In the beginning I was just Hanry Mahatthaya’s granddaughter
Then men opened doors for the barely-middleclass me
Carried feathery parcels and offered unwanted seats
On the shady side on the bus and the train
Escorted home me with dire warnings of wolves
Lurking behind every dim lamppost along the long lane home.
And then in the 70s we got the news
That the roads were paved with yellow gold bricks
In the New Jerusalem and its twin across the Atlantics
That Kristeva and Baym, hooks and the like
Had wrested the keys from the Peters of the world
To the Big Pearly F, itself
And that we were finally free –
I wasn’t aware that we weren’t so
So kept quiet not to appear the hillbilly jenny –
And the ceiling was shattered at last
That we were no longer whaling
But quilting – or is it sewing? – under the musky shade
Of a backyard flamboyant!
We sang lusty hosannas at Pera, Colombo, and Kalyaani
In black-and-white and in spoken word.
I left home and walked right through
The BPF so as to behold that Big Bright World
Waiting for me breathlessly –
Or it seemed so that day.
Today, I, with my 37 gender choices,
My tits are pinched
My rump is clamped
By not only the Bills, the Trumps,
And the Kennedys of that world
But also the Hillarys, the CBKs, the Aquinos,
And the Obamas, too
While I made finger-food for one
And Bloody Marys for the other
Tongued a cunt for one
And gave head to a non-existent dick of the other
While they had their afternoon naps
Between mopping their floors and doing their whites.