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Blue Blanket - Andrea Gibson

Still
there are days
when there is no way
not even a chance
that I dare for even a second glance at the reflection of my body in the mirror and she knows why
like I know why she only cries when she feels she's about to loose control
she knows how much control is worth
knows how much a woman can loose when her power to move
is take away
by a grip so thick with hate it could
clip the wings of god
send the next eight generations of your blood shaking
and tonight something inside me is breaking
my heart beating so deep beneath the sheets of pain
I could give every tear she's crying a name
a year
and a face I'd forever erase if I could just like she would
for you
or me
but how free would any of us be if even a few forgot what too many women in this world cannot
and what the hell would you tell your daughter?
your someday-daughter when you have to hold her beautiful face to the beat-up face of this place that hasn't learned the meaning of STOP
stop
what would you tell you daughter
of the womb raped empty?
the eyes swollen shut, the gut too frightened to hold food, it was seven minutes of the worst kind of hell
seven
and she stopped believing in heaven
mistrust became her law, fear her bible, the only chance of survival
don't trust any of them
bolt the doors to your home, iron-gate the windows, walking to the car alone, get the key in the lock like
please
please, please, please open
like already she can feel the five-fingered noose around her neck, two-hundred pounds of hate digging graves into the sacred soil of her flesh
please
please, please, please, please open
already she can hear the broken-record of the defense:
"answer the question, answer the question, answer the question miss"
why am I on trial for this?
would you talk to your mother, your daughter, your sister like this?
I am generations of mothers, daughters, sisters
bodies battlefields, war zones beneath the weapons of your brothers' hands
do you know they've found land mines in broken women's souls?
black holes in the parts of their hearts that once sang symphonies of creation as bright as the light on infinity's halo?
she said, I remember how love used to glow like glitter on my skin before he made his way in, now every touch feels like a sin that could crucify medusa
kali oshun mary, bury me in a blue blanket so god doesn't know I'm a girl, cut off my curls, I want peace when I'm dead
her friend knocks at the door, it's been three weeks, don't you think it's time you got out of bed? no.
the ceiling fan still feeling like his breath, I think I need just a few more days of rest
bruises on her knees from begging to forget
she's heard stories of vietnam vets who can still feel the tingling of their amputated limbs
she's wondering how many women are walking around this world still feeling the tingling of their amputated wings, remembering what it was to fly, to sing
tonight
she's not wondering what she would tell her daughter
she knows what she would tell her daughter, she'd ask her what gods do you believe in?
I'll build you temple of mirrors so you can see them
pick the brightest star you ever wished on and I'll show the light in you that made that wish come true
tonight
she's not asking what you would tell your daughter, she's life deep in the hell
the slaughter
has already died a thousand deaths with every unsteady breath
a thousand graves ib every pore of her flesh
and she
knows the war's not over, she knows there's bleeding to come
knows she's far from the only woman or girl trusting this world no more than the hands trust rusted barbed wire
she was whole before that night, believed in heaven before that night
and she knows she won't be the only one, no she knows she won't be the only one
she's not asking
what you're gonna tell your daughter, she's asking what
you're gonna teach
you're son.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Christina Stopka Rinnert
Apr. 15th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
thank you!
This poem is amazing. I keep coming back to it - over and over. Having survived - strike that THRIVED after some pretty horrible things, she has this exactly right. Why do we think we only need to tell our daughters? Where are the mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles when the instruction of our sons is happening? What are we telling them, in such subtle ways that even we are not aware, what are we telling them about the value of women when we have such brutality (and sexuality) thrust at us from every medium possible? I wrote a poem about what I'm telling my daughter AND what I'm teaching my son. Andrea: if I were your Momma, I would weep with tears of gratitude and wonder that God had given me such a daughter.

What will I teach my son,
You ask me,
While I am teaching my daughter
To spread her wings
Into the warmth of the sun
So she can fly;
Spread her arms and
Leap, soaring on a
Wind of her own choosing?

What will I teach my son
So he knows
That stop means stop
And no means no
And wings are not to be
Clipped, or
Slapped, or
Tortured into
Toys for mens desires?

I will teach him
To listen to the wind,
To hear the cries of girls
In faraway lands,
Whose tears wash dirt and blood,
But never memory, away.
Listen for the sounds
Of feathers, light and determined,
Pushing against the confines
Of hands and chains
Of duty and madness -
Teach him
"It is your obligation
To hear those cries
And free those wings
To step up
To the task,
To speak out
Against the insanity;
To reach with open arms,
To unshackle the bound."

While I am teaching my daughter
To embrace the wind
With wings as strong as steel,
I will teach my son
To embrace the daughters
To listen, to act, to feel.
inventloveani
Apr. 16th, 2011 12:30 am (UTC)
Re: thank you!
This is beautiful! I'm so pleased to see that other people are as awed by her beautiful insight as I am. She should know that she inspires other people to write poetry as well, and that her words change so many lives. I think our sons are being lost. In so many ways, they feel shunned and confused because the bottom line is, in my opinion, we DON'T teach our sons. We spend so much time warning our daughters about the dangers of the evil world, to look out for men, but we expect our sons to know exactly how to navigate around their own minds, expect them to know what instincts to follow and which ones to deny.
It's great to hear other people's thoughts- keep on thriving!!!
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