Ode to the Patriarchy – A Poem

Words: Ashley Sinclair
Artwork: Kurt Black (titled: Virgin Flower)

I’m maddened with hunger – starved by the injustice – hand in hand, with the women of the world. Amongst the complexities of the human experience, unravel the social structures that create the world we know within our minds.

Buried deep beneath the heteronormative and misogynistic bullshit, lies the power of truth, empowerment. Drink in the sweet air! We rise again!

I suffocate, spiralling, gasping. The patriarchal values seem to seep through the floorboards, filling our ears. Dispute it! Refuse it! Spit it out! Spit it out!

I wonder where we learnt it, or when, exactly. Perhaps was braided into our pigtails, subconsciously engraved in our fingertips and cherry lips.

It’s a man’s world, after all.

Perhaps the inevitability of the future provides opportunity, as I daydream in shades of lilac and azure, of a woman’s world.

The transforming worlds beneath my feet remind me of where we have come from, the battles with blood-streaked pages that have paved the way for the present.

The skies above me remind me of the change yet to come.

And yet, the stage goes quiet for the sound of his voice, a glass full of prejudice in his hand. It spills a little as he stumbles (the crowd erupts in applause).

He mocks, he snarls, he stares. Patriarchy is a cruel man.
Kick us to the gutter (we rise again)! She shouts, she cries, she screams!

Desperation infused with feminine rage: and yet, her screams are silent, heard only by the sun and the sea. Her salty tears form a river, running its course down the valleys of her cheeks. Gasping for air, she is more than a body, more than a pretty face.

It’s seemingly obvious, though apparently not. For he’s just a man, I’m just a girl.

I apologise profusely, accidentally. Yet when did I learn to say sorry as the precursor for every sentence? It drips from my mouth, unstoppable, uncontrollable, an automatic word as easy as ‘hello’. Yet it tastes metallic and bitter as he watches me stuttering (sorry, sorry, sorry) in a hymn of unnecessary apologies.

Coincidentally, the word sorry never touched his lips.
Coincidentally, she confesses, digresses; laughing politely at the corrupt jokes that are only funny in a man’s world.

In a man’s world, we find ourselves listening as if it’s gospel.
His words are a bible we don’t recall reading.

You will not be begged for an encore!
She shouts, she cries, she screams! We rise again.

Dinner is waiting, and your coffee is getting cold. Let us conjure a new reality for a while.