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Sunday, March 6, 2011

feminist reading

by Anna Rigles

We were late
                As usual
Because my demons do not allow me
                Entrance into unknown places without

I went to listen to the voices
                Feminist voices
Telling their stories, fables and creative dialogues about their feminist lives
I went with my wife and children
                To meet a friend, her daughter
And to glimpse familiar faces that reawaken me

I wanted to hear the words
                Linked in rhyme or rhythm or prose
But instead I sat listening to my damaged friend
Who does not know that she is an alcoholic
Ramble on and on and on
Because she desperately needs me to hear her
                To see her
To love her in the ways she has forgotten
She needs me to ignore her booze soaked words whispered in my ear
                In class
                At 10am
I listen to her, because she is loud
                And cannot take a hint
That I am looking away from her demanding and yet pleading eyes
Straining to find the people at the front
                Speaking about their feminist lives
Straining to find that glimpse of awareness with another person
                Like myself

She won’t stop talking
                About nothing
                Everything-in her life
Until I look into her eyes and let her see my damage
                My demons
Then she calms
It is the whisper of my past that soothes her tired vocal cords
                There are never words exchanged
Just the knowledge that we share similar monsters
                And there is safety in numbers

The reading is over
The band takes the stage and blares their music louder even than my friend’s desperate cry for my attention
I realize I heard nothing of the feminist voices at the front of the room
I did not find familiar faces and connect

My wife, my children
                My non-toxic intoxicated friend
                Her daughter
Pick up and leave
Not having heard any part of the readings
                But knowing
What I heard
                Was powerful

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