Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

2 thoughts on “Sexism”

  1. Strong inside but you don’t know it
    Good little girls they never show it
    When you open up your mouth to speak
    Could you be a little weak

    Do you know what it feels like for a girl
    Do you know what it feels like in this world
    For a girl

  2. i am thinking of sexism as the big tree and the little door into the museum with the guards on their walkie-talkies. you go in through that little door in the small house on the roof you climb to from the big tree. going into the door or like ALICE WONDERLAND does down a hole or some sort of internal emigration in bad times or DOROTHY OZ –think of the c.s.lewis story lion/witch/wardrobe where another world is entered, and that world is full of dangers and strangers. a pilgrimage that we are wont to go on, journeys of life, canterbury tales, seeking through your art to find that great wall to paint (as gully jimson does in the horses mouth triligy of HERSELF SURPRISED, TO BE A PILGRIM, THE HORSES MOUTH of joyce carey) or even t.h.white’s (he wrote the once and future king –later adapted as camelot)MISTRESS MASHAM’S REPOSE where the eleven year old girl flees bomb devastated london in world war II, her parents dead, to a country estate–read “kingdom”–presided over by evil wards and discovers and is rescued by lilliputian
    descendants whose ancestors had dropped from gulliver’s pockets and now inhabit a lake island.
    these are the doors even behind doors that promise escape and come in a jungian sense to seem allegories even as they are are also entries into new territory were battles are fought,courage learned/developed/exhibited. these journeys are often strange or have unexplained, have parts that we cannot understand, but we press forward in learning full of dumb terrors, desperate movement. we cannot know in advance answers nor trajectories but find “by going where we have to go”. sometimes we are kin as in the japanese fairy tale (says katherine butler hathaway in THE LITTLE LOCKSMITH) “of the man who visited a lady in her palace under the sea. it is romance, and it becomes legend. one reaches the island, is tossed ashore and stays one’s alloted time, and one leaves the island in the end. one leaves it, but the island floats there still, separate from all the rest of one’s life, foreign and almost incredible….” it is also a war where we have to kick our ways out of a paper bag into a landscape we cannot envision.


    Orange ice on the roof we climbed
    the big tree to the top a little house

    richard went in through the door down
    into the rooms of the museum

    walking through all the rooms where
    uniformed guards seem surprised

    feeling apprehensive finally he left
    back out up the way he came and got me

    we returned together but were met
    by guards talking on their walkie-talkies

    don’t know how we escaped richard said
    but i kept thinking about that big tree

    edware mycue

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