Homage to Sharon Stone
It’s early morning. This is the “before,”
the world hanging around in its wrapper,
blowzy, frumpy, doing nothing: my
neighbors, hitching themselves to the roles
of the unhappily married, trundle their three
mastiffs down the street. I am writing this
book of poems. My name is Lynn Emanuel.
I am wearing a bathrobe and curlers; from
my lips, a Marlboro drips ash on the text.
It is the third of September ninteen.
And as I am writing this in my trifocals
and slippers, across the street, Sharon Stone,
her head swollen with curlers, her mouth
red and narrow as a dancing slipper,
is rushed into a black limo. And because
these limos snake up and down my street,
this book will be full of sleek cars nosing
through the shadowy ocean of these words.
Every morning, Sharon Stone, her head
in a helmet of hairdo, wearing a visor
of sunglasses, is engulfed by a limo
the size of a Pullman, and whole fleets
of these wind their way up and down
the street, day after day, giving to the street
(Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh, PA)
and the book I am writing, an aspect
that is both glamorous and funereal.
My name is Lynn Emanuel, and in this
book I play the part of someone writing
a book, and I take the role seriously,
just as Sharon Stone takes seriously
the role of the diva. I watch the dark
cars disappear her and in my poem
another Pontiac erupts like a big animal
at the cool trough of a shady curb. So,
when you see this black car, do not think
it is a Symbol for Something. It is just
Sharon Stone driving past the house
of Lynn Emanuel who is, at the time,
trying to write a book of poems.
Or you could think of the black car as
Lynn Emanuel, because, really, as an author,
I have always wanted to be a car, even
though most of the time I have to be
the “I,” or the woman hanging wash:
I am a woman, one minute, then I am a man,
I am a carnival of Lynn Emanuels:
Lynn in the red dress; Lynn sulking
behind the big nose of my erection;
then I am the train pulling into the station
when what I would really love to be is
Gertrude Stein spying on Sharon Stone
at six in the morning. But enough about
that, back to the interior decorating:
On the page, the town looks bald
and dim so I turn up the amps on
the radioactive glances of bad boys.
In a kitchen, I stack pans sleek with
grease, and on a counter there is a roast
beef red as a face in a tantrum. Amid all
this bland strangeness is Sharon Stone,
who, like an engraved invitation, is asking
me, Won’t you, too, play a role? I do not
choose the black limo rolling down the street
with the golden stare of my limo headlights
bringing with me the sun, the moon, and
Sharon Stone. It is nearly dawn; the sun
is a fox chewing her foot from the trap;
every bite is a wound and every wound
is a red window, a red door, a red road.
My name is Lynn Emanuel. I am the writer
trying to unwrite the world that is all around her.
Amnesty International recently released a report, Maze of Injustice: The Failure to Protect Indigenous Woman from Sexual Violence in the USA. (Please click over, there’s a full summary and a video [sorry, not Mac compatible] and slideshow, even if you don’t download the 130+ page PDF file.)
From the summary:
Sexual violence against Indigenous women in the USA is widespread — and especially brutal. According to US government statistics, Native American and Alaska Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other women in the USA. Some Indigenous women interviewed by Amnesty International said they didn’t know anyone in their community who had not experienced sexual violence. Though rape is always an act of violence, there is evidence that Indigenous women are more like than other women to suffer additional violence at the hands of their attackers. According to the US Department of Justice, in at least 86 per cent of the reported cases of rape or sexual assault against American Indian and Alaska Native women, survivors report that the perpetrators are non-Native men.
Sexual violence against Indigenous women is the result of a number of factors including a history of widespread and egregious human rights violations against Indigenous peoples in the USA. Indigenous women were raped by settlers and soldiers in many infamous episodes including during the Trail of Tears and the Long Walk. Such attacks were not random or individual; they were tools of conquest and colonization. The underlying attitudes towards Indigenous peoples that supported these human rights violations committed against them continue to be present in society and culture in the USA. They contribute to the present high rates of sexual violence perpetrated against Indigenous women and help to shield their attackers from justice.
