Here is the poster from one of my favorite movies Freddie Got Fingered staring Tom Greene (seen here to the left,) and Rip Torn as his dad.
As many of you know, the towers that are A Word with you Press immigrated to the land of the double entundra from Oceanside, California this past July. We have had close to fifty entries to our contest (many received yet to be posted) and now at last we have our first Muscovite entering The First Annual Peggy Dobbs Write-of-Passage Contest.
Before I introduce you, here are a few things you should know.
We who post these contests do it for love, and the pleasure of sharing talents of experienced and developing writers. The day job supports the rent and expenses, and I am pleased to say that more of my own income is coming from editorial clients, and over the next sixth months, I expect that the core at the towers, meaning Moi, Diana Deihl, Derek Thompson, Gary Clark and Billy Holder, will be generating more income from the sale of our own published works, and making publication of your works an affordable possibility for you through A Word with You Press.
But as far as the stories that are posted on line, bear in mind we are not censors; we are editors. As Jerry Rubin said “Freedom of speech is the right to cry ‘theater’ in a crowded fire.” We do not publish anything, however, that degrades any particular category of people. Nor do we allow thornography–oops!–pornography! And While Penelope Cruz and Tom Cruise are fair game, Ted Cruz is off limits. No Obama bashing or spiking the Tea Party.
We come together on this site to improve our skills at evoking responses of the mind, spirit, flesh, and or soul of our fellow creatures who happen to believe in the power and beauty of the written word. Lavish praise, when genuine and supported by your insights are always welcome as comments, but so also are comments critical of the writing and suggestive of ways to make it better. And PLEASE make sure that your entries are sent in as a word attachment.
Hey! It’s snowing outside! Fo’ real!
Here is a provocative piece from the first Muscovite to check us out. Let’s hope there are plenty more just like her and our numbers continue to grow. Presenting a
LETTER TO MY SON
by Gisele Nu
To My Son,
There is no way to explain it all and I don’t know when or if you could ever understand.
There are forces at work in this universe that I am still trying to figure out. I feel the futility even
now using words; yet, I go on.
Your father is not a bad man. Men, as you will one day be yourself, are not evil. There is,
however, an imbalance. A driving factor, ever since deities were made exclusively one and
exclusively male, that has disrespected the ultimate feminine and affords a woman no regard.
As a mother, I make my decisions knowing this. I make my decisions based on a certainty
that the men in your life could not possibly themselves understand. A woman with strength and
wisdom will do that which is necessary, regardless of whether or not the other figures in her life
can comprehend the depth of her actions.
As a result:
Some women’s tongues have been removed;
Some women’s hearts;
And some women have been thrown into water to sink or swim, dying either way.
The fact is, when the brotherhood becomes twisted enough to forget the mother, a woman
can no longer speak in any manner and be understood. I pray, that by the end of this letter, you
will understand. But I have no way to know for sure.
So, I sit at this old kitchen table that has traveled with me despite it being nothing of
monetary value. The value is intrinsic: the energy of a family and children who have sat and
supped, colored and cried and made mountains of cookies. It is here I sit to write.
Winter. The season is long, but not as cold, so far, as some past. The nights come on
early and wear on. The most beautiful black and blue sky of winter dusk comes through our
window in muted light, framed by another woman’s carefully-crafted curtains from times before.
You were conceived with love.
Not a love for your father. Not that kind of love between souls. But a love and trust and
force of the universe. A love and trust larger. I made love to the universe and you are the result.
Your father came from a Christian faith; a fundamentalist view that must put a woman ‘in
her place’ in order to build a man’s self esteem; to punish a woman and to subdue nature.
Nature, we are already seeing wasted, used and thrown away; disregarded as women have
been since christ, mohammed, yaweh and the so called ‘birth of civilization’.
“Birth”! A farce, this notion of the ‘birth’ of civilization. It is a fabrication; not a birth; not
creation. Fabrication. Lies. Structures. Control. A man cannot give birth, my son. But there is no
shame in this.
They tied down my arms, covered my belly, and cut you from me. I was told it was
necessary. Everyone in the room, women included, believed it was true. But I knew better. The
doctors joked. They talked about their days and made light of the massacre. But when it was said
and done, they cut you from me, put you into your father’s arms and rolled me away to some
other room to sew me back together. Your first contact with skin, your first sense of safety, your
first everything was with a man that I was not dating, not married to, not together with. It was
with a man who contributed his seed, and would not doubt love you, but could never know what
I knew. Could never understand what was given and shared in that 10 months. Could never, as
no man ever should, decide how, when and whether you would be born.
