Friday, June 29, 2007

Blue Blanket (Andrea Gibson)

I'm not sure why it's taken me this long to discover slam poet Andrea Gibson.

I found this Youtube video of her performing the piece, "Blue Blanket." (via)

I can't really say much about it. It kind of defies a wordy reaction, kind of defies speech in general.
But I will say this: I'm not a crier. I very rarely, if ever, cry. Especially about this kind of thing. Not anymore. But this piece? This performance? Brought the tears pretty close to falling. I still have chills.

And the words to "Blue Blanket," in print form.....


there are days

when there is no way

not even a chance

that i'd dare for even a second
glance at the reflection of my body in the mirror
and she knows why

like i know why
only cries
when she feels like she's about to lose control

she knows how much control is worth
knows what a woman can lose
when her power to move

is taken away

by a grip so thick with hate
it could clip the wings of god
leave the next eight generations of your blood shaking

and tonight something inside me is breaking

my heart beating so deep beneath the sheets of her pain
i could give every tear she's crying
a year---a name
and a face i'd forever erase from her mind if i could
just like she would
for me

or you

but how much closer to free would any of us be
if even a few of us forgot
what too many women in this world cannot
and i'm thinking

what the hell would you tell your daughter

your someday daughter
when you'd have to hold her beautiful face
to the beat up face of this place
that hasn't learned the meaning of


what would you tell your daughter
of the womb raped empty
the eyes swollen shut
the gut too frightened to hold food
the thousands upon thousands of bodies used and abused

it was seven minutes of the worst kind of hell

and she stopped believing in heaven
distrust 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 your windows
walking to your car alone
get the keys in the lock
please please please please open
like already you can feel
that five fingered noose around your neck
two hundred pounds of hatred
digging graves into the sacred soil of your flesh

please please please please open
already you're choking for your breath

listening for 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 daughter
your sister your mother like this
i am generations of daughters sisters mothers
our bodies battlefields
war grounds
beneath the weapons of your brother's 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
bright as the light on infinity's halo

she says
i remember the way 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 their 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


the ceiling fan still feels like his breath
i think i need just a couple more days of rest


bruises on her knees from praying 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
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 a temple of mirrors so you can see them!

pick the brightest star you've ever wished on
i'll show you the light in you
that made that wish come true!

tonight she's not asking
you 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 in every pore of her flesh
and she knows the war's not over
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's not the only one

she knows she won't be the only one
she's not asking what you're gonna tell your daughter
she asking what you're gonna teach

your son

Friday, June 22, 2007

untying the hands of international health NGOs

(Click to enlarge)

On a happier (!!!) note.......

The global gag rule could, potentially, be a little less of a "gag" soon.

Rep. Nita Lowey, (D-NY's 18th), successfully attached an amendment to the appropriations bill that would allow international NGOs working in developing nations who don't comply with the global gag rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy) to still receive contraceptives from US government aid agencies. The House voted 223-201 on the measure yesterday.

(One thing that's not clear in any of the articles I'm finding is whether or not this means that these NGOs would be able to receive monetary assistance from US aid agencies, which is also restricted now under the global gag rule. The articles I'm finding only mention them being able to receive donated contraceptives, not funding.)

Of course, any funding they get still can't go toward abortion services themselves. But that's not all that surprising, since federal funding can't even go toward abortions in our own country.

And, unsurprisingly, Bush is almost definitely going to veto the legislation when it comes to his desk. Because, obviously: Those cute little foreign babies! Abortion is murder! Decreasing the birth rates of brown people! Awful! ( now we're encouraging the population growth of people Not Like Us? I can't keep up with this shit. Oh, right -- giving them rights over their own bodies is encouraging their agency! We can't have that. All those people over there would get all uppity.) *coughcoughvomitvomit*

(The press release from Lowey's office about her amendment is here.)

Rape is in the eye of the beholder. Or something.

Maybe, at some point in my life, I'll actually write for this on a regular basis. But until then, it'll have to be saved for when I'm procrastinating or I have something really! important! to share or when, like now, I'm bored out of my mind. (Currently, the source of my boredom is this borrrrrrrrrrring temp job where they have nothing for me to do. Sup, ennui.)

So, we'll start with one of the most fucked up stories in the past week, out of Nebraska.

A judge there, Jeffre Cheuvront, presiding over a sexual assault case has (again) banned the words rape, sexual assault, victim, assailant, and sexual assault kit from the trial.
Doesn't make sense, right? You can't just bar a word that accurately describes a criminal act on the basis that it's allegedly "prejudicial."
More, this is actually the second trial for the same case; the first time around, the jury was hopelessly deadlocked at 7-5 after the judge had put in place the same language ban. Coincidence? I think not.

The best part: the word that both the defense and the prosecution are supposed to use? Sex. Because that, apparently, is an accurate term for rape. Same thing as consensual sex, you know.

As if there weren't enough hurdles to calling rape what it is to begin with. As if there wasn't enough victim-blaming as it is. As if victims don't blame themselves enough, don't minimize the attack enough themselves, don't feel quite enough shame about being raped. As if we needed something else like this.