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Life Arts    H4'ed 9/14/20

Take Back the Night Like A Fresh Burning Star

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By John Kendall Hawkins

I am, she said,

though borne into demolition.

-"Poem for Suheir Hammad" by Trish Salah


We've been wondering about who owns a woman's body since our favorite Creation myth told us Eve was a spare rib of Adam. Seriously, many people -- mostly men -- have seen her role that way, if history is any indicator. A polly with her cracker, as Crusoe might say, who is programmed to say birdbrained things ("Poor Crusoe") to her rugged individualist husband on occasion, to make him feel better for the shipwrecked life the slaver had coming. Millennia later, who owns her body is still a bone of contention. Many women are just starting to get to that point where they want to say to men, Go f*ck Yourself, but fear it may be interpreted as an invitation to ravish them. Onnacounta the rib thing. So Woman fights back in other ways. No more long-suffering fist-in-the-face of Alice Kramden zang zoom to the moon nonsense.

Hypocrite mon lecteur, where do you stand on the issue? Or do you prefer to sit pretty? Who owns your woman's body? Remember that Lennon song? Woman Is The...Take a look at the one you're with. Boy, that would have been an uncomfortable moment. Probably not a whole lot of Give Peace A Chance in bed after that concert. Forget Zooming. One of those talks in bed instead that begins with, Well? You thinking, Love as a .357 magnum that could blow your head clean off, and you wondering if you feel lucky before you answer her question, some snakelike, Cain-raising hellspark of you grateful for Mark Chapman. You remember secretly signing a petition to have that song, Woman Is the N-word of the World, banned from the radio on "racist" grounds. Cracker wants his 'polly.'

One hundred years ago, women were risking everything to get the right to vote, including marching on Washington during the Spanish Fly pandemic, which saw millions of people drop like flu victims. American suffragists had been fighting since the turn of the 20th century to get their 'equality' etched into legislative stone by the doodling lip-servants in Congress. Finally, the 19th Amendment was passed in August 1920, coming out of a snarky Seneca Declaration of Sentiments that was essentially a re-writing of the sacrosanct Bill of Rights, adding to "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal"." AND WOMEN. Women and men are created equal. It's that self-evident. Seriously, Lennon says, take a look at her. She'll beat you upside your head with a rib, like that ape at the watering hole in 2001: A Space Odyssey, if you fail to get the message again: Existence precedes essence. N'est ce-pas? Feeling lucky, punk?

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Oceania.

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