Now, something you can do besides sign another internet petition (though you should still sign it!). It’s come to my attention that the Zintkala Waste Win Oti (“Pretty Bird Woman House”) shelter, founded by a Lakota woman on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, on the border of North and South Dakota, one of the poorest regions in the US, is in danger of closing. They need to raise $25,000 by the end of May, which is, for operations of this kind, a tiny sum of money. They are already halfway to their goal. Please help support this shelter, which provides — to put it mildly — an important service. Here’s how your donation can help:
With adequate resources, the shelterwould like to fund a director for the program, two advocates, and achildren’s advocate, food and supplies for the shelter, andtransportation for families who need to go places to find relatedservices or to relocate completely in order to escape the violence intheir lives. However, in the short-term, without a small amount offunding, the shelter will not be able to keep their phone lines openthrough May.
I understand a lot of us are broke, so if you can’t give, please help get the word out. The lovely Sylvia has opened my eyes to the effectiveness of internet activism with her blogathons for Shaquanda Cotton’s release and Don Imus’s termination, so let’s keep up the momentum!
[You can listen to a story about this on NPR here, if you have realplayer or Windows Mediaplayer. Why does everyone hate Macs?!]
Over the past few months, I’ve found my recreational reading and viewing taking a decidedly masculine tone. It started when I took up Thomas Pynchon’s masterpiece/neverending story, Gravity’s Rainbow. It continued with several evenings over a few months spent viewing spaghetti westerns, thus building a close, personal relationship with that famous Man With No Name, Clint Eastwood.
While completing my graduate work, which focused in part on feminist and gender studies’ critiques of literature, I was often urged to do some work on masculinity, because, you know, it’s so hott right now. Naturally my response was to roll my eyes at the drunk gentleman making this intelligent point — who of course by now was singing the praises of D.H. Lawrence — and mosey on back to the bar.
Well, time passes, and now that nobody’s trying to recenter the conversation around himself at a party, I’d like to look at how masculinity shows up in the work I’ve read and watched recently. Like traditional femininity in most cases, on closer inspection the masculinity of these cultural placeholders is a cheap thrill, manifested in objects of violence and desolation. Going further, though, the book and films (particularly The Outlaw Josey Wales) acknowledge the masculine role is ultimately untenable, despite its allure and seemingly valued position.
[Warning: spoilers all over the place.]
Continue Reading Dyin’ ain’t much of a living, boy….
During my sorta-exile from the internet, I have found that long stretches of unoccupied time during the workday have increased my need for stimulating activity after-hours. So, among other things, during the past few weeks I’ve watched a lot of movies, read a ton (you’ll hear more about both activities soon), and begun to drive. Look out Hawaii, petitpoussin’s behind the wheel!
I’ve also embraced my inner English lady and have begun to plan elaborate dinnertime meals, generously prepared by my friend K., who is really something in the kitchen. Here is a recent gourmet extravagance:
You’re looking at potato gnocchi with asparagus, summer squash, zucchini/courgette, broccoli, and sweet Maui onions, blended with an arugula and pine nut pesto sauce and a HELL of a lotta fresh parmesan cheese.
Welcome to my new regular feature, Food-Positive Feminism. Bon appetit et bon weekend!
It’s official… I’ve got nonstop internet at my house, y’all. In other words, my semi-hiatus is over as of now. Let’s celebrate with some Trashy Fabulous, shall we?
