Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fighting For Airtime - Travelling Light Extract

Fighting For Airtime
written by Zena Edwards May 2010©

I have been a woman that has
looked out of windows, stood on street corners,
cleaned floors on my knees,  borne children
on my knees and  chased rainbows
wrote my name out loud in a cloud
from a deep sigh on the glass
a silent gale force
that could huff and puff and blow
the houses of patriarch down

The space that my voice was to occupy
my part in the harmony, my heart on the melody
my life woven in the song of life’s symphony
was constricted, my voice,
hollow chest,  shallow depth, suffocating

See when it was my turn to talk
which wasn't very often (because I am a woman)
a child’s voice squeezed out, 
my voice on this tongue, hadn’t a chance to grow
this was lesson one
speaking my mind is a minefield
 trip wires every where,
in the court, where I must have wanted it dressed like that
at work after the sexual harassment case,
at war, after the 17th rape
disgraced there was no returning
at home, he walked in the door, high, pissed and late,
full of misplaced hate, number 2million and 8 on the jobless list
and still punctuated his demands for dinner with a fist

but I found when it was my turn to talk
(which was not very often)
being black,  my tongue had the weight
of a continent wrapped in chains
fixed to a concrete slab (tied to it)
and a whip crack was all that came out
when I opened my mouth

when it was my turn to talk
 they told me I was to old, that I was too fat ,
that I was too skinny, that I was too fat
 they told me my skin was too dark, that I had to fix the attitude
 that came with it
 the one that asked “why not?”
 the one that said no and meant it

They asked me to tell that voice to behave,
to bury it, in this here conscripted government grave
Where it will be logged and forgotten about  for the next millennium
my input would only upset the equilibrium

you trade my voice, trick it, trap it,
 force it then beat it if it refuses
to sleep with man number 13 at this hour of the morning
stack it up as dirty money, stained. moss green –
bottle fly blue, purple aubergine, mucky yellow mottle
the colour of bruises, the colour of lust,
 the colour of  my  dreams
that stand in the corner stunned
turned, facing the wall
they cannot look at this me,
this scene of my dignity’s carnage

When it was my turn to talk
 It was made perfectly clear that there
was no space for me to talk here
 amongst the men, amongst the testosterone
 because the hysteria that sits below my navel,
it raises the risk of instability
in a system that is evidently working so fucking well
war running smoothly, lining the pockets
of  arms and oil traders
might scupper the race to evacuate this planet made dump,
by fantasy space invaders

the plot the rule the world
 is working thank you very much
to protect herself,  a woman has to know
when to make her presence felt and when to shut up
and stay skinny, stay fat, stay uneducated,
stay at home, stay on your back, stay in the kitchen,
stay under cover of broken wings,
while they sing with tenor, alto and bass
 sonic booms that crack the face of this earth
till she bleeds lava, tsunami whips her hair,
floods the land with her tears
and I am here,
looking out of the window of this body
displaced in my own skin
trapped between brick walls and the corrugated
 sheets of a run down shanty town
called life where I’m barely existing

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