To Be Moved

Moving, progressively in a societal sense.

Moving, forward in an academic sense.

Moving, toward consciousness in an emotional sense.

The literature and academia I have been exposed to in this class, alongside several additional courses whose conversations are all interrelated, I have been moved. I am moved, at first, from one emotional state to another, most often into a greater consideration of a topic to which I was already moved by. Next, I am pushed further into a movement that I have always dipped my toes in. I become more immersed in the complexities of my society and my identity with every word. I have been moved to participate in and take advantage of the Open Space of Democracy. (2009)

I believe our work in this class as whole can take a more prominent step towards the understanding of societies, institutions, cultures, nature, humanity as we are creating a louder voice. Sharing our thought processes move others in the way of contributing to a more collective sense of identity between the masses, moving us into a deeper dialogue.


Williams, Terry Tempest., and Mary Frank. The Open Space of Democracy. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2009. 

Maintaining Power

To maintain power I stay thin.

Even when it so happens that “thin” is less attainable:

As “fat” proves to be any that takes form beyond ass, hips, or tits.

Thin, less attainable given the circumstances of the true and living.

Giving her time to:

the reservation of money,

building relationships,

absorbing the most from academia, hours of profuse reading and deliberation.

Then, it should suffice to uphold what remnants of beauty she has left,

as viewed by american capitalistic materialistic decorum:

white, outwardly straight, young,

Men will notice her,

Perhaps increasing the chances that they will actually listen to her.

Women will be envious of her,

They will observe her.

Again, it could be now they will listen to her.

People will want her.

She will be able to satisfy her sexual cravings,

they will want to experiment with her.

At the least, nobody will be immediately turned-off by her.

She puts herself at an advantage,

She is  in a better position to fulfill her own human needs.

Where now that she has captured their attention, there is a slightly increased possibility that her voice will be heard.

Oh, but only so long as she does not give it away that she finds power in her appearance.

Only so long as she reveals that she is also tractable and kindly,

and also independent and quick-witted,

because if she is not all of those things she is switched off again.

But wait, do not forget,

Never to become “too much” (Bordo 133)

Be inglorious, be reserved.

Be so very careful.

What a narrow channel of maintaining power.

And she is of those in the more advantageous classifications, by definition:

 White, young, seemingly straight, and inherently of slight figure.

This does not do her honor.

 To fight fire with fire,

but were she to manipulate them with her appearance,

could she escape their manipulations;

inveigle her way onto their playing field,

where, perhaps, she will be held in higher regard?


She there she will have a voice.

Perhaps she will use this voice it to call into question,

the cause for this process

to which so many women feel subject to;

if they feel at all a subject.

Perhaps, once there, she can speak for the objectified.

Perhaps, once there, she can give voice to the silenced.

 To she who has fallen a victim of her culture,

in this social system where degradation is endemic,

to requite it with the same trickery,

is barely satisfying.

For she stays thin, ironically, to maintain her power.

But she is better,

she knows this is no power at all.

“A patriot is not a weapon. A patriot is one who wrestles for the soul of her country…” (Rich 23)


Bordo, Susan. “Never Just Pictures.” In Twilight Zoned: The Hidden Life of Cultural Images from Plato to O.J Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Rich, Adrienne. “XI.” An Atlas of the Difficult World. W.W. Norton, 1992. 23. Kindle Edition.


“Breathe in experience, breathe out poetry” – Muriel Rukeyser in Adrienne Rich’s “The Genesis of “Yom Kippur 1984″ (1987)”

“Every feminine act, even charitable and seemingly unpolitical ones [were] regarded as a rebellion in this world where women had always play[ed] servile roles.” -Etel Adman Sitt Marie Rose 


adrienne-rich“The movement for change is a changing movement, changing itself, demasculizing itself, de-Westernizing itself, becoming a critical mass that is saying in so many different voices, languages, gestures, actions: It must change; we ourselves can change it. We who are not the same. We who are many and do not want to be the same.”  (225)

“Begin with the material. Pick up again the long struggle against lofty and privileged abstraction. Perhaps this is the core of Revolutionary process, whether it calls itself Marxist of Third World or feminist or all three. Long before the nineteenth century, the empirical witch of the European Middle Ages, trusting her senses, practicing her tried remedies against the anti-material, anti-sensuous, anti-empirical dogmas of the Church. Dying for that, by the millions… Abstractions severed from the doings of living people, fed back to people of slogans.” (213)

“A movement for change lives in feelings, actions, and words. Whatever circumscribes or mutilates our feelings makes it more difficult to act, keeps our actions reactive, repetitive: abstract thinking, narrow tribal loyalties, every kind of self-righteousness, the arrogance of believing ourselves at the center.” (223)

– Adrienne Rich “Notes Toward a Politics of Location”

“But I also wanted to get a sense of what art might mean in a society committed to values other than profit and consumerism. What was constantly and tellingly manifested was a belief in art, not as commodity, not as luxury, not as suspect activity, but as a precious resources to be made available to all, one necessity for the rebuilding of a scarred, impoverished, and still-bleeding country (Nicaragua).”(250)

– Adrienne Rich Blood, Bread, and Poetry


“Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety” (1961)

-James Baldwin Nobody Knows My Name

“I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. I think all theories are suspect, that the finest principles may have to be modified, or may even be pulverized by the demands of life, and that one must find, therefore, one’s own moral center and move through the world hoping that this center will guide one aright.” “Autobiographical Notes” (1952)

– James Baldwin “Autobiographical Notes”

terry-tempest-williams“This is the path of intellectual freedom and spiritual curiosity. Our insistence of democracy is based on our resistance of complacency. To be engaged. To participate. To create alternatives together. We may be wrong. We will make mistakes. But we can engage in spirited conversation and listen to one another with respect and open minds as we speak and explore our differences, cherishing the vitality of the struggle. As our beloved J.D. Williams has so brilliantly said, “Democracy is built upon the right to be insecure.” We are vulnerable. And we are vulnerable together. Democracy is a beautiful experiment.”

“To engage in responsive citizenship, we must become citizens who respond. Passionately. This is how you can make a difference. This is how you can serve your society. What is at stake? Everything we value, cherish, and love. Democracy. It was true in 1776. And it is true in 2003. This is the commitment we make to a living, breathing, evolving republic. Hands over our hearts, our beating hearts, we pledge allegiance to this divine process of public discourse and discovery.”

-Terry Tempest Williams “The Open Space of Democracy”