Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Issue 25, January 2013—Feminist Issue)

Carmen Gimenez Smith

  1. My mother was a cater-waiter. She wrote rubber checks that kept our dysfunction afloat. She didn’t cook or do windows.
  2. Her life was difficult because she was a brown woman. This was and is indisputable.
  3. She taught me to braid a rope of my hair out of the abyss of our class, poems for ascension.
  4. She gave me androgyny when I was trying to defy category.
  5. Or: the rules were out of my reach.
  6. In college I was groomed to overthrow patriarchy by the capri-panted rebel who introduced me to Our Bodies, Ourselves in my first women’s studies class who taught us about the number thirteen and the Venus of Willendorf. This was in the late 80s and early 90s.
  7. She encouraged me to read scholarly feminist texts, which led me to Simone de Beauvoir. After that I fell in love with Dworkin’s mordant critique of seventies porn and Rich’s takedown of the homosocial. This coterie of muses on my shoulder was as outraged as I was.
  8. I suffered with unbridled optimism and signed on at the Women’s Resource Center and began using “his or her” in my papers.
  9. I saw my cervix during a Pap smear.
  10. The whole world had a new layer of grime for me to pick at: misogyny.
  11. I decided my eggs were my own commodity.
  12. Eager to expand my newly-minted wisdom, I pored over books of anti-essentialism and feminist separatism to find the answer that would disentangle the question mark/speculum that had formed my path.
  13. Feminism tried to accommodate me inside of its confines when I was a polygon.