Hobby Lobbied

Johannes Vermeer, "Woman Holding a Balance",  around 1665

Johannes Vermeer, “Woman Holding a Balance”, around 1665

Hobby Lobbied

Amazingly close to the date she gave birth, my mother,
who never showed,
applied for a job.
She held a large purse
over that part of her
that was me
because her soon-to-be employer
automatically paid new mothers
substantially reduced pay,
whether or not they missed
a single workday.

When she started the job,
three months after I was born,
my mother kept mum about me
for more than a year, not alluding to my
existence all day, any day,
so that she would be paid
in full.

The employer believed, see,
that new mothers
should stay at home.
I’d like to believe that my mother
would have stayed home if she could,
but the fact is
my mother needed to work
for the money
and for more than
the money.

But my mother’s needs are not wholly the point
of this poem.
The point, which I would like to be sharper
than any knitting needle–certainly sharp enough
to pierce the corporate veil–is that I–and every woman I know–
have been affected by this crap since
before we were even born.

Employers are not
intrauterine devices.

Corporations are formed
to make money, my friend,
and to limit the losses of
those making it,
while women are formed for more
than making
as wonderful as
they are, as lost as we would be
without them.

Here’s a poem of sorts written in reaction to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision today.  (The photo above if of a painting by Johannes Vermeer, woman holding a balance.)    I think it’s bad law;  I commend Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for her intelligent and spirited dissent.  

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15 Comments on “Hobby Lobbied”

  1. brian miller Says:

    it boggles the mind…and yet at the same time, it does not surprise, you know….ugh…

  2. Jamie Dedes Says:

    The ruling seems like such a throwback and is a travesty. I appreciate this poem. Makes the argument. I’m posting the link on FB, K. Thank you! I hope you are smiling today despite this turn of events. 🙂

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thank you, Jamie. The ruling has made me genuinely upset, but that said, it is a beautiful day where I am and I hope the ruling will galvanize women. I hope you are feeling okay and enjoying life. Your photos and poems are beautiful. K.


  3. hedgewitch Says:

    It’s a dangerous mix, religion and policy–when one ‘person’s’–and I use the term as loosely as the SCOTUS–freedom of religion impacts another person’s freedom of choice. It won’t end here, but I hope this is a wake-up call to all the women who think they have an automatic protection and don’t have to worry about their rights–it is past time to wake up and smell the stink of progress burning to ash. A definitive, concise poem, free of rant and bombast–so hard for me to write that way, I admire it all the more, as well as the genuine craft of the language, and the very effective narrative style.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ginsburg has a wonderful quote from an old Harvard Law review article (I think) that says your freedom to swing your arms ends when they reach another fellow’s nose. Something like that. Just makes me sick. Interesting too here that the people the corporations were here, or whose interests were represented, were solely the owners and not the employees at all. k.

  4. dragonkatet Says:

    What an eloquent and heartfelt response to such a crazy ruling. I love that it’s so personal and yet highlights the impersonality that corporations *should* have. I, too, mourned the decision and it angers me beyond belief that we are still having to fight for our rights in this day and age. As you say, let’s hope it’s a wake up call to arms for women everywhere. Well said and well crafted piece!

  5. If birth control was the responsibility of men, contraception would be a sacrament rather than under attack on every front. I like what you say and how you say it here and second your and Hedge’s call to arms.

  6. It’s a very incisive and witty poem. Many thanks. I really apreciated it.

    Greetings from London.

  7. Mama Zen Says:

    Horrible law. Tortured reading of RFRA. It’s not enough that a corporation is a person; now, it has freedom of religion, too. As for government not interfering with practice of religion . . . this just invites future litigation and begs for some eventual (poorly articulated) two-pronged, stand on your head, balancing test to weigh the validity of religious beliefs. And, all to maintain some modicum of control over my lady parts! I haven’t had a chance to read Ginsberg’s dissent, but I certainly plan to.

    Oh, we’re talking about poetry, aren’t we? As Hedge mentioned, this is clear-eyed, concise, and calm; an excellent response to lunacy. I found the knitting needle reference particularly cutting and appropriate.

    Sorry for the novel, K.

  8. What a great response! Sharp as a knitting needle and right to the point.

  9. grapeling Says:

    That you elicited more than a few words from MZ speaks to the atrocity of the decision. On its own, the pen is incisive, and even necessary. As Hedge notes, if women don’t wake up to the reality that men are continuing to impose controls over women’s bodies, then these injustices will continue. ~

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. I have another one but it seems so obvious–may post just because I think it’s good to post about this stuff. Thanks, M–hope all is well. k.

      On Wed, Jul 2, 2014 at 1:42 PM, ManicDDaily wrote:


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