The Poet’s Eye: Winter ’11

The Poet’s Eye: Winter ’11

In our Winter ’11 edition, THE POET’S EYE features ANNA’S ESTATE by Grace Cavalieri, Walking the edge of the windowpane by Elizabeth Potter, and What We Deserve by Sonya Renee Taylor; from Poetry Co-Editor Sarah Browning.

Anna’s Estate: by Grace Cavalieri
At the ½ star hotel
the lower lip is painted bigger, to match
her dreams of being a star.
She blessed the lumpy beds, bought her own silk sheets.
This was before the moral issues, the legal issues,
the spirit of the law, the letter of the law,
the causes of death, junkies, drug addicts,
probable criminal cause, bodies exhumed,
frozen sperm, mystery sons,
living in sorrow, wrongful death,
undue influences.
Before the opalescent oceans
where she could never find the truth in things,
where she wanted a photo album so bad,
so she wouldn’t die without memories —
one day, standing at the free continental breakfast
dragging her sleeve in the jelly,
someone walked by, touching her waist like a prayer,
like an enfranchisement,
and she was on her way,
in a dress made for someone much smaller,
trusting a stranger because he said,
The Good Lord can’t see what happens in Hollywood.

Grace Cavalieri is the author of several books and chapbooks of poetry, the latest collection of poems is “Navy Wife” (2010, Casa Menendez.) She founded, and still produces, public radio’s “The Poet and the Poem” now entering its 34th year on-air; and now from The Library of Congress. The play “Quilting the Sun” about ex slave Harriet Powers is slated for a new production in South Carolina (Nov. 2011). Her play on the life and work of Mary Wollstonecraft is the award-winning “Hyena in Petticoats.” Her forthcoming play, “Anna Nicole: Blonde Ambition,” is slated for March 2011.

©Aminah Lynn Robinson

Walking the edge of the windowpane by Elizabeth Potter

with the fat flies and wintered-over ladybugs
trying to find a way out of this
ersatz world.

I sit shaved, conditioned, moisturized
heated to perfect warmth,
so I’ll slip out
flawlessly from the injection mold

into the hands of people
with big ideas for me.

I might make it possible to do yet
more in less time..
perhaps even access more pleasure –

the way a slim ergonomic remote
fits into the curve of your hand,

all the buttons within easy reach
to bring you the world
with just one pulse
of the finger.

Elizabeth Potter’s poetry has been published in journals and newspapers throughout New England, most recently in “Wife of Bath,” the “Aurorean,” and “Yankee Magazine” in its online edition.

©Aminah Lynn Robinson

What We Deserve – By Sonya Renee Taylor

Culturally-diversified biracial girl with
a small diamond nose ring and a pretty smile
poses besides the words
“Women Deserve Better”.

and I almost let her non-threatening grin
begin to infiltrate my psyche
until I read the unlikely small print
at the bottom of the ad:
Sponsored by the US Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities
and the Knights of Columbus

On a bus
in a city
with a population of 553,000,
4 teenage mothers on the bus with me,
1 Latina woman with 3 children under 3
and no signs of a daddy.

One sixteen year old black girl
standing in 22-degree weather
with only a sweater
a book bag
and a bassinette,
with an infant that ain’t even four weeks yet
tell me that Yes ….

Women do deserve better.

Women deserve better
than public transportation rhetoric
from the same people who
won’t give that teenage mother
a ride to the next transit.
Won’t let you talk to their kids about safer sex
Have never had to listen as the door SLAMS
behind the man who adamantly says,
“That shit” ain’t his
leaving her to wonder how she’ll raise this kid.

Women deserve better
than the 300 dollars TANF and AFC
will provide that family of three
or the 6 dollar an hour job at KFC
with no benefits for her new baby
or the college degree she may never see
because you can’t have infants at the university

Women deserve better
than lip service paid for by politicians
who have no alternatives to abortion
though I am sure
right this moment one of their seventeen year old daughters
is sitting in a clinic lobby
sobbing quietly and anonymously
praying parents don’t find out
or will be waiting for mom to pick her up because research shows
that out-of-wedlock childbirth doesn’t look good on political polls and
Daddy ain’t having that.

Women deserve better
than backwards governmental policies
that don’t want to pay
for welfare for kids
or health care for kids
or child care for kids
Don’t want to pay living wages to working mothers,
Don’t want to make men who only want to be last night’s lovers
responsible for the semen they lay.

Flat out don’t want to pay for SHIT
but want to control the woman who’s having it.
Acting outraged at abortion.
Well I’m outraged
that they want us to believe
that they believe
that women deserve better.

The Vatican won’t prosecute pedophile priests
But I decide I’m not ready for motherhood
and it’s condemnation for me
These are the same people who won’t support
national condom distribution to prevent teenage pregnancy.
But women deserve better.

Women deserve better
than back-alley surgeries
that leave our wombs barren and empty.
Deserve better
than organizations bearing the name
of land-stealing racist rapists
funding million dollar campaigns on subway trains
with no money to give these women
while balding middle-aged white men
tell us what to do with our bodies
while they wage wars and kill other people’s babies

So maybe women deserve better
than propaganda and lies
to get into office
Propaganda and lies
to get into panties
to get out of court
to get out of paying child support

Get the hell out of our decisions
and give us back our voice
Women do deserve better
Women deserve choice

Sonya Renee Taylor is an award-winning, world-renowned performance poet, educator, and activist. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, magazines, and anthologies including “Spoken Word Revolution: Redux.” Sonya tours nationally and internationally and recently released her debut collection of poetry, “A Little Truth on Your Shirt.”

©Aminah Lynn Robinson