March 2022

"Protection" – 3/28/22

I was taught from a very young age
That if you see someone doing wrong
You should speak up

A daughter of a highly politically active
Mother I never felt I could raise my voice
Loudly enough or have the right words

So for the most part I didn't speak
Besides, according to my bullies
I mostly said stupid things anyway

Instead I played piano and danced
And put on costumes and pretended
To be celebrities on TV I'd watch

The Oscars and think "someday...
That's who I wanna be"; little did I know
The actors so beloved whose personas

I admired so were just people and
All G-ds children's have problems or
As the saying goes "everybody's got tsuris".

I still watch when I happen to be able
Admiring the fashion, laughing at the antics
Welling up during underdog speeches
Tonight some positive history was
Undeniably made an Oscar to a brilliant
Best Supporting (deaf) Actor and

An Out LGBTQ+ Latina receiving
A much deserved award for Best Actress
Rocking red pants she was the figure of

What would've been an inspiring superhero
For my childhood self a triple threat someone
To whom I'd want to aspire and then

There was the (pulled) trigger. I sat, amazed
As everyone no doubt, and watched
A grown man literally leap to defend his woman

A full-grown genius-man-child substituting
Words like love and protection for loss of control
Deflecting a rage we all saw with our own

Eyes and ears don't lie though there may indeed
Be justifications and circumstances
Extenuating a globally witnessed fact remained

Poor taste - undeniably questionable -
Was quickly met with with fisticuffs children
The word over relearned that jealousy and pride

Warrant defending a woman's honor unbridled
Let me tell you about the last man I loved
He had a lot of anger most of it directed

At everyone else but me but sometimes
His reality dictated that it was ok to praise my
Beauty one minute, his most precious person

And then, the next, reveal a willingness to
Commit violence whether against himself or me
If it meant diffusing the pain of potentially

Losing the thing he wanted most which was
My undying trust and affection even amidst the
Overzealous misuse of the word "protection"

Protection sometimes translated to scouring
My phone for names of male friends he suspected
Might be more or to rummaging through my papers

"Just to make sure..." we had no secrets
Sometimes it meant watching me while I slept
Or wanting to know exactly where I was going

And when I would be home but mostly it meant
The threat of violence against anyone who
Made him feel ego-bruised or misunderstood

On my behalf but really it meant I eventually
Had enough and decided I would rather be alone
Than be loved that way like property however

Shiny I am not nor will I ever be some
Handsome man's diamond don't put me on that
Pedestal because eventually the woman is

The one who'll most likely lose her balance
And fall all the while she is flashing teeth trying
Not to upset her most loyal protector smiling

While smothered quiet as a storm brewing
What the hell did he think he was doing
He didn't think and that's the saddest part

The irony is honor is inherent in telling
Someone else's story with so much dignity
All I know is everybody's got tsuris

And all the accolades in the world can't heal
A grown man's wounded inner child
Or a woman's anxiety brainwashed

Society shocking in its insobriety
Clamping down on what it loves
Redemption's a woman and her name

Is Jessica Fucking Chastain
Meeting the moment with reverence
Respect moreover giving us mere mortals

Something to which to aspire.
Not just a job exceedingly well done
But protection in the form of empathy's ire