Poem for a Monday Morning: Alix Olson

Hi everyone! It’s a new poem for a Monday morning – it’s still morning, just barely! This one is kind of long and daunting, but don’t be discouraged. It’s very readable and it has a lot of important things to say.

I saw Alix perform this live and I count it as one of the most memorable moments in my life. If anyone asks me why I am a feminist, this poem would be my answer. Enjoy!

Alix Olson

“That the Protagonist Is Always a Man”
Alix Olson

That Cheney’s daughter campaigns for Bush’s son.
That Bush’s son wins a presidency that hates her.

The way Condoleeza Rice called her boss, her husband. That it was an easy slip.

That the 1960s beatniks are the revolutionary poets. That seventh-century-BC Sappho is that lesbian poet.

How the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes Joan Baez as “the female Bob Dylan.” That she launched his career.

That in “female musician,” adjective becomes noun.

How Marge Piercy says “the moon must be female.”
That the moon was forcibly penetrated by an American flag.
That plots on the moon are now up for sale.
Because Mother Earth is melting.

How the Security Council of the United Nations has five permanent members. That all five are the official “nuclear weapon states.” That the United States is the only country to have dropped an atomic bomb. That it is called the security council.

The way the old philosophers who declared human nature to be naturally brutish were men.

How that one guy in your women’s studies class raised his hand for the first time in the semester to reprimand that “men can be raped too.” That we respect all voices. That maybe he has a point. That he is a good guy for being there.

That Margaret Thatcher. Queen Elizabeth. Hillary Clinton.
How anomalies save their ass.

That father with the baby in the backpack in the grocery store.
How exceptions erase us.

That Adam produced Eve. That Mary did not birth Jesus.
How miracles screw us.

The way that a Father, a Son and a Holy Spirit exclude us from the highest positions of power in the Catholic Church. How they, condemning women and fags, then don dresses, diddle little boys, devour the flesh and blood of their gaunt, devout, dapper, special man-friend.

The way women, denied education, had to pass down our herstory through stories and poems and dance and music and recipes. How the Great writers and poets and dancers and musicians and chefs have not been women.

That my computer spell-checks “herstory.”

The way the English language carries us inside Man like his fetus. That is is only our wombs that are patrolled.

That the members of Jane, helping to provide safe abortions before Roe v. Wade, were criminals.
That the rounding bellies in South Dakota clinic lines are murderers.

That Emma Goldman was considered a U.S. terrorist.
That they are pro-life. That they take the good words.

That Ann Coulter may consider herself an “us.”
That self-determination is terrifying.
That self-determination is what we fight for.

That we fight for our sisters’ right to choose stilettos. How the women in horror films can’t run in stilettos. That one drag queen who used her stiletto as a weapon during Stonewall. How the women in horror films can’t run in stilettos.

The way CNN finally devoted an hourlong segment to the brutal systematic government-sponsored rapes in Darfur.
How these women fled bombed and burning homes and still had the courage to testify to Amnesty International. How one sixteen-year-old had been raped by ten men for seventy-two hours straight. How pregnant women are not spared. How women have their nails pulled out. How unmarried women are considered spoiled.
That the title of the broadcast was “Angelina Jolie: Her Motherhood, Her Mission.”
That she was wearing stilettos.

That the Lesbian Herstory Archives can fit no more material into its Brooklyn brownstone.

That Focus on the Family headquarters has its own zip code.

That the National Organization for Women. That the Kitchen Table Press. That the Radical Cheerleaders. That the Feminist Majority. That NGLTF. That the Third Wave Foundation. That Planned Parenthood. That the Guerrilla Girls. That Code Pink. That NARAL. That Refuse and Resist.


Is why I am a radical feminist.

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Categories: Poetry, The Archives

One Comment on “Poem for a Monday Morning: Alix Olson”

  1. July 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Wow, amazing poem!!

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