Howl

Blind-by-stainedpaper paired with Howl
Image: “Blind” by Isobel Francisco, oil on canvas, 2014

written during my first week in Portugal on a writing prompt assigned by the gracious Denise Duhamel of DISQUIET, when my husband and I, jetlagged, both couldn’t sleep in our Rossio apartment, me writing while he played cards, until 2 AM

HOWL
after Amy Newman after Allen Ginsberg

For Adrienne Oliver

(Just Part I)

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by female limitations, frustrated fierce determined,
dragging themselves through clinics on clandestine afternoons looking for a quiet solution,
witch mamas conjuring great-grandmothers burned to the stake in the machinery of male libidos,  

who poverty and Salvation Army clothes and insomniac-eyed and Prozac-high sat up working in the wee hours of their second, third day-job floating across the tops of their minds contemplating career and family and the next meal,
who bared their brains to unplanned children and deadbeat dads under a judge’s dark cloth and rejected Mother Mary, her image manipulated on Cathedral walls stained-glass,
who could have passed through universities with radiant cool eyes reciting Shakespeare and predicting the crash of the stock market among men in dark suits,
who for a long time were excluded from the academies for their uterus & possessing the ability to bear children to the envy and ignorance of every unbearable man,
who cowered in bullet-ridden rooms with babies in their bellies or in their slender arms holding guns or knives for their protection and wondering if she would be the next that the masses would chant “Say Her Name,”
who got busted for simply being black or brown or transgender in their tight dresses or pajamas returning from abusive boyfriends with a knife of hope for their babies,
who ate what they could in rat-infested apartments in the Tenderloin, near-death, or prayed for their well-being night after night
with bricks, with imaginary wings, with day-old nightmares, alcohol and pussy and orgies,
incomparable blind streets of rumbling thunder and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of a decent place to live, begging for affordable housing while merciless landlords raise rents because they can,
A new kind of segregation, crackdens of lost hope, concrete jungle dawns, cell phone eyes glued to cell phone screens over the rooftops, expensive medical marijuana dispensaries blinking traffic light, eclipse and darkness and earthquake vibrations in the roaring forest fires of Oakland, ashcan rantings and quizzical queen light of mind,
who showed up in Handmaid’s Tale costumes storming the steps of the capitol, My Body, My Choice, battling the drainage of brilliance in the dreary light of Gynotician,
who sank all night in chamber darkness and sat through the stale beer afternoon in Adams Morgan, waiting for the next SCOTUS decision threatening to shut down 200 health clinics at the crack of doom,
who talked continuously like Wendy Davis, catheter-strapped, donning a pair of pink running sneakers under her power suit and staging an 11-hour filibuster against an abortion bill that set stiff restrictions across Texas,
a lost battalion but who “Guaranteed to outrun patriarchy” as sold by Amazon the next day, resorting to clandestine abortions over 300-mile commutes to the nearest clinic under misogynistic laws in Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana courtrooms,
yacketayakking screaming vomiting raising fists and kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality,
whole intellects taken apart by white supremacists who claim All Lives Matter, when it’s just meat and fire for the supremacists to troll on Twitter,
who pointed out the tiki torches on social media as if they were white people’s own invention and their hate speech masked under free speech,
suffering batons and handcuffs and bullets under chokehold hands while cell phones record live on the sidewalk and still white people don’t believe,
who marched and marched and marched all day on freeways and streets, holding thousands of candles and broken hearts over Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Korryn Gaines,
who lit cigarettes in beat-up cars hoping to not get pulled over for sleeping in the backseat,
who would’ve liked to study Law and Criminal Justice if only the system instinctively vibrated at their feet in the ghetto,
who loned it through the streets of San Francisco and Oakland seeking solace and financial aid angels who were solace and financial aid,
who thought they were only poor when DirecTV and the latest IPhone were the last things one could afford,
who jumped in bed with the least desirable man on the impulse of adoration club light big city rain,
who lounged hungry and ambitious through Santa Monica seeking hip hop or sex or tapas, and followed the superficial Kardashian to converse about Prada shoes and Botox, a hopeless task, and so took private plane to Monaco,
who disappeared into the volcanoes of the Philippines leaving behind nothing but the shadow of bikini tops and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in gas-guzzling SUVs,
who reappeared on CNN investigating the orange clown in high heels or flats with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing along the next petition on Change.org,
who showed up nude protesting the rape of women while men got away with it everywhere,
who marched the streets of every city in every country, even Antarctica, in pink pussy hats, while police officers found them cute and caused them no trouble, though threw tear gas if it was about Black Lives Matter,
who broke down crying or shouting when their white sisters could not ally with brown and black sisters’ lives,
who could not bite detectives in the neck and could not shriek in policecars for committing no crime but their own bodies found hanging in cells under mysterious cause,
who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof waving for help through videorecording phones,
who fought tooth-and-nail to not let themselves be fucked in the ass by police, and screamed with pain,
who blew and were blown by compassion, allies, caresses of global love,
who balled in the morning in the evenings in kitchens and the fluorescent light of office buildings and bus stops scattering their vaginal fluid freely to the wind,
who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob behind hospital curtains in an Oakland ER when the blond & uniformed officer came to pierce them with their Taser,
who lost their loveboys and lovegirls to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the Gynotician dollar the one eyed shrew that raises the rent and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on his ass and demand his lady make him dinner after work,
