Warnings of attitude –
a fiery-tempered miss
with whom I’ll be working,
tweaks a memory – intrigued,
I promise to familiarize myself.
Perfectly parted raven tresses
cascade over stiff, slender shoulders,
porcelain features suggesting purity,
pierced by autumn sky eyes – once
menacingly brooding, then clear as a
summer’s day – she perches proudly
Rumours echo in my mind –
tales of truancy, back talk, and
lashing out – a trail of intimidation.
Where are her parents? I wonder.
Absent, distracted, in avoidance
of this wayward youth – I hurt for her.
Smirking at my attempts to sympathize,
her eyes accusations: It doesn’t matter what
I do – they don’t care; nobody cares. So what?
Don’t you care, I want to shake her, don’t you
worry about your future, see the damage you
are causing – I maintain composure – she is,
after all, an A student – gifted survivor.
I drive her to a party of her peers,
watch her slice through the crowd –
her smile a sharp-edged weapon –
she settles in a corner, smolders,
then tiring of the meaningless, signals
an exit, stragglers in tow – boys entranced
by her mystery – she does not shrug them off.
She leads us to a bar – an adult space –
where despite her underage, I watch her
morph into Lilith, claws wielded, lips dripping
bloody, black venom, she turns on me,
I recoil, regroup, strike back, calling her
Genevieve, we both withdraw, retreat.
Complete with entourage – she silent
in the passenger seat, I exhausted,
feeling used – no guidance from self –
absorbed teens – craving cooperation,
careen through back country, attempt
direction, miscalculate, aim again.
I deliver my charges without incident,
note with dismay the consensus of
detached parenting – alarmed that
fresh-out-of-childhooders have no rein –
finally find the words to ask my protegé:
Do you think you might be hurting yourself?
Angst responds, without speaking:
What is the point, it asks, when the world
is self-occupied; when rules extinguish
expression; when apathy has replaced
concern; and conformity has no definition,
outside of construed norms: unattainable
at best – we are materialistically baited
robots, mechanically jumping to fulfill what?
One-upmanship? Social redemption – hardly.
Why should I strive for excellence when
excellence does not acknowledge me –
maybe doesn’t exist at all – I have ideas,
I have passion, and compassion, and all
I see is misogyny – a schizophrenic view
of womanhood that disallows perfection
while simultaneously demanding it. How
am I supposed to find myself in all that?
Memory floods back – hopes and dreams
stifled by dysfunction, onscreen beauties
defiled then rescued by oddly aloof males,
women with voices slammed as unfeminine –
mixed messages of my youth rush back
with new clarity – this child is me – violated
and unprotected – her inner screams masked
by an outwardly defiant persona – duplicitous.
We work together, she and I, a co-joint
adventure to reveal truths, liberate souls
and serve, as is our calling. She, young,
idealistic; me, old and sometimes wizened –
we fight for the under-bitch – the not fully
realized potential of all women – oppressed
by commercialism and sexism, negated by
culture and patriarchal driven standards.
Warnings of attitude –
a fiery -tempered miss
with whom I’ll be working –
and I give thanks that she’s still
residing within me – a familiar.