There’s a video making the cyber rounds that many more women have seen I’m sure than men. For obvious reasons. It speaks to the intrusions the state makes on a woman’s personal life that only the most religious fundamentalist would not object to but who would invoke the Almighty himself if that same state imposed restrictions on prayers in public school. It also graphically depicts there are consequences forced on the young girl who feels pressured by the state to carry an unwanted pregnancy to full term.
The video poem has received praise from around the country
MoveOn.org called [it] “the most riveting message on the war on women in under three minutes.” The poem has also been featured on Daily Kos, RH Reality Check and On the Issues Magazine. Along with stunning hate mail, she was nominated for State Poet Laureate, gave a TED talk and has since shared stages with top business leaders, state officials and rock stars. SOURCE
Words are powerful tools. They are to the poet what the hammer and chisel are to the sculpture and the brush and palette are to the painter. They create imagery more powerful than the common expressions most people use in their daily conversations with each other.
Lauren Zuniga’s poem here elicits the deep emotions and concerns of teens and young women who have been traumatized, not only by a brutal sexual encounters but the continued rape of their body by strangers who cannot share their pain as they dictate their actions from the cold marble halls of a state legislature. Laura’s words expressed in the rhythm she uses will capture your emotions and give you a sense of not only the pain these women experience during the sexual assaults on them but the pain any woman would feel if they were required to endure the vaginal probes they are forced to undergo by many state laws if they are contemplating aborting an unwanted pregnancy.
If you’re not simply overwhelmed by her sense of outrage in these verses then you then you might want to check and see if you have a pulse.
To the Oklahoma law makers who will force all women to receive an ultrasound prior to an abortion by Laura Zuniga
Why don’t you print out the ultrasound pictures in pastel framed.
Make me take them home and hang them on my wall as a souvenir of the night that is branded like red coals to flesh on my memory.
The night when his hand pressed so hard against my shoulder blade
I felt more intimacy with asphalt.
Why don’t you knit the baby a sweater. Make me take it out and smell it
on the anniversary of this day for the rest of my life
to remind me that I chose to be a “murderer”,
instead of bringing a child into a world where we kill people in the name of freedom
but imprison people in the name of life.
You could pass laws for that too, you know.
It’s bad enough that I can still see his hand prints on my thighs,
but now I can see your probing eyes
scraping across my cervix, tattooing my womb with shame.
Why don’t you send me a card every Mother’s Day
to remind me of how wretched I am
Sign it, “your friends at the state capital”
making sure you know we actually do something all day with your tax dollars.”
Look, I know it can get boring
between the porkers association breakfast and the oil and gas industry lunch
and I know you need something to do
between screwing up our election system and
passing off your racism as an immigration bill
but I need a little more from you than a piece of paper.
I mean if you really want to show me
that you believe in faith, family and freedom
then why don’t you come along for the ride.
I could have used you that night, after the football game.
Him finally showing me attention, me grasping for acceptance.
Tell me I’m special so when he hands me the next drink
I don’t look to the bottom of it for approval.
Tell me to scream louder so someone might find us.
Wrap me in a blanket when he’s done.
Take me home.
My body, a tapped keg
My heart, the grimy gym floor after the pep rally.
Give me the words to say to my parents
when I come out of the bathroom with a plus sign on the stick
and he won’t even talk to me.
The school hallway is a canyon, silence echos in my skull
and I don’t know what to do. Tell me what to do.
Sit with me at the clinic
The ticker plucking away at my innocence.
Give me the revelation that the blip on the screen is actually a baby.
Take me home when I change my mind.
Take me to the doctor every month.
Hold my hand in the delivery room.
I will name him after you if will help me do my homework
when he’s crying in the next room.
Give me food stamps, pay my gas bills,
put him in an after school program
where he learns he can sell my pain pills.
Have mercy on him when he goes to court.
Give me strength when they sentence him.
If you want to play God, Mr. and Mrs Lawmakers;
If you want to write your bible on my on my organs
then you better be there
when I am down on my knees,
pleading for relief from your morality