Tuesday, December 19, 2017

How Do You Feel? (Slam)

Do you come from a land down under
Where women glow and men plunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder
You better run, you better take cover - "Down Under" Men at Work 1981

They "out" them now,
Even if they so much as touch a thigh
Briefly, softly, surreptitiously.
What were they thinking?

Those men who now give us no second glance.
At board-room meetings they ignored us.
Spoke over us as they shuffled their papers
Leisurely, making us wait for their self-important words.
A woman’s place was in the bed.

Devoured, we were undressed by elderly oyster eyes
By men who thought they were god’s gift
They could not get enough of us
Our bodies that is, for they had no interest
In our souls.

On trains, in the streets, at business meetings
In the homes of our boyfriends’ fathers
Droit de seigneur reinterpreted
No part of us, no place was safe.

Now we who were once game to be chased, devoured
Undressed obscenely by primeval eyes
Are unseen, meat well-past its prime.
As the poet sang
We are invisible now, with no secrets to conceal

My daughter wrote that on seeing her
Grown men shudder, warriors huddle together and
She once saw a man rip out his own eyes rather than catch a glimpse of her
Once groped, fondled no matter how young
Yes young, not old.

And now the tide has turned
And these men can do nothing
No touching now.
Nothing, nothing is appropriate

They lose their jobs
With no questions asked
From prime-time to no-time
Their fame obliterated from public memory.
Their wives leave them; their books are burned.

It is ‘revenge’, and they deserve it
A friend espoused.
They are suffering now
For all those years they disrespected us.

Maybe, but it is unjust, because as in war
It is young men
The innocent, who will bear the brunt
Who will suffer the punishment
For the sins of old men.