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  • These poems are from 2 stories that took place about 15 year apart, the first when I was 25 and the second when I was around 40. Now I'm 53 and I'm still dealing with this shit.


    I moved into the separate bar

    less crowded than the restaurant.

    The maitre'd blanched and cried,

    "You can't go in there!"

    but I did

    and everyone turned to stare

    at the woman who dared violate

    the sanctity of the Men's Grill at lunch.

    All I wanted was a sandwich and a seat.

    There were plenty to be had, no line to wait.

    You'd swear I'd dripped menstrual blood

    on their hardwood floors, or

    exuded some noxious odor

    in their cigar choked air

    from the shocked and grimacing expressions

    on the all male faces, voicing complaint

    that a penis-less one presumed

    to eat in their presence.

    As the whispers and stares became comments and glares

    the manager came to tell me

    I would have to leave.

    Maybe I should have stayed and staged a revolution

    but I was very young and even more embarrassed

    so I went next door to the Women's Exchange

    where men are welcome to sit and eat,

    and choked down grilled cheddar, bacon, tomato,

    humiliation and rage.


    The bar won't let me watch TV

    because of my anatomy,

    or perhaps because

    my lack of it,

    the Country Club

    says that I can't sit

    in the bar

    and drink without a penis.

    Hell of a dress code,

    not like a jacket,

    can't even borrow one

    from the coat and hat check.

    Suppose I carried one

    in my purse

    or went to the doctor

    and got a reverse?

    Powerful little lump of flesh

    with a silly little name,

    Freud says that I envy you

    because we're not the same.

    It's not the Thing

    I envy at all.

    It's the Power and Privilege,

    the Wherewithal

    to have and do and

    sit where I please.

    I am not here

    to provide you with ease,

    or disrupt your leisure

    in any way,

    though it would give me

    pleasure to sit, smile,

    and say, "I'll have a Dewer's

    on the rocks with a twist

    and a side order of minced testicles."

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