Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Some Thoughts and Poem after the Murder of Myra Ical

I'm always disturbed after another senseless murder of a transgender person, and why does it have to happen so often? I realize that but for grace it could be me, or any one of many friends, some transgender and some who might be perceived that way.

These moments remind me of how precarious life really can be. Of that moment in the lower Montrose when I was once surrounded by thugs, and only a spark of humor within that came from nowhere distracted them enough for me to break free and run desperately to a nearby police station. There but for grace. Of others who have died horribly, shot, stabbed, strangled. There but for grace. I imagine how I might feel lying there, my life slipping away for nothing more than being true to self. I am certain I would be asking myself, how can I threaten someone so much?

Every year we gather to hear the list on the Day of Remembrance. The names of those for whom grace was no more. Myra Ical had family in Guatamala, but no one here. People who knew her said she was a hard worker and a loving soul. What was life like for her in Guatamala? Did she come here where she felt she could find her true self? Only to have it end in a bitter but unsuccessful struggle with hate filled souls who could not just let her be? I wonder if we will ever know.

I know this. There was a living thinking loving being a week ago, by all accounts a caring soul. Today she is gone. One more number, one more statistic. Her memory lives in a website and with those who knew her. Her life was celebrated by a community in the Montrose who never knew her.

Some years back, after the senseless murder of two transgender women in Washington D.C., I wrote a poem. It is pertinent because now, as then, such senseless killings remind me of my difference, my separation in a world of either/or. As a post operative woman in this crazy world, that separation will never quite go away. There will be those who hate, and if realized, those who will kill. One clarification for the reader. In that poem I speak of Michfest. That is the Michigan Women's festival, where for a long time a women born women policy existed. It may still. While I defend any business to make their own choices of who they invite, it nevertheless exemplifies the separation to which I was alluding. It's meant to be spoken word, but for here, the written form will have to suffice. Also, I lack the skill to take out the double spacing, which may be just as well.


I am woman. My heart my being my spirit and soul seeing

Screaming from every pore for all to hear… I am woman!

Touch my soul and know the vision which after body revision

Remains the same. Taste my lips a woman’s lips softened by

Tears and years of caring and daring to be the same as that person

Who stares out through these weary eyes… So many sighs.

Tears of joy, and tears from indescribable heart break

Family torn asunder and former friends wonder and the loss

And hurt tearing away at ego but also taking pieces of my self along the way.

Is self truth always this brutal? And is it so dangerous

That we are killed and beaten and thrashed and trashed just for being who we are? Just the other day, two women like me shot over and over in their car.

Is the death of trans- cendental souls one more symbol of the fear of a privileged gender

afraid to surrender even a tiny vestige of it’s power and hold

Over the hearts and minds and possessions of fifty one percent of all of us?

In a world of patriarchy and privilege, I am woman. My state says it is so, my body says it is so.

My breasts, my skin, my vagina all proclaim I am woman.

When my beloved in sensual understanding and lips and hands ever more demanding,

She brings me confirmation, an oh so erotic demonstration of love with a woman.

My essence, my energy, my dreams, loving without bounds baring my soul …

A woman’s soul, complex and multilayered with dreams yet to be dared,

and hopes and loves and fears and scarred with loss untold

And yet still soft and yielding when heart touches heart

And becomes a piece of a larger universal woman centered moon empowered

Stream of conciousness that some call Goddess and others call Womyn’s space

And still others do not name but are empowered just the same.

Yes I am woman and I cry like a woman and my soul feels the sheer exuberance of being just exactly who I am.

But.. oh the sadness and heartbreak and heartache that comes with that word.

But… a conjunctive with repercussions in my soul and psyche that will remain always

A reminder of the price of self truth and the consequence of being.

I turn to my closest friends, those who love me the most where trust has been so freely shared.

My friends assure me.. You are so loved, so special, an energy of woman embodied.

Then the condition, the but in my life, the anguish of the soul, the difference that separates

Creates that chasm beyond which I cannot go.

Because of that abberation of birth, piece of unwanted undesired flesh

I will always be separated. My friends say meaning well I am sure

You are such a special person! I would love you no matter what or who you are!

No matter what or who you are. No matter what or who you are.

The words ring in my ear, a truth accepted but less desired than all other truths combined.

They clamor to explain. You are a woman, only different! I will never know first blood, or any menses for that matter

Never could I as a child bond with my girlfriends in the way they have done.

Until I could repair the wrong that dangled below I was the recipient of privilege… Different you know?

There was no first corsage or the date who never showed

There was no father-daughter dance or first romance… not that way anyhow.

Does it mean I am not a woman? Of course not! Just… DIFFERENT.

In a world where I was born “different” I remain now as then… different.

Oh I love my new life and the joy and love that comes from being this woman

At times makes my senses reel and my heart skip in enthusiastic glee for the woman who is me.

I find the love and strength and renewing spirit of womyn’s space Empowering, exhilarating, comforting, and transforming all at one time.

From one woman to another, we share our lives and our stories and our souls

And we do rituals and honor croning and maidenhood and motherhood as women have done

Throughout the expanse of life’s journey. Our tears and our laughter are offered before the Great Mother

Who smiles at our offerings with a gleam of delight.