I’ve got to tell you
how I love you always
I think of it on grey
mornings with death
in my mouth the tea
is never hot enough
then and the cigarette
dry the maroon robe
chills me I need you
and look out the window
at the noiseless snow
At night on the dock
the buses glow like
clouds and I am lonely
thinking of flutes
I miss you always
when I go to the beach
the sand is wet with
tears that seem mine
although I never weep
and hold you in my
heart with a very real
humor you’d be proud of
the parking lot is
crowded and I stand
rattling my keys the car
is empty as a bicycle
what are you doing now
where did you eat your
lunch and were there
lots of anchovies it
is difficult to think
of you without me in
the sentence you depress
me when you are alone
Last night the stars
were numerous and today
snow is their calling
card I’ll not be cordial
there is nothing that
distracts me music is
only a crossword puzzle
do you know how it is
when you are the only
passenger if there is a
place further from me
I beg you do not go
I’ve written before about efforts to prevent major development on Punalu`u, a black sand beach in the Ka`u region of the Big Island of major cultural and environmental significance. (Visit Save Punalu`u for more background.)
Well, the good news is people are paying attention to the public response — and the right people, at that. Today the Hilo Tribune-Herald published an article detailing recent efforts by Hawaii County councilman Bob Jacobson and Congresswoman Marie Hironzo to designate the area a protected conservation region.
Punaluu black sand beach and adjacent lands would be purchased by Hawaii County under a bill introduced Friday.
Councilman Bob Jacobson, whose district encompasses the popular Ka’u beach, sent in legislation to authorize county Finance Director William Takaba to enter into negotiations for the Punaluu Beach Park, Ninole Pond and adjacent lands.
Preserving the Ka’u coastline from development is a longterm goal of Jacobson and other conservation groups, most notably Ka’u Preservation.
“We’ve been working at this for 10 years,” Jacobson said.
The bill has not yet been placed on a County Council agenda for discussion, Jacobson said late Friday.
If the bill survives the legislative process and is signed into law and after negotiating county ownership of the area would begin at the certified shoreline, extend at least 2,000 feet inland and include about 150 acres.
The lands would then be given a conservation designation.
At least some of that money would come from a land purchasing fund that voters approved in the 2006 election. Jacobson would also look for money from state, private and federal sources, if the bill passes.
During an April 4 visit to Punaluu, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, discussed a request to provide $3 million in matching federal funds for Hawaii County to purchase lands adjacent to the beach, Jacobson’s office said.
Hirono’s office is doing more than that. She introduced a bill in Congress on March 29 to study the feasibility of designating the Ka’u coast, from Kapaoo Point to Kahuku Point, as a unit of the National Park System. No debate has been scheduled on her bill, which has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Joseph Cornell, With Box
World harbors much I’d like to fit inside
that the parameters preclude me from.
I’m the desire to have had a say.
I’m the desire to be left alone
amid brochures for Europe’s best hotels
behind a locked door on Utopia Parkway,
where Brother, crippled, rides his chariot,
where Mother’s all dressed up and going nowhere.
Together, sotto voce, we count hours,
fuss over newsprint, water down the wine.
When I was shorter, we were all divine.
When I was shorter, I was infinite
and felt less fear of being understood.
I am the fear of being understood.
I am the modest Joe who hems and haws
at blond cashiers ensconced in ticket booths.
Lacking the words to offer her the flowers
I’d spent a fortnight locating the words
to offer her, I threw the flowers at her.
As penance, I entrenched you, Doll, in wood.
Through your shaved bark and twigs, you stared at me.
Being a woman was out of the question. Continue Reading Poetry Wednesday…
I wind my way across a black donut hole
and space that clunks.
Once I saw on a stage,
as if at the bottom of a mineshaft,
the precise footwork
of some mechanical ballet.
It was like looking into the brain
of a cuckoo clock and it carried
some part of me away forever.
No one knows when they first see a thing,
how long its after image will last.
Proust could stare at the symptom of a face
for years, while Frank O’Hara, like anyone with a job,
was always looking at his watch.
My favorite way of remembering is to forget.
Please start the record of the sea over again.
Call up a shadow below the pendulum of a gull’s wing.
In a city of eight million sundials, nobody has any idea
how long a minute really is.