The Covered Woman
by JOAN ANNSFIRE
Pulsating with bodies,
the street is dangerously alive,
Libya, Syria, Yemen, countries where
muscular, young men
make their way through teargas, rubber bullets
and live ammunition.
The people rise up,
or half the people rise up.
But where are the other half?
Confined to interior rooms,
pacing cages like exotic animals
whose unleashed power could
take down the entire social order?
Being kept safe?
A virtual impossibility because
a woman is never safe,
not in raging streets
but especially not
in the captivity of her home.
small hands weave intricate rugs,
the weavers speak in hushed voices,
create, magnificent art sold
for the profit of the men
who possess them.
The women who tried
to go to school
had acid thrown in their faces,
some were blinded, all disfigured,
yet afterwards, every one of them
vowed to fight on.
In Iran the women are not allowed to sing,
In Saudi Arabia they cannot drive
and if the heels of their shoes
click too loudly on polished surfaces
they are subject to arrest.
From beneath her burqa, her hijab, her chador,
the covered woman watches me
with the one part of her body
always permitted public view,
They convey a world beyond the limits
of my understanding.
You speak to me of liberty
I only see your scars.
The “choices” you’ve been given,
bloody tokens for their wars.
When your glass ceilings all lie broken
and all your doors swing open
let every hair on your proud head
stand naked in the sun.
But don’t preach to me of freedom
until your battle’s won.
Joan Annsfire is a librarian, a writer and a long time political activist who lives in Berkeley California. Her poetry, short stories and non-fiction pieces have appeared in various literary magazines and web sites including previously in Poet’s Basement on Counterpunch. In her blog, lavenderjoan: http://www.lavenderjoan.blogspot.com/ the personal meets the political.
by KEMMER ANDERSON
(On the first day of its promised offensive, the Taliban used a
12-year-old suicide bomber.)
After reading the news about the 12-year-old
Boy – suicide bomber kicking off the spring offensive,
I discovered an interview with Donald Hall,
Who began to write poetry at the same age,
Finding an explosion for words.
I stare around the classroom at my soccer team
Of 12-year-old players gathered at a pizza party –
Unknotted school ties, T-shirts, chanting, laughing
Waiting for their bodies to deliver the velocity
Of a goal that corners the market on that diving man
Header that drives the ball into the net with power.
Here in this room with Time magazine covers from history,
Posters of JFK and Martin Luther King, computers lining
The western wall with windows to Lookout Mountain,
The shredded body of the boy, the suicide bomber, lives
Never to take a direct kick at Henry, our goalie,
Or climb a tree house to read a book about Western England.
I would like to face off with his Taliban coach
And schedule games after a guitar concert
When snow melts through the Afghan mountains
And poppies bloom remembrance along the pitch
Of football fields lined for 12-and-under teams
From Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Libya.
Kemmer Anderson, a former goalie at Davidson College, coaches soccer in Tennessee.
by DR. P. WILKINSON
in the month
that ends with all saints.
from the years
since baptism waits.
of those killed
in the dreams
that wake their dead.
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