Being a Woman in Times Like These

Notes:  For Sherry’s Prompt, Being a Woman in Times Like These, based on the book the Handmaid’s Tale.  Or write a poem about escaping abuse.  I have not read the book and to be honest, at this point I am not likely to.  This is not a political argument Sherry says.  I am instead relying on my study of Victorian times that I did to obtain my PhD in Fine Arts.  It is the best I can do.  I was employed in two male dominated professions and I fought every step of the way.  I succeeded mainly because I early said, Fuck You to the men in charge.  thank you Mama for giving me the guts to do so.


Being a Woman in Times Like These
“Confound it! It’s just because nobody does anything that things have come to this pass!”
― George Gissing, New Grub Street

women must submit to their husbands.
women cannot have abortions, talk of reproductive rights,
or pass reproductive information along.
women cannot vote.
women cannot be given their wages for work – it must be given to
their husbands, brothers, fathers or other male in charge of them.
women must dress in a style that restricts their movement –
corsets that keep them from taking deep breaths,
full skirts to the ground,
that restricts taking long strides or running
no slacks
women must cover their hair at all times
women must have children, take care of children,
work from dawn to after midnight
women must serve their men first during meals
and take what is left over,
women cannot be doctors, lawyers, engineers –
any employment that requires strength, intelligence, science
women can only be cooks, housekeepers, maids, shopkeepers
(but only if they have a man doing the books and keeping accounts)
women cannot read newspapers
women must listen to their husbands, brothers, fathers or other male in charge of them.
women must be meek and servile
women can only be silly and stupid and vapid,
or at least pretend to be.
women must pass these values along to their girl children.
women must obey these rules in the year 1890. It is of course, modern times.

Sevenling: A Little Night Music

Sevenling:  Night Music
“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!” ― Bram Stoker

in the warm summer night
music unites the voices of frogs, crickets,
cicadas and flying bats.

stars sing tales of travelers
and lovers and magicians
and lonely folk like me.

And every night they sing just for me.

Too Many Tears

For Bjorn’s prompt at dVerse Poets Pub – Proesy. I don’t know if I did this correctly. I don’t do fictional prose but I tried.  I don’t know if I care for this fictional form.

Too Many Tears

“Hey! If we can solve any problem, why do we lose so many tears” – Paul Young, Everytime you go away

You set off to parts unknown to charm us. You gave us yourself in limited doses. We traveled behind you and laughed, were horrified, were sobered to tears or shook our heads at our own foibles.

We do not know what you heard – what called you to your death. When far away an interrupted cry spoke to you out of the darkness and in its stopping, starting, stopping and starting again it finally called your name. We cannot know the sobs felt only in your chest or puzzles in your brain or the grief felt only in your soul. we knew your smile, your laughter, your wise words, your compassion. But did we really know you?  We only know we heard your silence as you hung there quiet and aloof.  We only knew the end of the story – the big surprise of the year.

Haibun: Beach Sand

For Marian’s prompt at Toads, one word: muddy

Haibun: Beach
“I wonder if my first breath was as soul-stirring to my mother as her last breath was to me.” Lisa Goich-Andreadis

My mother and I were a lot alike. One thing – we both hated getting our feet muddy. Walking in the dry soil of the garden, striding across the lawn in the dew of early morning, skipping in the waves of the ocean and dodging inbound crabs in the sand – yes. But muddy feet? No.

When I was interring her ashes in her mother’s grave, I took a ziploc bag of North Carolina beach sand and put some into the hole I had dug. I poured in her ashes and then the rest of the sand. I patted it down firmly and placed several rocks on the place. Sweat dripped from my face like tears.
hot summer day –
buried in NC beach sand
that she loved dearly


Haibun: Oops!

For my Wednesday Muse prompt:  I Love to Laugh. A haibun. A prosimetric form that is true and ended with a seasonal haiku. Jeff was my dear friend who reminded me a lot of Robert Preston in Victor/Victoria. He committed suicide last year 6/7/2018. I miss him greatly and he still makes me laugh.

 “A friend is a gift you give yourself. “Robert Louis Stevenson

We had a new employee coming into our agency. My supervisor assured me I would like him. Jeff was introduced to us at a unit breakfast and the supervisor was right – we took to each other like pancakes and maple syrup.

The next day we went out to lunch. As we were walking down the hill to a cafe  the elastic in my underwear snapped. Slowly my underpants creeped down. I kept stopping to pull them up. Finally Jeff said, Girl, what is your problem? I confessed. My elastic snapped and my underpants keep slipping. We stopped while Jeff pondered for a moment. I know. You slip into this alley way and shuck them off. I will stand outside and guard you. So I did. Luckily I was wearing a denim jumper.

Jeff asked me what color they were. I asked him why? He grinned and said, If I see a drunk wandering on the street wearing them as a hat, I just want to identify the owner.  I giggled . Fuschia .  We went back to the office laughing uproariously. We laughed about this for years . It didn’t help that we had gotten high as kites while out of the office.
hot summer in the city –
alleys hide secrets in them –
laughter lasts forever

Haibun: Black Dragon

For dVerse Poets, a quadrille.  The word for today Is “dragon”.

黒い竜 Kuroi ryū (black dragon)

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit or There and Back Again

He reminded me of a black dragon – lethal, beautiful.  He moved with a suppleness that hypnotized me. But in the summer he returned to his mountain in Japan.  Alone in his cave he  smoldered.
deep summer night
in the darkness –
the first firefly awakens


Japanese dragons have four claws on each “hand”.  their colors are significant.  a black dragon is the ultimate in dangerous being and they also, possess a gentle wisdom.

The Ghost at Shibden Hall

The Ghost at Shibden Hall
the halls are empty now –
the bed is no longer slept in,
the table is empty at breakfast,
the sure quick steps are stilled.
only the scratching of her pen is heard
and the whispers to her lover.
A presence is seen,
palely like light through a lace curtain.
six months dead before she arrived again home.
courage, she whispers.
be strong…
I rise above…
the slide of black silk on floors,
the generous laugh,
the clink of teacup against saucer…
a passing reflection in the window.
snow falls gently outside.
there’s a ghost at Shibden Hall.

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