I am at such a loss over the state of things these days. What’s left for me seems to be a process of assessing where I have agency at this exact moment and of taking refuge in small things.
After a terrible drought year and an awful fire season, it is raining once again in the mountains. This morning, I look out my kitchen window – thankful I have a kitchen – and gaze lost in thought at wet aspen leaves, kelly green at their centers and ringed with autumn gold. What do I want to convey today?
A call to arms? No. We’ve already been actively engaged in this struggle for over a millenia. Most of us reading this blog haven’t put down our arms almost our whole lives. In fact, we’ve done what we could to craft more and gift them to others – friends, family, strangers across the gulf that is the internet.
An admonition to know our herstory? Again, those reading know these things. Those reading know that spousal rape wasn’t criminalized in all 50 states in this country until I was in high school. Many of those reading experienced challenges getting credit or buying homes and cars without a father or husband to accompany them. We never forget that it has been less than 100 years since any women was constitutionally guaranteed the right to vote and that all women in this country are still not afforded the same explicit constitutional protections as all men.
A demand that you exercise your hard-won suffrage? I already know you will.
What I am struggling with today is how to reach those who would never read a blog like this — how to call in the women who insist on being complicit in their own oppression, how to convince women to stop tearing each other apart with our own arms, how to educate those who don’t know our herstory and don’t seem to want to, how to convince the woman who lets her father or husband vote for her, or the woman who votes away her sovereignty year after year, or the woman doesn’t see the point of voting at all to push back at the polls.
Ten years ago, living in Texas, I could see all of this coming. I know I’m not the only one, either. I write, I speak, I volunteer, I raise my children as feminists (all of them), I phone bank, I call my elected representatives, I put my hard-earned cash where my mouth is when I can, I vote, I vote, I vote.
I won’t stop doing those things. And today, they still don’t feel like enough. And still, I can’t give up.
As only one voice, one pair of hands, one heart, I recognize I can’t heal everything. I can’t fix everything, do everything that needs to be done. Not even under my own roof, really. But I can always do something. There is always a way to do at least one small, but holy, thing.
I like to reimagine the world as a place where we all do what we can to engage in one small act of healing, community, &/or compassion for others every day. One tiny act of sacred service each. Feel into that across humanity’s vast expanse — the potential power of over 6 billion acts of service performed in the course of just one day. What miracles & wonders could that bring into the world?
So, I commit once again to exercising agency where I can, to standing in my sovereignty, to never surrendering my arms, to always learning more about our herstory, to voting, to voting, to voting.
And I commit to taking comfort and refuge in gilded autumn leaves, in my high school daughter’s essay on deconstructing toxic masculinity, in my adolescent son’s freely given hugs, in having food and shelter as winter approaches, in the strength of my voice, and occasionally, in a moment of refrigerator poetry.
Kate M. Brunner is a writer, healer, ritualist, & member of The Sisterhood of Avalon. During 2019, she will be at the SOA’s annual online conference, AvaCon, & at the fourth annual Ninefold Festival in the Colorado Springs area. Kate’s work is published in Flower Face: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Blodeuwedd and The Goddess in America: The Divine Feminine in Cultural Context.
14 thoughts on “Refrigerator Poetry by Kate Brunner”
thanks Kate, and Love to you – across the globe
And to you, Glenys!
Thank you Kate! I feel weary and sad today as well. We need to keep believing that a balance between masculine and feminine will be restored. Systems of oppression that ultimately oppress the majority of people need to be overturned. We need circular structures in place in instead of hierarchies. (I got this from your talk at Ninefold. 😊❤️❤️❤️)
<3 <3 <3 Here's to spinning more and more circles together, Erin!
Thanks, Kate Brunner,
Your refrigerator poetry is priceless, thanks so much —
Your poetry filled with courage
and truly a joy this morning to read.
Wow! Howl on, sister. I feel better knowing you are in the world doing acts of courage and kindness every day. LOVE the poem.
Howling is communication. Communication builds community. We raise our voices together – warning, gathering, resisting. What a sacred act!
Barbara, thank you for sharing this. There is something powerful in your words for me. I am grateful for them.
And remember the suffragettes, who never gave up until they got to their goal, despite many setbacks and much suffering. We will persist!
That was beautiful Kate. I too am feeling frustrated and tired of the fight, but onwards we push. Keep going!
How did I miss this wonderful essay? Your words are my own “What I am struggling with today is how to reach those who would never read a blog like this — how to call in the women who insist on being complicit in their own oppression, how to convince women to stop tearing each other apart with our own arms, how to educate those who don’t know our herstory and don’t seem to want to, how to convince the woman who lets her father or husband vote for her, or the woman who votes away her sovereignty year after year, or the woman doesn’t see the point of voting at all to push back at the polls.”
I love the imagery in the beginning. We have been holding our arms our whole lives! I adore your words.