To A Woman

I always wrote poetry, at least occasionally. I wrote this piece over 15 years ago. I sent it around to a few publishers on a lark (MS magazine being one of them; I don’t remember where else). Nothing happened with it whatsoever. I read it again this morning. It’s different from anything else I’ve written. Unfortunately, I think it’s as relevant today – I mean I could have written it this week. If anything, things may be worse. 

 

To A Woman

You’re going to die you know
and it’s going to be horrible.

Did you get a pap smear?
Did you get a mammogram?
You’ll feel something cold.
It will just pinch a little.

Better get your calcium,
Don’t you want good bones?
Osteoporosis.
Weight-bearing exercise.
Get to a gym.

Eat your fiber.
Eat your broccoli.
I’ll bet you forgot your B12.

Heart disease kills most of you.
Have you exercised?
Eat fats, but not the wrong ones.
Looks like you need to brush up on nutrition.

Relax!
Don’t you know you should slow down?
Meditate, get some crystals, play music.
You’re too tense, take some herbs.

You’re going to die you know
and it’s going to be horrible.

What’s that suspicious lump?
Better watch that mole.
Got too much sun in the 70’s didn’t you?

Don’t let people walk on you.
Don’t be aggressive.
Get along for god’s sake.
What’s wrong with you?!

You’re not going to walk around like that are you?
Cover up that gray.
Get a nice set of implants.
Man those hips are wide.
Who’s going to love you.

Soy beans!
Magnesium!
No salt!
No sugar!

Are you laughing?
It’s good for you.
Smile!
Surely you can find something amusing.

You’re going to die you know
and it’s going to be horrible.

Lead poisoning, asbestos, carbon monoxide.
Ozone, global warming, nuclear destruction.
Don’t you know?!
It’s hard to believe you’ve come this far this naïve.

Cultivate great relationships!
Take a class!
Renew yourself!
Why are you watching TV?!

Take the stairs not the elevator.
Do subtle exercises at your desk.
Get up and walk around every 15 minutes.
You can do these things if you really want to.

The only thing stopping you is you.
Everyone can be a success.
You have the wrong attitude.

Put those chips down.
A second martini?
Candy? Are you out of your mind?!

You’re going to die you know
and it’s going to be horrible.

Men.
Don’t just wait for the ones that come to you.
Only wait for the ones that come to you.
Try lesbianism, you’re not a prude are you?

Be sexy, but don’t threaten anybody.
Be smart, but not too smart.
Don’t be funny.

Stand up straight.
Be proportioned.
Don’t be too heavy.
Don’t be too thin.

Be pretty.
But not so pretty the other girls don’t like you.
Not pretty?
Get a nose job, develop confidence, get a good hair cut.

Drink 8 glasses of water.
Take your multi.
Protein, carbs, iron, get them.
Not too much, not too little.

You’re going to die you know
and it’s going to be horrible.

Tumors.
They’re just waiting.
Liver, lungs, bone.
Throat, breast, brain.
Chemo, radiation, self-healing.
Better choose the right one.

Floss, brush, rinse.
32% of women over 70 have no teeth left.
Don’t forget your jaw is a bone!
Do you want to end up gumming your food?

Blood pressure.
Cholesterol.
HIV screening.
Bone density.
You’re getting all these checked aren’t you?

Retinol-A.
Alpha Hydroxy.
Moisturizer.
How about a skin peel?
You’re looking kind of haggard.

Be successful at work.
Don’t be too successful.
Ask for what you’re worth.
Don’t be a bitch.

You’re going to die you know
and it’s going to be horrible.

Be a good neighbor.
Go along to get along.
Don’t be disagreeable.
No one likes a boat-rocker.

A second cup of coffee?
Sour cream on your baked potato?
Buttered popcorn?
You haven’t heard a word have you?

Shave.
Wax.
Bleach.
Sugar.
Electrolysis.
Just hurts a little.

Stressed.
Depressed.
Unhappy.
Proxac.
Zoloft.
St. John’s Wort.

Take a hot bubble bath.
Try a new eye shadow.
Read a classic.
Take a walk.

You’re going to die you know
and it’s going to be horrible.

Look out!
Don’t go out alone.
Be careful who you talk to.
Don’t encourage anyone.
Danger is everywhere.

Did you lock your car?
Bolt your door?
Take self-defense?
Look confident?
But not challenging?

Don’t neglect your spirituality!
Church, yoga, inner peace.
Come on!
It’s important in this stressful world.

Life is short.
Don’t waste time.
Think you’ve got forever?
Well you don’t.

Investments, savings, IRAs, mutual funds.
Of course you have them.
You don’t want to be old, alone, and poor do you?
That’s what’ll happen.
Hung out to dry.

You’re going to die you know
and it’s going to be horrible.

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