Get over, get under, get out, shout

This poem has real personal significance. When I was robbed a few years back, my mother told me a story Coleman Barks told her about being robbed and needing to consciously stop feeling robbed in order to move on. Then I found this poem, by Naomi Nye, who has been my hero and my mentor since I was in high school, and her reference to Coleman’s story brought everything full circle.

I post it now because I’m trying to stop feeling robbed since the election. Robbed of my rights, robbed of my country, robbed of my hope and faith. I want to stop feeling robbed.

What Has Been Done To Women
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Yesterday you cried in the car when you said soldiers in that war asked if women were fair game and the leaders said, “Yes, fair game, do anything you want to them.” My own throat filled up when you said the woman you are loving now asks you to please to say more sweet things to her. We passed battered barns and bushes, every license plate said OREGON in one color or another. We passed the rest stop planted with trees of all the 50 states. The really hot sunny states were having trouble. Access roads and overpasses, stores selling all manner of useless things. I watched the seam of your cheek as you spoke, we named people we had loved that the other would never know, they were clues to the road. We talked about the ugly words hurled at women for centuries, how they all have a click-shut sound, and why is it some lives feel hard as a curb that you kick. And how they could be softened. I told you about Coleman, on the night he was robbed, saying, “How long do you stay robbed once you’ve been robbed? I think I’m getting over it” – and Susan, later, translating “robbed” into “raped” and weeping with joy – how long it takes anybody to get over, get under, get out, shout.


~ by realsupergirl on November 9, 2004.

2 Responses to “Get over, get under, get out, shout”

  1. Thanks for the poem postings. This is a very powerful one, even though I do not fully understand it.

    When I heard that Ashcroft resigned today, I was forced again to think about Bush’s (re)election. It seems like a very bad dream, and I can not seem to shake that feeling.

    And to add to that, we have here in Oregon the passage of 36 (the anti same-sex constitutional amendment.) I don’t know if I think it’s fair to use the whole free state/slave state analogy, but I do agree with the feeling behind that and I feel somewhat heartened by the fact that you live in a “free” state.

    I just want to wake up and have it be November 3rd again and have it be different. Part of me is stuck, waiting for that to happen because I never imagined that 36 would pass and W would win. It wasn’t that I didn’t think they had good chances. It was just that, for some unknown reason, I could not imagine those things happening. And yet, here we are and I find myself unable to make sense of things. I too hope I can get passed these feelings…..feel some hope and some sense that things will get better. I wish I could offer more words of encouragement, but at this point all I can offer is this– I can relate.

  2. Part of me is stuck too, which is why I keep turning to poems to help me feel a little less stuck.

    Regarding the free state/slave state metaphor, I had this vision the other day of a new “underground railroad” to bring queers to Massachusetts to get married, and somehow keep them registered as married couples here even if they go back in live in other places…I don’t know how it would work, but I like envisionining it…

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