Last night, handing out condoms to promote PPYL’s Party Like a Rock Star, I approached three young men on the back patio of a local bar. I asked if I might interrupt their evening for a moment.
One of them called me ma’am.
Getting called ma’am while handing out condoms changes the dynamic of the conversation, that’s for sure!
A woman at another table asked if I found it hard walking up to strangers at a bar to talk about Planned Parenthood.
I find it just about as hard as I do swallowing the fact that yet another politician has decided that my rights are bargaining chips he can use to build political capital.
I’m sad, angry, and have no words to share. I should know better by now.
Generally, I seek out an action to take when politicians kick me in the stomach like this. Here are a few places you can go to register your dismay, lodge a complaint, or donate to a candidate who won’t treat your rights like poker chips.
This morning, however, I turned to poetry to make me feel better. Powerful medicine. Allow me to borrow the final two stanzas from Marge Piercy’s poem, Right to Life.
We are all born of woman, in the rose
of the womb we suckled our mother’s blood
and every baby born has a right to love
like a seedling to sun. Every baby born
unloved, unwanted, is a bill that will come
due in twenty years with interest, an anger
that must find a target, a pain that will
beget pain. A decade downstream a child
screams, a woman falls, a synagogue is torched,
a firing squad is summoned, a button
is pushed and the world burns.
I will choose what enters me, what becomes
of my flesh. Without choice, no politics,
no ethics lives. I am not your cornfield,
not your uranium mine, not your calf
for fattening, not your cow for milking.
You may not use me as your factory.
Priests and legislators do not hold shares
in my womb or my mind.
This is my body. If I give it to you
I want it back. My life
is a non-negotiable demand.
Want to read the whole poem? Let me google that for you.