Monday, November 29, 2010


I've listened to Ani Difranco's performance of this poem enough in the past two days that I thought a transcription was warranted. Yes, others have put copies of this online... but those versions don't match the one that I've been listening to. And, admittedly, I wanted to write this out. Word for word.
The written version in no way holds a candle to the spoken word. Click on the title to listen.


Manhattan is an island

like the women who are

surrounded by children in a

car surrounded by cars

Or, Manhattan was a project

that projected the worst of mankind

first one, and then the other has made its mark on my mind

It’s sixty years later

near the hypocenter of the A-bomb

I’m in the middle of Hiroshima

watching a twisted, old eucalyptus tree wave

one of the very few lives that survived and lives on

remembering the day it was suddenly thousands of degrees in the shade

And what all of nature gave birth to

terror took in a blinding rage

with the kind of pain it would take cancer

so many years just to say

Oh, to grow up gagged and blind folded

a mans' world in your little girls’ head

the voice of the Great Mother drowned out in the constant

honking haunting of the car crash up ahead.

Oh, to grow up hypnotized

and then try to shake yourself awake

cuz you can sense what has been lost

cuz you can sense what is at stake

Yea, so it took me a few years to catch on

that those days I catch everyone’s eye

correspond with those nights of the month when

the moon gleams like an egg in the sky

and men are using a sense they didn’t know they had

just to watch me walk by

and me, I’m supposed to be sensible

leave my animal outside to cry

But when all of nature conspires to make me her glorious whore

it’s cuz in my body I hold the secret recipe of precisely what life is for

and the patriarchy that looks to shame me for it

is the same one making war

and I’ve said too much already, but I’ll tell you something more

to split yourself in two

is just the most radical thing you can do

so girl, if that shit ain’t up to you

then you simply are not free

cuz from the sunlight on my hair

to which eggs I grow to term

to the expression that I wear

all I really own is me

Yes, to split yourself in two

is just the most radical thing you can do

Goddess forbid that little adam should grow so jealous of eve

and in the face of the great farce of the nuclear age

feminism ain’t about equality, it’s about reprieve

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Female Ability

feminism |ˈfeməˌnizəm|
the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

In order to graduate on time from Westminster College, I was not able to double-major or minor in psychology. Instead, I took the non-credible route of taking as many psych classes as possible. Within that salad bowl of courses was one called Psychology of Gender, in which our mantra was "gender is a social construct.... gender is learned..."

My most recent paper looked at Exodus 15:1-21, a song which ends in an additional song by the prophet Miriam. The skim milk version of my thesis is that, by looking at the editing done to the text, you will find that Miriam didn't actually respond with a repetition of the song, but was the invitation into song in the first place. The way that this passage is currently organized gives credit to Moses and the Israelites instead of Miriam.

You're probably aware of how this can be inspiring to me as a female entering into ministry; it helps to identify a role model within my tradition. But more importantly, it reminds me that countless others have done what I'm inspired to do... countless others have paved the way. The Book of Women's Sermons, edited by the Rev. Lee Hancock, is another source of inspiration and affirmation.

As our society tells young women to figure out who's the prettiest, who's the sexiest, or even who's the most unique, I'm reminded of Dar Williams' lyrics from As Cool As I Am,

"And then I go outside and join the others, I am the others...
I will not be afraid of women, I will not be afraid of women.

Here are two great women from my life: