Monday, January 25, 2010

The Patriarchy Strikes Back/Young Love Part 3

We talked a bit into the night after watching Pink Floyd: The Wall. Jane was a freshman at that point and a bit overwhelmed by college life and the challenges of Cal. A beautiful women confessing her flaws? Like catnip. Ogg man. Ogg fix things for you. Ogg make all better. Take you to cave, Ogg will, and

…ravish you?

Nope. Write another sonnet:

Second Thoughts

See what I did there? It’s the second sonnet in the series. Face meet palm.

          Maybe you don’t like sonnets – I don’t care.

And here we see the violence inherent in the system.

At this point even Little Mertseger is dimly aware that Jane might not want sonnets written for her at that particular point in her life from this particular guy. But he’s going to write ‘em for her anyway because that’s what a man does. A manly man gives due consideration to what a woman wants, ignores it, and then does what he wants anyway.

Mary Daly died a couple of weeks ago.

          Sometimes a poem is the only way
          To say something. Because you have to dare,
          If you want to communicate, O.K.?

Just who am I trying to convince here?

          Jane, you are not a husk but a cocoon.

And what woman would not want to hear that she’s not a husk, really?

          I have seen the butterfly in your smile,
          Heard it in your laughter saying, "Soon…soon…"
          And watched the wings flash in your eyes a while.

Have we thoroughly ground the butterfly metaphor into a messy pulp yet?*

          But you mustn’t be so hard on yourself.

That could be my job, if you’d just let me in.

          You’ve got to open up your curtains, Jane,
          And let your sunshine out, not leave it shelved

“Let your sunshine out” is probably the only slightly redeeming twist in this poem.

          In some musty corner smothered by rain.

But exactly how does one shelve sunshine? And how can rain smother anything, let alone musty-corneredly shelved sunshine?

          You’ve got to see the butterfly within
          Before you’ll feel your soul fly with the wind.**

Oh, the overarching sentiment of the poem is not horrible. Jane feels bed, and I’d like to be there for her. But I probably thought of myself as a feminist at that point, but was thoroughly lacking in any self-awareness about how that might matter in, you know, dating women.

*No, we have not.

**Now we have.

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