“Women” by Barbara Crooker

Barbara Crooker


after Dorianne Laux’s “Men”

It’s tough being a woman, feeling you’re an object to be bought,
an elusive quarry, something to be chased and caught,
when you know you’re more than that. So pull me a draught,
Charlie, give me something dark and frothy. Wars have been fought
for less—I came in wondering what a girl’s got
to do to get herself noticed? I mean, I’m so hot,
I could melt neon. You want my number? Well, jot
it down, big boy. I won’t call you. I have a karaoke slot
at nine p.m.; I’m thinking a Madonna medley will do. Lots
of water under this dam. I want to be a player, not a mascot.
I want something bathed in dark chocolate, with a nougat
center. I want a lobster in my steaming pot,
champagne on ice, and two chairs by a wrought
iron table on a terrace in France. Whoever sought
the fountain of youth can forget it. The lies the movies taught?
They’re a crock, a foolish dream, a vicious plot.
Life isn’t fair, you’ve got to play your cards, no matter what.
I could have been Dean of Women, a cover girl. An exot-
ic dancer at a go-go bar. Or married to a guy with a yacht.
But I’m not. So pour me another shot of Jack, O Great Zot.

from Rattle #51, Spring 2016
Tribute to Feminist Poets

[download audio]


Barbara Crooker: “I’ve never understood women who preface remarks with ‘I’m not a feminist, but …’ If you’re a woman, then wanting equal pay for equal work, control over your own body and your own reproductive rights, etc., ought to be part of your birthright. As humans on this fragile planet, we all ought to be working for equality in all areas, from the marketplace to the voting booth, every day.” (website)

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