more than mere flesh and bone (and 3 other poems by Linda M. Crate)

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Read Time:3 Minute, 34 Second

regardless of how you

you want my milk and honey,
 and the ambrosia of 
 my promised land;
  
 but you don't want to respect me
 or my dreams and ambitions—
  
 somehow you think i am inferior
 just because i am a woman,
 i don't know who taught you that;
 but it's more than high time you unlearned it
  
 for it's not true—
  
 women are not lesser 
 than any men,
  
 and we should not be made to feel
 bad because we're too much of a woman
 or not a woman enough to meet
 someone's standards;
  
 who are you to tell anyone who they are?
  
 we define ourselves,
 and some women may not push back;
 others of us will—
  
 i know my magic and my power,
 and i won't waste my time
 on people who think they have any
 right to rule over me nor those who feel
 entitled to my time because no one owes you anything;
 and i will be who i am regardless of how you feel.

more than mere flesh and bone

 women should be
 respected
 no matter what they wear
 or how they look,
 and they're not asking for it
 just because they're 
 dancing or they dress a certain way;
  
 if you believe that it is a sin
 then you should remember that jesus
 said to pluck out your own eyes
 if you look at a woman with lust so go 
 ahead and pluck out your eyes—
  
 women don't owe you anything,
 and we deserve to exist and achieve our
 dreams and aspirations and ambitions
 without being belittled for it;
  
 if you cannot respect a woman
 then perhaps you shouldn't speak to one
 because you clearly need to learn
 how to navigate yourself in the world
 as your parents never taught you
 properly—
  
 don't get mad at women 
 for refusing you
 we want to be seen as something more
 than our mere flesh and bone,
 see us for our souls and hearts.

people have a right to exist

all my life
i have been afraid
of revealing
who i truly am
lest i be cut off from
those i love,
but i am tired of
lying to myself;
i am not straight
as an arrow like i always
told myself
simply to fit in—
i'm pan,
and i'm no longer ashamed
of it;
a person is valid no matter
their gender identity or sexuality—
no one should be hated
over something they cannot control,
we are all born as we are;
and if we are all made in God's image
then we are all beautiful
just as we are—
you cannot deny people their right
to exist simply because they do not
exist or believe in the things you do.

stop making people jump through hoops

a person 
 shouldn't have to shrink themselves
 to fit in some construct 
 others have built to make themselves
 feel better,
 a person shouldn't have to jump through
 hoops before someone cares
 about them;
 what is wrong with humanity
 that we will put on performative things to 
 illuminate ourselves rather than to truly help
 those who are suffering?
 if you cannot help someone then the
 least you can do is not hurt 
 them,
 isn't there already enough darkness
 and pain in this world?
 there need to be more dreams,
 less nightmares;
 help those that you can and be there
 for those you can be there for
 be true and be honest and communicate
 how you feel
 don't just disappear and ghost people
 because they made one choice you disagreed with
 if you don't like someone tell them but be kind—
 when we're all struggling to move forward
 the last thing we need is to be pulled back 
 and forth in some mind game by someone we thought cared.

Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of seven poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: the samurai (Yellow Arrow Publishing, October 2020). She’s also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). Recently she has published three full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020), The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020), and Mythology of My Bones (Cyberwit, August 2020). She is on Facebook, on Instagram & on Twitter.

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I am a member of the WRR editorial team.
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