How to be a woman? – Megha Sood

There are rules to be followed
guidelines to be remembered
regulations to be followed
to the T.

before I can call myself a woman
a lady like appearance–
an ever-present grin on my face
smiling from ear to ear,
just to ease you into the life
as you please.

I should bow down in obedience
should never raise my voice
walk with the stoop of discipline
and eat with your hand.
With the freedom, you have handed me on the plate
Like I was the chosen one, you see

Oh! that skirt is a little shorter than we expected
see it clearly fails to keep those lurking demon
inside their skin.
Now, you have shown them
too much flesh
now they will come out
will rip you into shreds
and devour your soul from within.

“I told you” they will say
keep your voice down
the patriarchy can’t handle you pitch
they are tone-deaf to your songs of freedom
every war cry of yours
is not more than a mere screech

Give in to the fear of those jackals
those protectors lurking in the dark
they are the guardians,
the unabashed kings
of this society.

So next time the world tries to
teach me how to be a women
/an epitome of grace and elegance/
they should come and witness the scars
I bore on my body.

and the glow I carry
which can put their
thousand suns to shame
a sight their shameful eyes
can’t bear to see.


Megha Sood lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. She is a contributing member at Free Verse Revolution, Heretics, Lovers and Madmen, Sudden Denouement, Whisper and the Roar, GoDogGoCafe and Poetry editor at Ariel Chart. Over 300+ works in journals including Better than Starbucks, FIVE:2: ONE, KOAN, Kissing Dynamite, Mojave Heart Review, Adelaide, Foliate Oak. Visitant Lit, Quail Bell, Dime show review, etc. and works featured/upcoming in 20 other print anthologies by the US, Australian, and Canadian Press. Two-time State-level winner of the NAMI ( National Alliance on Mental Illness) NJ Poetry Contest 2018/2019.National level poetry finalist in Poetry Matters Prize 2019. Poetry selected multiple times for Genre Night reading by Jersey City Writers group and events sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs. She blogs at https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/ and tweets at @meghasood16.

Are You Fucking New Here?- A Weyward Sisters Collaboration

Originally published on Sudden Denouement

You dropped by today
dissected my verse
thoughtfully pointed out
all the ways I could
smooth out my edges
improve flow
to slide more gently past
your discerning eyes
you must be fucking new here
if you think
I was asking for it
not a fan of unsolicited advice
my “friend”
I like my truth
raw
bloody
with a hint of lemon for acidity
that stings going down

(Christine E. Ray)

Oh, hello,
I didn’t see you there
although I can already tell you like to stare,
as if it is your obligation
to females everywhere.
And everywhere you seem to be.
You’re the type who lingers in keyboards,
assaulting our letters
with ones you would never dare to speak.
You’re the type who visits galleries just to sigh,
point out the vulvas in the petals
and tut at a landscape you’ve never visited.
You’re the type who slumps way down in the theatre,
feigning sleep during her monologue
because it is ‘feminist and shit’, and yet
she’ll be the only one on your mind
when you reach down tonight.
Oh, how do I know this? 
Why, because you always come back for more.
For more of my letters, pretty letters,
your coeliac stomach cannot wait to reject.

(Kristiana Reed)

You stab me with a misplaced comma’s edge,
expect me to bleed ink, but I blossom gold
leaf, like pages of a holy tome, and your
lines of prose crackle in my burning gale.
I am more word than woman, you see
and I am truth, your haunting just ghost
of all those who said no, who pushed me
down stairs of paragraphs, but I got grit,
I grew wings of paper, from you I fly.

(Allie Nelson)

hey you there –
with the pursed lips
and furrowed brow
click-clacking
your studied
critical analysis
of these driblets
of my life’s blood.
you must be fucking new here
if you mistake
the penning
of my soul
upon the page
as a request
for literary critique.
this, here
is the juice of my carotid
scrawled with fingertips
as I apply
tourniquet and poultice.
your worded attempts
to package my agony
into neat and tidy
boxes
are ill-advised salt flakes
poured into my wounds.

(Aurora Phoenix)

Soft upon the scene
He entered
Mushy odorless rambling
Entailed:
“Darling, how are you faring?
Your words are dancing in my soul
Your star shines upon my dreams.”
going after me
Feeling my every words’ step
With a presumptuous club
White and black penned music
That clawed silence to my ears:
“You are the brightest…
Fade away, you heartless beast!”

(Iulia Halatz)

i picked up my pen and out came all of me.
it poured and poured,
filling space with untrained words and anarchy,
sharpened love, feelings bent,
a keenness breathed without judgement,
ink balled with mercy
into something of me that might speak in truth.
but you sat and held your cup,
and watched it spill.
you put it in your cabinet
with a yellow note: ‘could do better.’
i would those curling lips
might taste the poison in the teacup
between your eyes;
that is where the horror really lies.

