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This poem took a long time to brew. It's final articulation gives a head nod to John S. Blake's "A Letter to Chris Brown from Miles Davis" which addressed this issue from the male perspective and somehow freed me up to be a woman about it.

Sketches of Pain

Will_travel_front_grabby e. amato03 Jun 2014

After 9/11
the only music I could listen to
was Sketches of Spain
Gil Evans and Miles Davis
creating sweet melancholy
over and over for two weeks
while I mourned
something I hadn’t lost

Miles with his timbre and ambience
his use of the spaces between the sound
his intentional bending of tone to its edges
how I loved Miles

How I hated Miles
for back of his hand to beautiful cheekbone
his denigration of another artist female lover
his anger his insistence on being treated different
for being Miles for being male
for creating violence in equal measure to genius

Should I let James Brown make me feel good
forget the jail cell his wife sent him to
Let revolutionary poet move me who fathered a movement though abandoned parenting
his own biological legacy
Gaze admiringly on a Picasso without asking
How many mistresses do you need?
And why do you paint them all so ugly?

What should we do
as woman
as artist
with this violent misogyny
this daily degradation
threat to intimacy and inspiration

we are meant to hold high idolize
turn eye blinded by brass knuckles and ring
turn other cheek blackened by inadequacy
Remain silent behind blooming lips

History will not be written by a bitch slap

Feminization will not be televised
It will be tweeted in ever decreasing blips
under radar quietly dots dashes and o’s
silently it goes erasing victims and hoʼs
creating song of strong straight and bold

We are post-Oprah. We refuse to earn stripes
from abuse and black eyes. Chris Brownʼs wrongs
will never equal rights.

We will fight.
The ways we know how
with know how and silent might
for every woman been forced
coerced battered or violated downright
facing that charming man -- one hand
bearing artistry; the other sharpening knife

Men of talent with a knack
for the backhanded compliment
you are just draft dodgers faking yourself pacifist
then torching your asylums. We are tired
of putting out your fires.

You have ruined us for good men.
We no longer know how to trust them.
They have no patience for you either
so they leave us.

You are our unseen shadow
our lurker round every corner
we came to believe you were what we deserved.
You are not. You deserve only yourselves.

I canʼt forget Sojournerʼs truth just to get inspired
Canʼt watch trash talkers cash in on enlightenment
It is forever winter in our discontent
honour rent from nurturing breasts
Fierce the only medal left pinned to our chests
we are Precious we created you
we are not threatening your death

We are sketches of pain
secreting wounds that need attention
turning confidence men in our own intervention
sequester midwive reinvention
resurrect from ashen corners
gloves off mouth guards firmly in place
wildly swinging
blows to the face
this time the soundtrack is Alice Coltrane.

You are our 9/11.
This is in our name.