WHAT I LEARNED AT THE WAR by JEANETTA CALHOUN MISH / These poems assert that women’s stories matter. They hold space for the female body and its wars. They get down in the dirt of place (region, town, house, room) and of poverty and the working class.
Remember the girl I said I’d found? The poet-warrior? She refused to stick around. Let’s call it “the remains of winter.” Let’s call it “Trump administration.” Let’s call it #$%?!@*!!
I was totally surprised when I started evaluating progress on my official 2016 writing /poetry goals. According to my mood related to writing in 2016, I believed I’d failed every goal I’d set. Turns out, I totally nailed it.
Paying attention to all of it reminds me that I am of the world. It’s easy for me to live in my head. And while I enjoy retreating there — and need to sometimes because the world can feel too crowded — ultimately it untethers me in a bad way. I need to be in my body.
It’s the episode in which I throw a bunch of tantrums and grow deeply resentful. It isn’t pretty, but it’s my stubborn process of relearning lessons. Like this: if I don’t claim my own space, I’m useless to everyone.
Do you believe in synchronicity? We’ve been writing about gatekeepers, and this card appeared in my mail along with a deck of tarot-type cards I’d ordered: “The gatekeepers are gone. You are the one who will open the door to your dreams.”
If I define legitimacy as believing in my voice and the creative work regardless of permissions (in other words: *I* say it’s important; *I* say it has value), I can muster the wind.