(Lois E. Linkens)

You must be new here, because tact and common decency seem lost on you. You see, it is not okay to call a woman by any other name than the one she has given — so don’t call me Baby and I won’t call you Tiny. It is not okay to insert yourself in my life and assume I need your sage advice — if I want to know, I will ask. Do not presume to know what I am thinking, or what my heart is trying to say — because you can be damn sure that if I wrote the words, I meant each and every one of them. I’m not perfect, and I never claimed to be, but I don’t need a lecture on semantics or grammar — I’ve had more than enough schooling and experience to know my own mind. But, if you really are new here, remember this one simple rule: if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
(Sarah Doughty)

You enter my house and
manhandle my verse. You
wonder why my
heart spurts crimson with
every heavy beat—
pressure me for information.
Why so mocking?
Why so angry?
Why the foul language? Bitch,
you must be fucking new here
if you expect an
explanation.
Cos I don’t answer stupid
questions.
Grow a brain, and
get a clue.

(Kindra M. Austin)

she must be mad II – Robert G Wertzler

“Insanity – a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.”

“We are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love.” [R. D. Laing]

In a world run by madmen
She must be mad too
The choice is between
Being mad in the way
They see as sane
Or mad in a different way
One in keeping with her truth
Truth at once new and ancient
One in accord with her nature
And with nature’s nature
This is the sane madness
To change a madmen’s world


Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”

Shrill: Notes from a loud woman – Susan M. Conway

Side eyes as I slide by, my perfume thick and heady, like my thighs-I am expected to disguise the perfect of creation.

But they don’t get it yet, you see…to them the glory of the mystery is lost in the trees, and I am the forest, the goddess, the moon, and so are they; but shame runs out their vagina each month so they hide in lies and lives that are stories and stories of houses that have only hauntings roaming their halls at night.

And what of the days?

What have you made of them?

What have they made of you?

And what of the ways of the ancient wild women before you? What have you made of them, you soft bellied mute, you tender hearted fuse.

You chose society as your muse; they shushed your screaming from the moment you were born. And now, you shame your sister for her loud, her tears, her fears, her refusal to sit down and be quiet.

When did you become them?

Why did you become them?

Do you remember your right to feel it all, and the freedom of letting one else’s shit go, especially your own?

 


Susan M. Conway is an acclaimed fiction novelist, blogger, and mother of two. She resides in Northeast Georgia, where she lives a quiet life. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening and cooking for her family. Susan is a passionate and fiery social justice warrior, mental health advocate, and mentor in the BDSM, Kink, and Fetish lifestyles, striving to empower, embolden, and open healthy dialogues about a variety of social issues.

You can read more of her writing at The Ginger Post

Featured Post: she must be mad – Robert G Wertzler

Mad? You say she’s mad?
She must be to so complain
To challenge how it’s always been
To think she could ever be his equal
To deny his right to the use of her
To so fly in the face of the natural order
To not understand that God is male
To seek to define her own place
To not accept there must always be
One above and one below and
Deny his right to be above her
And make him fear
She means to rule over him
No, it is not that sort of “Mad”
It is not insanity
It is rage
It is fed up to barfing
On the lies and bullshit
On the abuse and disrespect
Yes, she is mad, mad as Hell
And she will not be silenced


Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”

Featured Post: she must be mad – Tamara Fricke

stark raving
and bat shit smeared
I care nothing for anything
that does not rejoice
in my sister’s curves

that does not dissolve
in the plaited luxury
of her voice

that refuses to surrender
to a body of knowledge
more profound
than Challenger Deep

“she must be mad”
only scratches the surface
of 30 days of bleeding
of 15 years of conceding
of 45 years of screaming
for the dying cacophony
smothered in unrelenting
testosterone leaded folds

I no longer know
when anger and insanity
fused and usurped my blood
but certainty foretells
this red bolt lightning will repeat
with rejoined acuity
singing for the anglerfish
weeping ink in the stalls
equanimously sure
I am not mad
at all


Tamara Fricke is the 2010 co-winner of the Gertrude Claytor Award of the Academy of American Poets and is previously published by The Lyon Review, Meat for Tea, Attack Bear Press Poetry Vending Machine, Whisper and the Roar, We Will Not Be Silenced, and has been included in a number of compilations.  Her poetry chapbook Our Requiem was released in 2014.  She lives in Springfield, MA, with an ungrateful cat, where she writes grants professionally.

Featured Post: Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and Other Lies) – Tamara Fricke

two women
changed a car battery
and a man had to supervise
lest they blew a whole
through reality
and let sulfuric acid
corrode the very
chains that bind us

ignorant to the fires
that are decimating
our lungs, that man
held fast to his crop
speculating on futures
where a black woman
with beaded red braids
nails sharper than razor wire
and a white woman
with grease on her face
fell to their feet
as his white horse appeared,
conveniently forgetting
he’s already killed us
well and good

pink manicure in tact
wiper blades replaced
both women ignored
his high five, shook hands
and parted ways
understanding the world
was already, melting away


Tamara Fricke is the 2010 co-winner of the Gertrude Claytor Award of the Academy of American Poets and is previously published by The Lyon Review, Meat for Tea, Attack Bear Press Poetry Vending Machine, Whisper and the Roar, We Will Not Be Silenced, and has been included in a number of compilations.  Her poetry chapbook Our Requiem was released in 2014.  She lives in Springfield, MA, with an ungrateful cat, where she writes grants professionally.