poem of womanhood

I have a truth to tell about last month. It was a disaster–you already know April is a cruel month dear-reader. But for a poetry fanatic like me, it was an utmost disaster, with bits of poems sprinkled on random sheets of paper and some words refusing to stick on any page.

I won’t even be spending my weekend with DC’s second annual Louder Than a Bomb high school poetry performance competition. I had no idea the first one even happened, which goes to show you how fickle my love for poetry must be. Now, it isn’t that I think less of poetry. Truth be told, in a parallel universe, I am still in high school–where Poetry Out Loud and Louder Than a Bomb welcome me.

Right now, I am old. Old in the sense that I don’t need to be told that poetry can and will channel whatever troubles float through my head. And old in the sense that I have to take poetry seriously–it’s not always about my therapy. I have to remind myself: above all, Claudia is an academic, a future educator. It is because I’m such a fantastic academic that I am spending the weekend studying the things I really love… things like precalculus and sarcasm.

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things like scattered, poem-less pages

So, to start May on the right foot…

Poem of Womanhood

Momma used to say only grown women

wear make-up, and I would stare,

seeing little girls playing pretend:

their eyelids stealing strips of the rainbow

with pinks sprayed on their cheekbones,

and their eyelashes sprinkling desire

their lips coated in red, which so easily turned into hatred.

Momma used to say being a woman meant being chased.

I demurred and resolved to never play tag again

or parade my face in cosmetics…

until keeping my word was no longer a choice,

and I found the occasional necessity

to wear my smile with the softest of lips

and to conceal the pink in my cheeks

to keep secret that I was holding my breath

that my heart turned into drums when I woke,

and I could no longer deny that I was in love,

doomed to be crushed and be second class

to a lover aware of my insignificance.

With a blush of my cheeks I had confessed

I love this volatile existence,

even though Momma always says,

the truth about Life is that it behaves like most men–

out to capture hearts for breaking

and the strongest of sufferings is the sting of love,

but I believe if I love honestly, madly enough

Life will crumble at my humbleness,

refuse to see me as child, daughter, woman,

or could-be mother, but as an equal (and a fool).

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