Femspec Poetry

Poetry is an art and a creative form of expression that will never die. Its honesty, emotion, and sometimes playful nature will always capture the minds of deep thinkers, and steal the hearts of sentimental souls. Poetry makes ordinary words come alive and dance on a page, enlightening us, moving us, and perhaps even making us chuckle.

Susan McLean's poem "Circe," certainly would make any frustrated female nod and laugh in humorous agreement with the mythological character that is presented in the poem.

Helen Crump's "Morning Wake-Up Sun" also causes one to nod and smile at its innocence and childlike truthfulness.

Poetry will always be welcomed with open eyes, open minds, and open hearts here at Femspec. So poets, please continue to submit and dazzle us with your passionate love of words.

Send submissions to (Note: Only subscribers may submit work to Femspec):
Femspec, 1610 Rydalmount Road, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

All inquiries should be directed to Batya Weinbaum.

Untitled
Marie Kazalia
To be published in an upcoming issue of Femspec

no Elvis sightings

instead I encounter
Pablo Picasso eating lunch

a drunk Gertrude Stein

Jean Cocteau asking for spare change

and Marcel Duchamp
with William Burroughs
faced-off across a chess board
in a park--

and I look & dress
something like a middle-aged Mina Loy

Encountering Kali

by Phebe Belser

They say it gets under your skin. One week after returning, I remember
Varanasi. I see the ghats reaching into the Ganges River. I see the faces of
the people — rickshaw drivers eager for business, women in their beautiful
saris carrying babies or pitchers of water from the river, holy beggars
lining the last block leading to Assi Ghat. I miss the cows wandering
freely, never to end up on the menu of the one McDonald's we saw on
the way to the airport. I don't miss the wild dogs, sleeping on the side
of a busy street between searches in the garbage for meager scraps. On
my first rickshaw ride, I vowed, "I can't save all the dogs." Can I even
save myself?


In Hinduism there is nothing to save. You are born holy and then you just
do your best. Daily dharma and giving garlands of fl owers to goddesses
and gods. At the Durga Temple, a priest's assistant walked us through
everything: leave your shoes, buy offerings of flowers, then pay rupees
at each visitation. At the end, another priest would place a black string
necklace with seven knots around my neck and chant blessings. Someone
else tied a red string around my left wrist. First the outer circle of the
courtyard: Ram, then Sarasvati, Shiva, and Kali. Main stage, though, belonged
to the courageous Durga: in the crowd I could barely see her, safe
in her alcove with the cage doors opened briefl y for darshan [viewing]
of the morning crowd. After walking up steps and reaching the domed
central area, I rang the bell and made sure I touched the front step, then
my heart. Always respectful, aware that Maria and I were the only two
Westerners paying homage to the fi erce Mother Durga today.


Kali was the one who will haunt me the most: black face with red tongue
hanging out, daring us to cross her. Her priest had me place my garland
of white flowers on door of the black cage-alcove Kali resided in. There
was a flame beneath; I worried about the fl owers burning but followed
the priest's instructions. I rang the bell three times, first hesitantly, then
with more vigor after he did, indicating I should ring it more energetically.
Kali had always frightened me. Now, though, I know those skulls
around her neck are nothing to fear: Kali is about killing our egos and
promising bliss in return.

Morning Wake-Up Sun

by Helen Crump

Lying on my stomach,
head pillowed by the cross-fold of my arms,
my right leg moved against the back of the left
in that subconscious and conscious rocking motion

— that reflects the habit of infancy and childhood,
that soothed the body and spirit, eased the mind,
and called forth the peace and comfort of sleep.
I sought that elusive bit of imaginative information
that encourages and creates dreams,
and transports me to another world
where I explore unknown powers, skills,
and relationships,
where fantasies and desires are revealed and explored.

Having been eased out of one of these
dream-induced worlds by some desire to wake early,
therefore, to check the clock
until it rang of some sufficient time for rising,
I tried to recapture the wonderfully active dream
that now seemed just out of my reach.
As the hour approached 6 a.m.,
and the sun slowly eased its way
through shade, curtain, sheer,
I felt the light teasing
just below my eyes,
ever so carefully trying to pry them open
with hints of light against the outside,
shining, glowing inside of my lightly closed lids.
In an attempt to hold back this intrusion,
I shift the right arm,
bringing the soft flannel sheet up
to hide my face from this too early guest.
Yet, the impression has been made,
a possibility and reminder of activities initiated,
and so now I am stretching, turning, rising
and out of bed to begin my day.

Circe

by Susan McLean

Men are pigs.
Not all men, of course.
Some are wolves or bears,
quite a few are sheep,
and Odysseus would
have been a passable fox
if he hadn't spoiled my spell.
But your average man
makes a really fine porker.

They all want to be waited on —
fed, made comfortable,
not expected to do anything
around the house
but eat and sleep and rut.
(Only men and pigs
are in rut all year round).
My way of giving them
what they want is just
a little more efficient.

Odysseus never asked
his men how they felt
about being changed back.
He saw them crying and
thought it was with relief.
They stuck around for a year,
swilling down wine and food
and pestering the servants.
In the end, I told
them all to go to hell,
and they followed my advice.