world” we all built walls against. We smiled, and accepted crudities that would stun today’s woman.

But the walls built to hide rape and assault were stronger and more enveloping. I had indeed buried my injuries so deeply that I had not considered them for years. They were part of my youth, and not worthy of spending time on. I had survived and would continue without ever having to review the pain and horror again. Until Trump….

What has this to do with writing? Just this. I have had anger and despair rising up in me in waves, with pain adding a slight piquancy to the mix. I was in danger of exploding at the least provocation, and I knew for my own sanity I had to find a way to tamp it down. I turned to a form of writing which I have used to deal with issues of depression and suicide in the past few years. I have been writing poems. The original ones were wrenching to me, causing me to desire drink or some other means of escape. I knew I was improving when the poems turned more to the failures of Trump as a human being, and less on the damage he had done. But I finally succeeded in writing a witty poem, denigrating Trump as nastily as I could. And with that, although not healed, I am back on a more even keel.

I have done something I’ve never done before. I have submitted some of the poems for publication. Accordingly, I can’t share them with you here. But I’ll keep you informed of any acceptances and let you know if, by any slight, slim chance, they are accepted for publication.

3 thoughts on “Writing Again, But Poetry?

  1. Martha Kennedy

    I know. I’ve sometimes thought of writing all the horrors (no exaggeration) to which I was subjected in my 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s but I don’t think anyone would believe it except other women of our generation. Part of me absolutely hates men, categorically, across the board and I think they deserve it. It passed suspicion after the ejection of the Evil X and turned into hatred. I know there are nice men and I know some, but deep inside, I believe all men are perfectly able of grabbing a woman by her arms, leaving thumbprints, and shoving her against a wall and either fucking her or slapping her or both. That’s where my life journey has led me and watching Trump debate HRC brought it all back to me in waves of PTSD. Sorry, guys, but as Mark Twain wrote in “The Diary of Adam and Eve,” “The burned experiment shuns the fire.”

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    1. bhalsop Post author

      I agree. I have a few very good male friends, including two of them progressive pols here in Vermont, that give me some hope for the gender. There are other good men in the UU Church I attend, though even they occasionally need little nudges. I know some men who would never grab a woman a la Trump, but enough others who would if a little in their cups. Workshopping my rape poem and other ones that explored my deep anger and animosity was much easier among women, though the few men involved said they were eye-opening. Why should I have to write a poem in 2016 to open someone’s eyes that should have been opened decades ago? I also wonder why men have not seen what assholes some men are. I had an interesting talk with a man in his 80s who had to be showed the way in which a man in my workshop treated me to understand how offensive it was. He got it, but he’s reluctant to make waves. He sees both sides, and I suspect, while he’d like to side with me, he is too conditioned to understand the guy’s view.

      Hopefully, we’re the last generation to have lived through this horror, and our feminist heirs will find a better way to deal with it.

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