I am a Dangerous Woman

I am a Dangerous Woman by Joan Cavanagh

I am a dangerous woman
Carrying neither bombs nor babies
Flowers nor molotov cocktails.

I confound all your reason, theory, realism
Because I will neither lie in your ditches
Nor dig your ditches for you
Nor join in your armed struggle
For bigger and better ditches.

I will not walk with you nor walk for you,
I won’t live with you
And I won’t die for you.

But neither will I try to deny you
Your right to live and die.

I will not share one square foot of this earth with you
While you’re hell-bent on destruction,
But neither will I deny that we are of the same earth,
Born of the same Mother.

I will not permit
You to bind my life to yours
But I will tell you that our lives
Are bound together
And I will demand
That you live as though you understand
This one salient fact.

I am a dangerous woman
Because I will tell you, sir,
Whether you are concerned or not,
Masculinity has made of this world a living hell,
A furnace burning away at hope, love, faith and justice,
A furnace of My Lais, Hiroshimas, Dachaus.
A furnace which burns the babiesc
You tell us we must make.
Masculinity made ‘femininity,’
Made the eyes of our women go dark and cold,
Sent our sons—yes sir, our sons—To war,
Made our children go hungry,
Made our mothers whores,
Made our bombs, our bullets, our “Food for Peace,”
Our definitive solutions and first-strike policies.
Masculinity broke women and men on its knee,
Took away our futures,
Made our hopes, fears, thoughts and good instincts
‘Irrelevant to the larger struggle,’
And made human survival beyond the year 2000
An open question.

I am a dangerous woman
Because I will say all this
Lying neither to you nor with you
Neither trusting nor despising you.
I am dangerous because
I won’t give up or shut up,
Or put up with your version of reality.
You have conspired to sell my life quite cheaply,
And I am especially dangerous
Because I will never forgive nor forget
Or ever conspire
To sell your life in return.

From Reweaving the Web of Life: Feminism and Nonviolence edited by Pam McAllister (New Society Publishers, 1982), pp. 3-4.

Originally published on FR 10/2/2008