Revisiting feminism

Published 7:31 am Wednesday, July 28, 2010

“It’s nave for us to think that we can grow our nuclear stockpiles, the Russians continue to grow their nuclear stockpiles, and our allies grow their nuclear stockpiles, and that in that environment we’re going to be able to pressure countries like Iran and North Korea not to pursue nuclear weapons themselves.”

— President Obama

I think I only took one class at Riverside City College. It met at night. It was a feminist study on feminism. I may have been the only male there. I can’t remember the instructor’s name but I remember her. It was one of the most interesting and enlightened classes I took somewhere in the early 1970’s when feminism was sprouting.

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The feminist movement swept the land. It isn’t talked about in the same light. It just is.

The Press Enterprise is still the paper in Riverside. A part of me wanted to go in as I passed by and have a peek but I chose instead to stop at the Jack-in-the-Box, one of my favorite nesting spots in the old days.

That same day I stopped to take a look at the Glenwood Tavern in the Mission Inn. Glenwood Tavern, back in the 1970’s was a good place to spend time and listen to the music. I think I transported one of the bartenders from there back to Vincennes, Ind., where her parents picked her up at my sister’s place. It was practically non-stop traveling and then driving back to “Mecca” (Austin) with “Mongo,” my nephew.

My last traveler was Mello, this past weekend. Mello still lives to torment the cats. Ptolemy spends most of her day stashed away in Lydia’s former room. Echo, the female cat, still blocks Mello’s way, promoting these destitute sounds when Mello wants to pass by.

In the car, it was just Mello and me. Mello was trembling when we started out—visibly shaking in her seat. She calmed down waiting for my medium sized senior cup of coffee at Burger King. Mello calmed down on I-90 and seemed to enjoy the ride to Houston for the annual “Hoedown,” an annual event that packs everybody in.

It was mid-afternoon when we pulled into the Poppe farmyard where there was one of those huge RV’s that arrived earlier from California.

Casey suggested I just let Mello be without a leash. I did that for about five minutes but worried that she would head up into the woods never to be seen again. So I twisted the ground stake into the ground and made sure the holding cord wouldn’t get tangled up with anything and tied her up.  In the house I found a nice bowl for water and a dish for food that I set next to the sidewalk.

About that time a car pulled in. It was Rocky’s daughter and her husband who had come from North Carolina. She teaches in North Carolina and I forget what he does. We talked for a bit. Mello greeted them initially with a woof but then succumbed to being petted.

They then went to rest in the RV and I slipped out of the farm driveway hoping Mello would manage and I headed to town. Mello and I ended up returning that night. We missed the parade the next day but I did get to see a captive bald eagle when I first drove into Houston, a wounded bald eagle. Occasionally I ran into some of the Poppe crowd.

Last Wednesday a cluster of us went to Plainview for the third Wednesday “open mike” we attend. I read my first fresh poem in years influenced by Last Night I Dreamed of Peace. Please bear with it, it reads:

“I’ll share this poem with Dong Thuy Tram/We spent some time together near Duc Pho/She came as a medical doctor from Hanoi/I came from teaching school in California to kill them/later Dong Thuy Tram died from two American bullets lodged in her forehead/I left with an early out to teach ending up on a psych ward somewhat concealed in Minneapolis/I hadn’t died yet as Dang Thuy Tram had/In the years that followed I thought about it/not the bullets that killed Dang Thuy Tram/but the 22 round, a bullet that sat on my dresser/there was only one bullet and a single shot rifle in the basement/then along came Dylan’s forever young with Johnny Cash/I felt hope/Dang Thuy Tram finally was buried in Hanoi.”