Friday, August 30, 2013

Two Old Poems

These were written maybe 15 years apart, the first when I was 25 and the second when I was about 40. At the time I was amazed that these ridiculous standards still existed and I'm even more appalled today that we are still fighting this garbage.


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."

The Grove is about Busch's Grove, a restaurant in St. Louis. Haven't been back so I don't know if there is a policy change, but as that area of town (Clayton/Ladue) is a heavily republican enclave I would not be surprise to see segregation still in force. The second is about the Bayou Club in Pinellas Park, Florida. My female friend and I were told we could not sit in the bar to drink a beer and watch the ballgame after playing tennis without a male escort. Maybe 1998 - 2000. They did change their policy very soon after because my friend who had invited me there was a charter member and pitched a hissy at the next board meeting.

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