Seventy-two hours out of every week, I carry a hotline phone. While calls come in waves and some shifts are silent, my everyday and professional lives are peppered with reminders that evil doesn’t just pierce reality through acts of power, control, and violence – it seeps through in discrediting voices and disbelieving questions. It rolls into us off the well-meaning tongues of community members who’d rather protect the status quo than hold people accountable. It wraps its tendrils around us as we walk through each system we are forced to navigate – systems that are not set up to protect our vulnerable hearts and human dignity. Evil powers the backlash wave that tries to knock down every survivor who speaks out about gender, sexual, or intimate partner violence, and it also is in the fear we swallow when we choke down our own stories, press them down deeper, grasping to avoid yet another assault on our integrity, intelligence, and truth.
Evil stains our flags with the undeniable imprints of genocide, slavery, and continuing racial injustice and then demands that we wave those flags, smiling and allegiant, as The American Dream itself is held hostage, torn from its family, held in a cage. Continue reading “Spinning the Fire, Shifting the Current by Chris Ash”
Rage, for me, feels intrinsically connected to instinct, like an uncontrollable urge to fight and fly all at the same time but with no place to flee and a need to literally, physically restrain myself from the “FIGHT,” or violence I don’t want to create.
Many feminist theorists talk about the value of anger and particularly, “women’s (diverse experiences of) anger” for consciousness raising, community building and healing. I remember considering this concept for the first time early in graduate school. I was both scared because I associated anger with abusive control; and curious, as I was finally learning to express this “bad” emotion. Overall, embracing anger taught me to speak up and break out of abusive spaces. But sharing this concept with students last semester and discussing the Bible’s descriptions of “God’s Wrath” this semester, I find myself considering levels of anger. When is or is rage appropriate? Some of the feminist theology I have read definitely advocates for a constructive relationship to rage. But many of my students, who can embrace the creative space of anger, had difficulty embracing this positive valuation of rage (even understanding that it is ‘what we do with our anger’ that counts). I have recently found myself facing my own rage… And I am not sure what to think.
I often consider anger a teacher. It shows me where my boundaries are being crossed or where injustices are rising. I have experienced mild anger that, when mediated through humor, has helped me laugh at life and struggle. I have experienced white-hot anger that left me unable to sleep or function “normally.” Betrayals have dragged me out of my bed early in the morning, seeking to run/ walk so that I could breathe and think at a pace that matched the beating of my heart. Continue reading “Impotent* Rage by Sara Frykenberg”
1. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD WOMEN
Howling from the mountaintops
wailing from the riverbanks
scooping the moon into their waning wombs
the old women know that lies kill,
distortions maim, hope isn’t enough to feed starving
babies, school the ignorant, put an end to war.
Like Furies, the old ones rise,
clench their furious fists against the blazing sun;
like Harpies they roar, casting dire warnings
upon the winds of change; soothsaying Sibyls
decipher omens, portend the future, speak in baffling koans.
With dakini wisdom they cut through
illusion, vote in primaries, attend caucuses,
raise their voices against power, shatter
the corrupted ceilings that chafe the crowns
of their wizened heads.
The wandering Maenads cry: “This is no country
for old women.”
Medea calls down her midnight powers,
prays for revolution, strengthens the tired tongues
of memory. Eloquence isn’t enough to heal
a wounded country; sequined celebrities
can’t mend a nation’s odiferous past. Kali avenges
her sisters, the long-patient Queens & Crones,
Maidens & Mothers. The forgotten ones
wait and watch and warn: “Beware the hubris
of ages. Beware the greedy hand that grabs the golden fleece.” Continue reading “Sacred Outcry: A Poetic Trilogy by Mary Saracino”