who gave her body in hopes of falling in love and continued to fuck and fuck and fuck and ended up broken-hearted with a vision of perfect love eluding the last bottle of common sense,
who sweetened the tongues of a million guys and girls, wishing there were more kisses to be shared between more guys and girls, and were regretful in the morning but prepared to fall in love by sunset, walking around naked as if it were the most normal thing,
who went out distributing birth control pills and condoms in every country despite the Global Gag Rule risking imprisonment for defending women’s health,
who relied on WIC for fresh diapers but still worked the 9 to 9 job, and couldn’t afford a trip to the unemployment offices ten miles away without a car but feet to rely on in the snow, in the rain, in the scorching heat,
who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on dark city streets for a job that barely was above a living wage,
who still created despite the poverty and the sadness and the mouths to feed and the abusive hands of mother, father, wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, crowned with laurel in oblivion,
who ate the filet mignon of rap songs or R&B lyrics at the stinging boughs of the hidden creeks of Oakland,
who wept at the disillusionment of Tinder with their grocery carts full of dried seaweed chips and cheap Trader Joe’s red wine,
who sat in cubicles breathing in the monotony of computer hums, and rose up to build grand-scale sculptures in their Oakland Ghost Ship loft,
who coughed on the second floor of Fruitvale crowned with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded by orange crates of house and rap,
who scribbled all night songs and poetry which in the yellow morning were verses of enlightenment and transformation,
who would rather cook kale and moringa versus doomed cows and damned chickens,
who plunged themselves under Yazmin looking for a way out of pregnancy,
who risked cancer and heart attack and stroke to prevent unwanted children for their careers, their well-being, their lives,
who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully, felt pleasure but also indifference and orgasm and everything inbetween,
who were doomed to a life of student loans that didn’t promise them health, wealth, and happiness but a lifetime of worry, paycheck, insomnia, and the next meal, forget the next vacation,
who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge this actually happened and exited this world 
missed and known by family members who blamed themselves everyday for not having the ability to save,
who sang out of their car windows in despair, wanted to fall out of a BART window, jumped in the filthy day job, cried all over the street, still took money from Mom and Dad to pay for rent and food and booze without consequence,
who sneered at millennials while they themselves felt entitled to this and that while others worked without network or family name,
who couldn’t drive crosscountry with no car, without being white in the deep South, who had a vision of wealth to discover comfort,
who journeyed to San Francisco, who died on the streets of San Francisco, in a tent, who came back to the suburb & wanted to jump at the next opportunity, who watched over the suburb and screamed and pulled out their hair and finally left Mom and Dad to forge their own path, and is now still searching for her dream realized & now San Francisco is loathsome to her natives,
who fell on their knees in a godless town meditating on their yoga mat hoping for enlightenment until the soul illuminated its third eye for three-fourths of a second,
who crashed through their minds in the afterlife waiting for justice while crowds gathered for them in St. Louis, Baton Rouge, and Baltimore who chanted, “No Justice, No Peace,”
who never retired but fought tirelessly with signs and posters and online petitions to change Washington and police forces,
who had to watch an orange clown blame news for being fake while staying silent on police brutality and dropping bombs on women and children in Syria,
who threw tampons and maxi pads at senators down at Congress demanding Equal Pay for Women, paid maternity leave, and abortion access,
and who were given instead Yaz that caused heart attack, stroke, and fatal blood clots, and Zoloft and Paxil and Abilify crushing and snorting them to no end,
who in fierce protest overturned cars and torched stores when the madness of injustice had reached breaking point and we had enough enough enough when was enough enough,
returning years later, still at a standstill with race and women’s rights, did we even move forward and by how much and how far,
Women’s prisons still experimental halls to use women’s bodies as guinea pigs to test out new birth control pills, new IUDs, without consent as liberty was taken away at the throwing down of the judge’s gavel,
with mother daughter granddaughter almost close to ******, and the last fantastic book flung out by Kindle, and the last door closed at midnight and the last landline obsolete and the last furnished room emptied down to the last piece of plastic furniture, an abortion tool reclaimed by a wire hanger in the closet, and even that imaginary, nothing but a hopeful little bit of future we can all dream of and live—
ah, Adrienne, while you are not safe I am not safe, and now you’re really inside my tongue breathing all this time like me—
and who therefore ran through Portugal streets obsessed with the promise of parenthood and responsibility and mortgage payments a variable measure of worth and unworth,
who stopped believing in God as how could God be responsible for Syria and fatal blood clots in brains changing the DNA of grandmothers who still glow in their coffins from all that Radium while painting little watches the one you or I or Grandpa still wear
to recreate cancer and disease in so many different ways, raising awareness but no cure no matter the time or the money or the donations in our naked and endless heads,
the madwoman locked in the attic all this time knowing truth and dark skin and burning down the mansion of her white husband to destroy any trace of what was lost to her all of those generations ago,
and rose reincarnate in our grandmother’s clothes, where cancer could maybe change DNA passed down like trauma and stone and cloak into a Beat It, Beat It, Beat It that wailed Michael Jackson’s name
with the absolute heart of their bodies, butchered but not conquered, not good to eat a thousand years, but good to make love a thousand orgasms in a minute.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close