A poem a day in April from Rutgers English PhD students and friends.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Novels by Men

Don't you just hate them? I know they are most of the novels;
Elaine Showalter showed me that even in the mid-nineteenth century
when everyone thought only women were writing novels
men were writing most of the novels. Some people I know avoid novels
for precisely this reason. I like them, as most people know
but they make me mad, and sometimes I hate them
and I don't even hate them the most when they're super misogynist,
like when all the women are horrible like Daisy in the Savoy
Headpiece, or when there are no women except a couple of implied ewes
like in The Hobbit (although I must say I have always hated The Hobbit,
it's so boring when they go up in a tree), or when all the women are murdered
horribly (although I can't bring myself to read American Psycho
having read some of the worst parts in 2002 in a bookstore in midtown
and lost a lot of sleep, wondering if I myself could drill through someone's mouth
and teeth, and worrying that I could, or of course that it would happen to me
like when I read that scene from Seven in 1996 in Covent Garden
and thought the IRA was coming for me somehow to gorge me
with Safeway-brand Coco Krispies and Rhode Island Muffins until I died
and no one would ever know because we knew no one there, me and my mom
and my little brother who just thinks Mad Men is sad and doesn't get
why anyone would kind of fantasize about living in that world), I hate them most
when there are all of those handsome competent three-dimensional women
who know about finance or art and have been disappointed by all their sex partners
and are so grateful that the protagonist looked at them that way in the car
and want to remember they have a body and not just shoulder pads
but also they are such straight-talkers, they won't take any shit
and it's somehow always the 80s even when it's the 60s or the year 2000
there are always these straight-talking moms who can teach you something
even if you're already fifty and who can learn something from you
even if you're only twenty-eight and why do I hate these novels so much,
is it that I myself am so sad and have forgotten my shoulder pads
are not a part of my body, is it because I said once that women never forget
they have a body, even though today I read that Difference Feminists
are "ladies" who "conflate being female with having a body
scientifically designated as female" and I thought hey wait I thought I was a Difference
but I thought it meant you thought it was amusing to wear an apron
not that you had a vagina or that you could tell the difference between shoulder pads
and your body, not that you could carry a child because I told you before I'm pretty sure
that has nothing to do with it, that is the research I'm doing right now, and it's research
that novels by men don't seem to have access to somehow, but am I saying
they can't do that research, because if I am I'm disproving my own point and anyway
you can't prove a negative, I heard that once, and by that logic, therefore,
ergo etc etc those women still exist in three dimensions, buttock-cleft
and all, moaning their weird desperate pleasure in the walk-in closets
of the neverending 1980s white America, so my objection isn't on the grounds
of verisimilitude, it's just that I'm bored by hobbits in a tree, I'm bored
by women coming when you look at them in a limo, I'm bored
by your respect for these bodies, these shoulder pads, these vocabularies,
these bodies that can and should not and always do wear shoulder pads


  1. Also "hey wait I thought I was a Difference