When they brought you in so I could nurse, nourish you as I had been waiting so long to do, you latched on without direction and would not stop until you were 1 year old. But by this point, I was not your mother, I could have been anyone. Already, you knew your father as the sole creator.
Already, I was only a fractured vessel modified by a man’s will instead of a vessel,
whole, through which you emerged. When my skin was pierced, I began to lose you. By the
time the cord was severed, I was no longer myself.
But even these words don’t explain enough. I knew you were never ‘mine’ to begin with
in a way that is inconceivable to the men that were in that room. You were your own entity from
the beginning. And I respected your autonomy. It was your father, his church, your grandfather
and the medical brotherhood who chose to whom you would belong who decided your fate. You:
a child of the universe. But they could not accept you were your own. They certainly could not
accept you came from inside of me.
You are my very flesh and blood. You are of my body. You are made and bathed and
nurtured of me. But they discredited that. They hacked you out and called you theirs and in that moment, you and I, we both were owned.
To this day, I want to kill to have that moment back; that moment they claimed our lives
and decided our future.
I am sorry, my son.
I let them cut you from me and now we will never be, together, what we could have been.
I write this to you as a beginning. I do not know the end. But I swear it is not too late.
May wisdom and love transcend the damage that has been done.
May the earth inform us so we can find our way back to home.
May time heal our ignorance.
May you forgive me and may I forgive them.
But let us not forget.
4 thoughts on “At last, Moscow answers…”
1. One “fabrication” is enough- two is redundant. I see that it was supposed to echo, but it doesn’t flow well. I’d just leave out the second one.
2. “Together with” seems awkward. Is there another way to describe the non-relationship?
3. “Women included,” during the birth scene, although driving home the point that they, too, are indoctrinated, sounds not-quite professional, somehow.
4. “Not doubt love” = “no doubt love,” and “that 10 months” = “those ten months?” (Also, high-five from another ten-monther. Haha.)
5. “no man ever should” = “No man should ever” – that way the stress falls on the rhyme of could/should
6. I got sort of lost in the paragraph about nursing/ being unknown. Further explanation/detail?
7. “It was your father, his church, your grandfather and the medical brotherhood who chose to whom you would belong who decided your fate.” Is the end of this sentence supposed to be there?
8. Could not accept THAT
9. “I want to kill” = “I would kill” sounds still heartfelt but less… Suddenly scary? compared to the rest of the tone (aching, grieving, compassionate, seeking truth & justice)
10. Decided our FUTURES, perhaps? To reinforce separation, rather than shared future?
11. May never be, rather than will never. You say soon after that it isn’t too late, so leave hope.
12. Find our way back home, without the “to,” and “heal ignorance,” without “our.”
PS, You are an amazing woman & mother. The world needs more Gentle, Angry People (in the words of one of my favorite church songs…) and I am proud of you for doing this work. *hugs*
A strong emotive piece of poetry and prose. Heartfelt and written with a purposeful force.
I found your wirting to be raw, earthy, female wisdom that was painful to read with blessings of physical connection and separation. Here is a kindness to men which they do not deserve.
As a lover of men, I appreciate your poetic view of their intrinsic misunderstanding of the deeper power of the feminine (not better or worse, but different). As a womanist, I feel deeply a lot of the poetry and cycle of what you are saying. I personally do not agree that God is solely male, but I understand why you wrote it, as millennia of marketing has presented Him as He, and it is more readily understood in so many cultures. Thorny Thorn and I get into editing conversations often, and at some point I must claim my voice as its own, regardless of the way that it “reads” or “flows” – and he appreciates my voice, even when it doesn’t line up with his. It is what made him and I friends, and not just peeps who read, and wrote, and talked together a few times (then there was that thing with the cake… but I digress). I appreciate the fact that you wrote your beautiful love-missive in such a way that it elicited both positive and negative responses from me, which is the sign of “good writing” in my humble opinion. I like your framework, and can easily pull pragmatic details from what I have read. I worry for your son in the hands of the men in your writing creation. I worry for the body of the woman you wrote. And so I say, well done Gisele. Very well done.