Friday, May 20, 2016

Poetry Friday: "The Hollow Women"

I am tired this morning.  I got home from spin class last night, did an assortment of chores (bed making with clean sheets, vacuuming, laundry, getting food ready for Friday).  Then I watched a bit of TV while sketching.  It was good to get back to sketching.

My spouse is back to teaching during some week nights.  I don't sleep as well when he's out late teaching--I go to bed before he gets home, and then he gets in and I wake up a bit and then fall back asleep.

In short, it's no wonder I'm tired.  Plus it's day 5 of my "shred," and people have told me that this is the time period where a bit of fatigue sets in, with the lack of carbohydrates.

I've been thinking of the poem that I wrote years ago, "The Hollow Women."  It's 3 poems composed to go together along with chunks of prose in between.  I describe the writing process in this blog post and in this earlier one.

I consider the whole poem among the best of everything that I've written, and I like how each of the three poems can stand alone.  I've thought of writing more of them, of composing a poem that addresses many aspects of modern female life.  My friend who is also a writing buddy has told me that I could write the modern response to "The Waste Land."  I wonder if this idea could be such a poem.

But that's a thought for another day.  For today, let me post one of the poems that makes up the larger poem of the same name.  This poem will be part of my forthcoming chapbook, Life in the Holocene Extinction.

The Hollow Women

We are the hollow women,
the ones with carved muscles,
the ones run ragged by calendars
and other apps that promised
us mastery of that cruel slavedriver, time.

We are the hollow women
with faces carved like pumpkins,
shapes that ultimately frighten.

We are the hollow women
who paint our faces the colors
of the desert and march
ourselves to work while dreaming
of mad dashes to freedom.

At night, the ancient ones speak
to us in soft, bodily gurgles
and strange dreams from a different homeland.
We surface from senseless landscapes
to wear our slave clothes
and artificial faces, masks
of every sort. We trudge
to our hollow offices to do our work,
that modern drudgery,
filing papers and shredding documents,
the feminine mystique, the modern housework,
while at home, domestics
from a different culture care
for the children.

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