If the Statue of Liberty Could Speak, Maybe



If the Statue of Liberty Could Speak, Maybe

We won’t torch her,
they said, and I admit
I felt relieved, for there was just
this smell–
even after the months of rubble smoking
at my feet
which, despite all the steel
and people, smoldered
of plastic mainly–
an ingredient in so much
these days–

Still, I picked it up, even
though my nose was, as it were,
Some hum

that made me insecure
in what they said and so I held on tightly
to my own, which, is
affixed to my hand anyway and copper—

probably not
the copper they use–you know, sliced
into electrodes–

(Collar it what you will–
re-name rape as rectal
hydration–both begin with r
and smell as sweet)–

But did nothing more–
just stood there–

So, sick now
to my stomach, sick
at heart, sick even unto
my grey-green soles, to the depths
of my scrolled harbor.

There’s a certain foulness doesn’t go away
closed up–a fetid
mess that will in darkness
feed on–its seep poisoning
even as we pretend
like children playing peekaboo,
that we can make the real flee
that we can make a lie fly
that we can make all better just
by covering
our eyes.


A poem I wrote a few weeks ago I am posting as a second poem for With Real Toads open link night.  The image belongs to New York City and is from the New York City Coat Drives campaign.  It is an image that I saw being photographed in Washington Square Park about twenty-eight years ago–so beautiful I think–on a very very hot afternoon, the woman–a Statue of Liberty impersonator in green make-up, sweating.


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11 Comments on “If the Statue of Liberty Could Speak, Maybe”

  1. What a moving piece. What have we become?

  2. I think there are people happy she cannot speak. Lots of reason to be depressed. The picture is fantastic.

  3. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    So, sick now
    to my stomach, sick
    at heart, sick even unto
    my grey-green soles, to the depths
    of my scrolled harbor.

    This cuts through all the B.S. and makes a very real commentary on the kind of disenchantment I am sure many lovers of liberty share right now.

    Well spoken!

  4. Brendan Says:

    Women have to endure a lot of public harassment of their imagos — projections of desire or a need for mothering, positively or negatively — how much more the statues, like the biggest one taking up a harbor at the entry to the American dream. Glad you give her voice, sorry she has to speak up now. The dream of Liberty, well what is it, how to separate it from the besmirchings of history, must we, can we? 9/11 like a trial by hurled fire, a courtroom drama won’t end. In the dystopian vision, it’s Charlton Heston cursing mankind at the end of “Planet of the Apes” (an almost-buried Statue of Liberty in the background); is that ours, does she complain of rectal feeding too at the hands of Cheney’s ilk? Does the malice return to scotch its inventors? Living symbols do. Thanks for putting the perspiration back on the green lady’s brow.

  5. wolfsrosebud Says:

    you brought this to life… very clever

  6. Colleen Says:

    Now I’m worried about her arm being tired. This was a fun and thoughtful premise!

  7. vandana Says:

    hope all;s well soon

  8. So many ingredients in this delicious stew….. desensitized, smoking rubble and people – surely a comment on New York’s most tragic day. Rape boiled down to rectal hydration, make a lie fly, peek-a-boo, covering our eyes to hide the stench….. That’s what we do. Over the years I have admired almost all of your prose and poetry, Miss Manic, but this is the most extreme and raw emotion that I have yet seen from you…. gasping I can only say immaculately done…

  9. hedgewitch Says:

    You give the Lady in the harbor a compelling and incisive voice, even as she seems to be musing and ranting in a state close to some sort of melancholic fugue. I find that totally appropriate. If she could speak, what could she do but curse us, or mumble about an evil she never saw coming that unmakes everything she is. Important to say it, sad that it has to be said.

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