Our Quiet Leaders

The original image was published in Kinesis Sept 1993. Sexual abuse and the system: Fighting back. Written by Terry D. Gibson (under the pseudonym Marie Thompson).

  When I think about women who are leaders, I cannot help but think of those who are famous and get lots of attention and benefits from their work. This propels me toward the living and breathing women whom the public does not know and may undervalue. They are the invisible and unsung heroes among us.   As a woman and a leader, I am the young tenant next door who hears your cries while your husband yells and pounds you in the wee hours of the morning. I quietly call the Police for help, begging them not to say…

Read more

“Dreamwood” by Adrienne Rich

  In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing stand there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see or the child’s older self, a poet, a woman dreaming when she should be typing the last report of the day. If this were a map, she thinks, a map laid down to memorize because she might be walking it, it shows ridge upon ridge fading into hazed desert here and there a sign of aquifers and one possible watering-hole. If this were a map it would be the map of the last age of her life, not…

Read more

Lean Into Me

As I stand small in my own forest, on the shaky feet of an infirm body, I close my eyes, pretending I am one of them. I hear the rustle of leaves, like a quiet shifting of papers on my desk, a pleasant sound to me. In that, I imagine they’re saying, “She’s okay, mate.” My body quakes but I still stand. My legs are like jelly. I wish for the power to maintain my balance, while I hear ‘Lean In’ whispered on the breeze. I do. Birds sing a familiar melody and I inhale deeply. I look around with…

Read more

Tender and Warm

She is tender and warm. Arrives on a morning fresh Without light knock or bell Like a whiff of tea and toast Upon a hot summer breeze. She is tender and warm. We perch on auburn-dabbed cliffs, shoulder against shoulder Study each other sideways. Relax, with breath abated An odd-looking pair, yet Somehow finely matched. She is tender and warm. Our bodies crumple in a fit of laughs. With our heels, we plough small Rocks along and off the dusty edge. Languish in and read saucy prose Savour a bookish kind of bliss. She is tender and warm. Inside, I…

Read more

Letter to Grandma – Kiran A. Thakare

Leaving you There in the jaw of cruel niyati thousands of miles away I came here to strengthen my beliefs and to return to fight your war my war at home.   Now three years have passed you wrote me “I am anxious to see you come home soon” I lied to you, saying “Aattya I can’t come home now I have some last moments’ work to do.” I hide from you Yes Aattya! I am trying to make some money to buy you a gift.   The thought of my return rejoices me how proud you will be to…

Read more

Your Friend Always

I will be your friend always, no gaps, no forgettings. Not until the mountains are worn away and the rivers are nothing but sand and rocks, not until it thunders and lightning comes in winter or until it snows in the summer, or until heaven and earth are the same, not until then will I leave you. First century Chinese Friendship Oath.

Read more

Freeing Myself Through A Poem By Marge Piercy

  Freeing myself from within is a huge job for me.  I have been working on it, on different levels, for decades. Still, I find comfort in words that, at once, reveal and guide me through the seemingly endless maze. This poem always helps stoke my inner power, especially as I read it aloud.   FOR STRONG WOMEN A strong woman is a woman who is straining A strong woman is a woman standing on tiptoe and lifting a barbell while trying to sing “Boris Godunov.” A strong woman is a woman at work cleaning out the cesspool of the…

Read more

Our Quiet Leaders

When I think about women who are leaders, I cannot help but think of those who are famous and get lots of attention for their works. Since they do not need any focus, I like to remember the living and breathing women whom the public does not know, and may never, because they are every woman. As a woman and a leader, I am the young tenant next door who hears your cries while your husband yells and pounds you in the wee hours of the morning. I quietly call the Police for help for you, begging them not to…

Read more