“I felt more intimacy with asphalt”

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

 

Related Article:

Violence Against Women is as American as Apple Pie

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7 responses to ““I felt more intimacy with asphalt”

  1. I’m not an atheist, nor an agnostic, but I know this: I want religion out of politics. Practice it in your homes and in your churches but stop imposing your religious beliefs on the rest of us. This bill was an astounding display of such egregious intrusion into the lives of women. Fortunately, the bill died here in Idaho this session. But the fools will be back next year.

  2. “But the fools will be back next year.”

    I fear you are right Jean because there is that element in society that do not see this is as a social issue but as a spiritual battle between the forces of “good and evil”. How do you reason with such a comic book mentality?

  3. What bothers me the most is that females are sexualized from a very young age (Toddlers in Tiaras, Bratz and Monster High Dolls, etc.). Yet when women act on the learned behavior that we are nothing if we are not sexually attractive to men, we are suddenly “sluts” and if we don’t, we are “teases.” “The Handmaiden’s Tale” is becoming frighteningly prophetic.

  4. Keep i mind, I detest the way these people are attacking women from all sides, but it is an election year and this is all they have…..they have NO plans for saving the country from ruin other than keeping women “in their place”…..I say to women, if you want this to stop then all of you get out and VOTE!

    And keep in mind all the promises the local guys gave you and vote their butts out of office……..

  5. Holy Jesus, this just set me down and left me with my mouth agape and how someone can write so beautifully about such tragedy and how can anyone on this blessed earth do this to women who tell us stories like this? Thank you a million times for this poem. Oh Lord, I must keep this.

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