Dedicated to the governor of Pennsylvania, who suggested that women upset at being forced to have an unnecessary internal ultrasound should ‘close their eyes’, and to the Georgia legislator who wants to outlaw abortion even for a woman carrying a dead fetus because ‘cows and pigs do it all the time’ , and to the gentleman in Wisconsin who wants to outlaw divorce and says that women who are abused by their husbands should just ‘remember th good times’, and… and…. and….
“Just close your eyes” he said.
Close your eyes and maybe it won’t hurt so much.
Maybe you can make the shame go away if you don’t have to look at it,
don’t have to meet the eyes of the doctor who is ready to violate you,
who is no longer allowed to address your pain and need,
Close your eyes and deal with it because from this point on,
health care for you is nothing more than a power play,
the political blood sport of men, drenched in your own desperate blood.
Close your eyes, ladies, and think of Jesus
who wants you to know that you are a sinner- and a slut
for having dreams beyond the ones given to you by your pastor,
your employer, and your governor.
See, they are worried that you might get an abortion mistakenly
thinking it’s a treatment for the flu or something,
eager to brand you a wanton for having sex at all,
a Jezebel for enjoying pleasure without consequence…
the way that they get to.
Close your eyes and pretend that you are still a person
with the right to make your own, most intimate decisions about your future,
Close your eyes and remember when planning your own family
wasn’t considered dirty,
when owning your body was still your birthright
and the right to give birth also included the right not to.
Close your eyes and forget that you are supposed to be a mindless object of desire,
to be salivated over and then dismissed,
used by men to sell beer and shoes and laundry detergent,
expected to exist only for their sexual pleasure, reviled for feeling it yourself,
condemned for being what they so determinedly make you: a sexual being.
So come here, little girl, here’s a push-up bra, stilettos and a chastity belt
Learn now that sex is something for a man to do to a woman, not actually with her.
Understand that you must grow up to be either a slut, a dyke or a mother…
and a mother, and a mother.
Close your eyes, girls, and enjoy your patent leather Mary Janes and princess dreams
that don’t yet end in blood and probes
and congressmen playing doctor behind the statehouse,
insisting that the princess carry even death in her womb, all in the name of life.
Close your eyes and think of your grandmothers, and of their grandmothers
owned by their fathers, traded to their husbands,
needing permission to go to college.
Think of the days when the few lady-like jobs that existed
were only for those un-natural old maids
unable to join the ranks of the real women doing a woman’s real job of having babies.
Think of not even being allowed to learn or to help support yourself and your family,
of depending on a man to feed and clothe you and your children,
your own love and need to protect them a chain and an anchor
that keeps you in the harbor of even a loveless, abusive marriage,
your yards and yards of beautiful sail forever stowed belowdecks,
because the open seas of life is no place for a woman.
Close your eyes, ladies, and think of England,
and of Iran and Afghanistan
where women are chained for their own good, beaten for showing their faces,
stoned for going to school, sewn shut between babies, robbed of the ability to feel passion,
used for a man’s desire but allowed none of their own,
receptacles, incubators, cooks and maids.
So close your eyes, and shut your mouths, and be thankful that you live
in such an enlightened. modern land.
By Tracy Meisky who is a poet, writer, singer, songwriter and all-around boat rocker from way back.
(I was going to use this photoshopped eye for The Parting Shot… but I think it is more appropriate to use here.)