9/29/08

Lesbian Poetry: Slip Away

I work in an abortion clinic.

All you pro-gay lesbians who are anti-choice can just go ahead and hate me now, even though that combination of beliefs makes absolutely no sense to me. You best believe I'll be blogging more about that another time.

What you see below is the one of the last poems I wrote. This one was actually done last year. Ironically, it was written in an unofficially "pro-life", conservative, local hospital waiting room in approximately ten minutes while I awaited my MRI because I was being treated for migraines at the time.

It was very interesting writing a poem about abortion in this type of setting. The timing and atmosphere may sound a little odd, but I believe it actually made me even more tenacious about what I believed in. It was like a clash of my old, semi-religious upbringing/past meeting the evolved, liberal, feminista in me.


I was also on a deadline. I was going to do my first workshop at an annual abortion providers conference, and I wanted to open it with a real zinger. I decided to start it with a performance art piece that would feature a poem. That environment is just where the poem happened to come to me.Although abortion, by federal law, is legal in all 50 states, each one has gradually made their own rules and restrictions. This has made it more difficult for women every single day. In this case, I was talking specifically about Pennsylvania, who's criterion is one of the toughest...

"SLIP AWAY"

by Cynthia Rodriguez


Abortion restrictions,

fear of conviction

Doctors living in fear,

the protesters near

the entry way—in our face

still fighting for that buffer zone, to put them in their place



A 16 year old, alone, and afraid

Reflecting upon the mistake she just made

consequences of her actions

dreading the reaction,

of her parents

getting permission like a school trip

or it's a trip to the courthouse

they say you're too young,

to make up your own mind

so don't even think of crossing that state line


Pharmacist's refusals of Plan B

Limiting birth control but they cannot see

do not anticipate,

the damage they create...

24 hours you need to wait

The conservative "Right"

would opt to choose your fate


Another clinic fades to black

Another worker gets attacked

The struggle continues but "We won't go back"

Chipping away at Roe vs. Wade

right under our noses,

We've come so far,

just to let it slip away.



Lesbian poets who would like to have their poetry featured on Lesbiatopia please contact me at:

resident.book.worm@gmail.com



10 comments:

Emily S said...

One of my exes (we were together for 10 years) was Polish. Her mother worked in an abortion clinic during Communist times, skirting the law on the Communist side and skirting excommunication on the Catholic side.

I showed her your poem and she cried. She's been fighting this for 30 years and you described it perfectly.

Emily S said...

One of my exes (we were together for 10 years) was Polish. Her mother worked in an abortion clinic during Communist times, skirting the law on the Communist side and skirting excommunication on the Catholic side.

I showed her your poem and she cried. She's been fighting this for 30 years and you described it perfectly.

BOOK_REVIEWER_EXTRAORDINAIRE said...

Emily S, Thank you SO much for sharing that. It's moments like this that keep me going every day doing what I do.

It made my day. I almost cried just from reading your comment...

Emily Lou said...

I'm bisexual and "anti-choice" as you say.
I don't get into abortion debates simply because they go nowhere, and I don't really enjoy it. People can think what they want. I can't say for sure when you say "life" begins, and the life of a child, even unborn, isn't less significant than that of the mother. Then you get into the fuzzy question of where the line is between abortion and killing. Rights of fetus don't trump mothers', so therefore no one gets to choose whose life to end. But you can say what you want, I won't be engaging in a debate, I just thought I'd share my opinion. I'm pretty sure I'm one mof the only one in the GLBT community who feels the way I do, but I am proud that I can stand by what I think. I don't view it as a choice or not a choice, I view it as inherently wrong, the way we all think certain things are just always wrong. If it was a matter of choice in my mind, I would of course choose in favor of choice. But to me, at least, it isn't.

BOOK_REVIEWER_EXTRAORDINAIRE said...

Emily lou, I hear this alot from patients,including bi's, until they are in that situation themselves.

To each their own.

Ma'amselle Lezident said...

Emily Lou, for the first eight weeks of embryogenesis, it's not a fetus; it's a collection of cells called a blastocyst. Now don't start giving us silliness about "rights for blastocysts."

Now aside from that, when women are forced to have children when they don't want to--whatever the reason may be, and women are smart enough to know when and why--those children grow up knowing they are unwanted. A young woman who is raped by her uncle and then gives the child up for adoption; a 14-year-old who just wanted the older boy to like her; a wife beaten by her husband and forced into intercourse as punishment--these kids are going to grow up with the stigma of their mothers' suffering.

Now, cast aside the image you have of Mariska Hargitay in Law & Order: SVU prosecuting sex criminals on TV, because most unwanted pregnancies contribute to a rise in crime (cite: http://www.amazon.com/Freakonomics-Revised-Expanded-Economist-Everything/dp/0061234001/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223227734&sr=8-1). The simple fact that these kids are born increases the likelihood that they will be criminals later in life--including murderers and death-row inmates; in other words, forcing a woman to have a child and not get an abortion (what you call "saving a life") increases the statistical probability that that child will grow up and kill someone else or kill him/herself with drugs or criminal interaction.

Now maybe someone out there is the child of a rape; that person's mother had a choice and wanted the child. I'm not talking about them; I'm talking about desperate women who cannot sustain a child's healthy development. A lot of these women used to die on dirty kitchen tables attempting to perform abortions on themselves or having them performed underground when it was illegal; I guess in your terms, you'd call that a twofer, right?

If you look at abortion as saving a life, look at the larger ratio of life:death surrounding the issue of abortion. You cannot look at it solely from the extremely narrow viewpoint of the act itself. Consider the interconnected web of issues surrounding the act, and then check out the statistics.

BOOK_REVIEWER_EXTRAORDINAIRE said...

That was impressive ma'amselle. Thank you for that.

Ma'amselle Lezident said...

Well . . . I really liked the poem. :)

Sei said...

According to the Bible, and about two thousand years worth of Christian History, life begins when blood flows. This has been interprested in one of two ways. Either life begins at birth, or life begins at the moment that you can first feel movement.

That's the long and short of it. Women couldn't abort a feotus for those centuries because a woman was considered to be, basically, the property of the man, and the feotus was believed to be created only by the seed of the man, and nothing else.

Now, personally, if I could get pregnant, I would not have an abortion. However, I refuse to force others of a different religious or ethical conviction to not have an abortion. When you base a law upon something as strict as the beliefs of one religion, then you risk forming all laws based upon that one sole religion. Some religions, including some forms of Shinto, do not believe that the soul enters the body until the third month AFTER birth.

BOOK_REVIEWER_EXTRAORDINAIRE said...

Hmmm, that's interesting Sei. It's especially interesting hearing about it from the Lesbian community. I like hearing different perspectives on this issue.

I'm on the frontlines of this issue every single day of my life, so it's a part of me, part of who I am.

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