But in those moments, those horrible wrenching moments when Difference rears it’s head, when the “But” comes to rule,

The arrow of despair pierces my heart and one more tear is offered from coffers that have no bottom.

My friends are excited! It is time for Michfest, a festival of women celebrating women

And being women and the ultimate in what women’s space is about.

A lover of women’s space and women’s music wishing to revel with my partner in this sacred space

I become different. I am not welcome to this space. And still another tear is shed as offering to Earth Mother.

I would not understand, I could not understand.. At Michigan I am not woman, but OTHER.

So it is in my walk of life. I am woman to most, other to some, non human to still others

Loved, hated, smiled at and reviled. Praised and hated, a source of confusion for many.

I do not understand it, some say. I do not want to understand it say others.

But life goes on and love goes on and hate and fear go on also.

To all who hope that my kind will disappear and those who revel in my difference

What we have not in common rather than what we do, I smile sweetly, and offer this simple reality:

I can only be me and you can only be you and we can be we or never

But my truth will remain, agree or complain, and from my truth you cannot sever

For in truth to self I have found truth in others and the same for love it is clear

To leave behind that which is me would leave me with nothing but fear.

My soul lives, and will beyond death and it is a beautiful soul prepared to love, prepared to live, prepared to dance .

If you dance with me, then we dance together, but if you cannot, I shall dance alone.

Jessica Wicks

Copyright August 26, 2002

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why I can never be a Capitalist

The world's attention is directed towards the devastation and destruction of Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world hit by a horrific earthquake. It's focused not only our attention to the human toll, but the shame for which we in the U.S. share responsibility.

Dating all the way back to President Jefferson, a slave owner, who refused to recognize the newly found government of Haiti after a slave revolt freed them from the French. That by the way is where Pat Robertson says the earthquake stemmed, the so called pact with the devil by slaves daring to want freedom. Pat, the real Satan was a system that literally worked and starved a people to death, treated as property and expendable to corporate profit.

In 1915, the U.S. invaded Haiti, leaving only after getting favored status for American businesses. Ever since then the profits have been pocketed by corporations rather than the people who work in their factories.

Surely that must be better today? Ummm NO.

Disney memorabilia is made there. Anyone bought any Disney stuff? Way overpriced imho. Yet they pay their workers 11 cents per hour, or around 1 dollar a day. Bought a dress at KMart? Some of those dresses are made in Haiti. Again 11 cents per hour. The Rice Corporation of Haiti, a subsidiary of U.S. owned Comet Rice has virtually swallowed all rice farmers in Haiti, taking their property and owning a virtual monopoly on rice production. We hear the altruism of former President Clinton in delivering aid to the Haitians. But take a glance at this report found at informationclearinghouse.info:

The US – destroyer of the Haitian economy

Food First, a US NGO in a report identified US policies as directly responsible for the destruction of Haiti’s indigenous food production. Moreover, the Clinton administration demanded that the main condition for the removal of the military junta which had deposed Aristide’s government in 1991 was the acceptance of US-imposed conditions which included,

"[The] eliminat[ion] [of] the jobs of half its civil servants, massively privatize public services, dramatically slash tariffs and import restrictions, get rid of price and foreign exchange controls, grant "emergency" aid to the export sector, reinforce an "open foreign investment policy," create special corporate courts where "judges are more aware of the implications of their decisions for economic efficiency," rewrite its corporate laws, limit the scope of state activity and regulation and diminish the power of the executive branch in favor of the traditionally more conservative Parliament."

The Food First article continues,

"In 1994 USAID claimed it was feeding upwards of 70,000 Haitians per day. It insists U.S. food aid is not competing with Haitian production because the food provided is not grown in Haiti. But Haitian and U.S. researchers have concluded what Food First has argued for years-that U.S. food aid is undermining local production. Massive increases in U.S. food aid drove down the prices of Haitian agricultural goods in local markets. Rice production dropped 35 percent in 1991-1992. The U.S. owned Rice Corporation of Haiti's parent company has a virtual monopoly on rice imports to Haiti."


So now the U.N. is about to pay Haitians to rebuild their nation. Well that should help spread some money among the people, right? Indeed they are going to pay them more. A whole $3 per day! $3.00 a day for back breaking construction work.

Trends over the last several years suggest a shrinking middle class in our own country. Clearly corporations are not the friends of people, save the ones at the top who pocket the profits. Now our Supreme Court has ruled that corporations can buy our politicians by drowning out our voices with their ability to purchase available advertising. Haitians are not the only people in the world under attack from big business.

Today the people of Haiti are putting a face on a great tragedy. But that tragedy began over 200 years ago. Look closely. If unbridled capitalism is not controlled, you are looking into the eyes of our own future. For what has happened there, there is enough shame to go around. I know this. Corporate America is no friend of mine. We took back control in this country from their grasp back in the thirties. It's time to do it again. We need to demand fairness, not just for corporations operating in the U.S., but in places like Haiti and Korea and Indonesia and anywhere else they do business. If they register and do business in this country, we should demand no less. We may have to pay more. Just compare our standard of living with people who work virtually as slaves to corporate bosses. We cannot complain. It is our duty to the legitimate American dream.