Each month, women behind bars in Burlington, VT write with their community mentors as part of writinginsideVT. Of course, the mentors will leave after the two hour session – a fact that always tugs at their hearts.
In this particular session, after mentor/mentee pairs shared individual writings prompted by the poem ‘Prayer’ by Lisa Colt, they were invited to put their words together in joint found poems. The poem, below, weaves all those words into one found poem that truly expresses the universality of our lives as women, inside or out. Our desires, our fears, our longings for personal growth and change.
Let the Heart Lead the Beat
let me abandon shame
blame that solves nothing
the deepest wound, the misguided light
that demonize one’s misfortunes
let my inner darkness peel away
let me step into the light of my own soul
filled with exhilaration and fear –
abundance is not shameful Read more…
Last Thursday, we sat in a stuffy, overly hot and overly filled windowless room to write about women. The women we admire, the women we wish to become, the women we wish to emulate, the women who raised us. Women who honor their lives, who author their lives, who tell the stories of their lives. We were inspired by the poem, “Imagine a Woman (Patricia Lynn Reilly) and many incarcerated women chose to start their writing with a line from that poem.
At the end of our 90 minutes together, we had 17 pieces ranging from letters to deceased great-grandmothers, to poems naming powerful women influences in our lives that included aunt and sisters, to gratitudes for mothers we had missed growing up, to a memorial for a dear service provider recently deceased. Read more…
For me, I was raised the right way by my mom.
When we moved to Vermont, everything changed.
I met my dad, the real dad I’d never known.
He seemed so cool at first, let me smoke cigarettes
when I was about 12, and then come 13 to 15,
I was doing my first pill with him. After that first
pill came crack, then heroin. Now this affected
my whole life! I’ve never known any different,
just what I’ve seen and done through my dad’s eyes.
I left my mom to stay with him. My mom told me
not to, but she was not smart enough or
strong enough to say “no” to my father. I hurt
her to no repair. I regret that every day! Read more…
..meaning enough chitter-chatter about the work and economic independence challenges facing young women and girls in the state, and let’s get to ACTION and change the trend.
(FYI, women are twice as likely as men to live in poverty, both in Vermont and nationally.)
ENOUGH SAID – Young Women Talk about School, Work and Becoming Adults: Why We Should Listen and What We Can Do was released by Vermont Works for Women at the State House this week.
The nonprofit org, based in Winooski, helps women and girls recognize their potential and explore, pursue, and excel in work that leads to economic independence. Read more…