the last women alive

She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.
-Proverbs 31:25

A woman is like a teabag, you cannot tell how strong she it until you put her in hot water. – Nancy Reagan

What if we were the last women left alive? What if it all went wrong–horseman and trumpets, flood, general annihilation, and the only building left in the world was the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility and we had to rebuild civilization with what was left? What would the new world know?

Below, you’ll read what. We asked that question last Thursday and we didn’t deny we all think about it. Those doors close behind you with a metal clench that resounds off the cinderblocks and you think, “What if these are the last wall I see? The last faces?” But you shrug it off, that fatalistic notion. We sit down and make a life for ourselves in that room. We assess, as a group, what we have, what it means to live, to think, to write, to be a woman, man, human.

This month is women’s history month so we’re focusing on what it means to carry around any aspect of the feminine. After I read the poem, these women set up trust faster than you can inflate a life raft and just about covered it – the loss, triumph, beauty, strength, vulnerability – the grit and gold of the feminine all lived for a couple hours in that room. It was more than enough, near enough to build a world on. You’ll see. Read on.

FOUND POEM – 3/12/15 Continue reading

heart afire

golden flaming heart

credit – catherine stine

In honor of National Women’s History month, we opened last week’s group with Marge Piercy’s fiery call to action, ‘The Low Road.’ You might want to listen to this moving rendition by Staceyann Chin to give you an idea of how the power builds through the poem.

It might have already been in the air, but electricity was flying around our meeting room by the time we reached the end of the poem. Women couldn’t get their pens out fast enough. The writings were filled with a power that could only spell the confluence of energies. And the best part is, I believe the call to action you read below really will lead to action, to change. Because the group has heard her words, and has responded with their own hearts afire.

My heart . . . there’s a fire in there burning hot . . . A fire that will never go out . . . Desire so strong I must speak out . . . I will not be silenced . . . As a child this fire took the form of rage and self destruction . . .  A helpless hopeless girl . . . no direction . . . misguided desire . . . blameless but responsible for all choices, even the ones she never made . . . Never made a difference, just took it . . . NO MORE

I will fight back, not only with meaningless words but with action . .  and love . . . I need an outlet. .. All these ideas . . . I’ve always felt that I’d be judged or maybe thought to be dumb or crazy, but I don’t care . .  I can’t, I won’t contain the fire of who I am any more . .

My dream to help women who can’t help themselves, women or children who don’t realize that there are always choices . . .  even when it seems like you’re backed into a corner. I wanna be that person for someone else, the person I never had . . . I’ll start small with what I can reach rite now By talking and building momentum, by making everyone believe in us, by believing in myself. Through action and perseverance we can accomplish anything. I desire for all of us to open our eyes and become the untapped potential in our hearts. I have no idea how I’m going to do any of this. Just love and kindness and hope.

We can do anything. I know if I can change something here, I can carry that over. I can change everything . . . I can struggle for what I believe in most — freedom and education . . . Knowledge is power and so is truth. Things I’ve never realized before . . . said them but never understood them . . .

We don’t have to be ‘inmates.’ We can be women determined to create the world the way we envision it. I know stuff like this takes a long time to accomplish, but like Sarah was sayin, it starts with one and I believe if we can think it, we can DO it . . .