Christine – an honoring

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You don’t know this

But if there is a warrior

That warrior is you

If anyone blazes the way and holds the torch for the light to get through

That woman is you

Because you feel the fear and do it anyway

You set fire to yourself and offer your ashes to the Phoenix

You are unstoppable even as they come at you with everything and more

You’re the wind in the willows, the avalanche, the fucking heartbeat of ten thousand voices

You are Boudicca

Riding your chariot through the Roman siege

You are the woman in ten-year old sweat pants making me laugh until I weeze

Who can smell an idea and rip the world in half with your passion

And when you think you’re just some old bird biding her days

We’re here to remind you of the shine you’ve bequeathed so many

Before you, those things weren’t the same

They were easily passed by, easily put aside

And you said, hell no, and picked them up and gave them value

You galvanized the lost and herded them into something strong

We exist as we do BECAUSE OF YOU

You mock yourself because it’s what you know, but if you could see

The places you touch with your dreams and how they leave us

Better than we were

You’d be finally proud of your legacy thus far

And damn if nothing will ever stop you

Because if it hasn’t by now, then nothing will

Even on your dark days remember, you lit the way girl, it was you

It was you we owe so much to

And you who conjured the dawn.

For Christine E. Ray on her last day at SD and the first day of the rest of her life. We love you woman.

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Honor

Honor

you are a thing best pressed flat beneath forgetful slats

do not appear and mock

my bare footed lack of

it wasn’t I who began

to defile myself nor

when they lined up and I nailed myself

it’s not always easy to tell

when the crime begot the criminal

or how the break is sometimes the very thing

you return to again and again

running your fingers down well-worn cracks

here fill it with gold, nay fill it with lead

somewhere on the metallurgic table of

elements

drown yourself with good intention

what is precious? what easily taken?

ladies are primroses, lasting just a season

bright like lipstick worn by a dowdy heart

seeking to alight in redemptive plait

weave yourself back into the story

i did not need to apply salve or solution

to garner night-time attention

it came before I knew its chiselled name

in the fingers and the undone buttons of

pain bottled by shaking hands

they swig their lurching tempers

they stomp their ashen parents

into dust for they are not much

more than living rust

growing barnacles and shame

by the wet pound

and I never knew

what it felt like to be proud

of my purity which hadn’t lasted into summer

nor the taint I grew to shape

into tempting cool drinks

sweating out the last of their

exposure under the scold

of impatient heat

that loss of

honor so definite

a mark on your brow

marring those who look

before ever you speak

a word of truth

none needed against

rude assume, leathery in

age, easier for the judge

to sear a girl for outlasting

their cored and pared

fruiting rage

How many women does it take?

It was raining the day the movers truck pulled up

piling furniture into the back, exposed to wet streets

everything dirty and unfamiliar

when you take your safety out of its box

when you unlatch your secrets

and expose the insides of a locket

sticky mouths seek to further that exposure

until nothing of your peace remains

but the belly of your secrets on display

as if you were sitting in class without underwear

as if the abuse etched in your soul were a t-shirt

as if his fingers weren’t in the dark but had been

dipped in luminescent paint and everywhere they went

left their grimy imprint / yet you think

this horror may have been the very best thing

as wretched as exposure may taste

at least it wouldn’t be a case of disbelief

how many women does it take?

for one person to not hesitate

how many must say;

he did this / that happened / we are not okay

because of this / why do I have to prove / with gore

and soiled soul / the truth / why isn’t it sufficient that I say

why why why

did he lay a hand on me?

how many women does it take?

a juror in the Bill Cosby case disclosed the reason for his guilty verdict;

I believed he was guilty because he said he had drugged girls

hearing it from the horses mouth got my vote

are we bidding on a horse? Did you check the inside of his mouth?

what of the SIXTY women who spoke?

their voices do not warrant proof?

were people just speaking words?

to deaf sign posts stating;

move on / get over it / don’t make a fuss / why should we believe you?

one person has lied before / you must be lying / that’s our automatic default

what hope then

for one girl?

one single soul

violated in the dark

of a house when all is moved out

and she is left inside a shell, within a shell

the echoes of trucks taking memories

somewhere else

how many women does it take?

to be heard.