Writing “Fear of Men” felt dangerous to me when I wrote it. Because what right did I have to tackle such a subject–I, a woman whose life has been blessed in every way by fine, decent, gentle men? And yet, what right did I have not to, when such basic truths seem so deeply taboo in this society, so studiously avoided, so seriously unsaid?
I was thrilled when my husband read this poem and told me he thought it was important. I was thrilled when I read it for the first time in public and had people wanting to talk to me about it afterward. I was thrilled when it got published by HEart Journal alongside folks like Terrance Hayes and Tim Siebles. And now I’m thrilled that it’s been featured on STIR, a new journal dedicated to meaningful discussion on tough topics.
This piece was originally performed at Curtis Whitecarrol’s Ink Noise Review at the Jade Lounge in Portland, and my favorite part is when I say, “I’m not trying to say anything. Except that if you were Catholic, or unlucky, you’d be stuck with him forever,” and my friend’s mother, who’s in her fifties, actually calls out, “That’s true.”
Which is the feminist, poetic equivalent, I think, of playing a jazz solo in New Orleans and having someone call out, “Yeah, you right!”