Baring and Bearing

I’ve been thinking hard about what it is that makes for dangerous arms … and dangerous women. The right to bear arms and what kind of arms to be beared (borne?) is an ongoing bone of contention on both sides of the aisle, so to speak. Gun Rights. Gun Control. Handguns. Assault Weapons. These have all been hot topics and hot buttons in and around legislative bodies all over the country.

What caught my attention this week, though, was a slightly different twist on the topic. In the Great State of Missouri, known as the “show me” state, it seems that “baring arms” is what most needed immediate legislation. According to CNN and other sources … Lawmakers in the Missouri House of Representatives this week adopted a stricter dress code for women as part of a new rules package, and now requires them to cover their shoulders by wearing a jacket like a blazer, cardigan or knit blazer. Hmmmn. I guess “show me” doesn’t apply to women’s arms, the kind meant for hugging, not shooting.

The addition to the rules package was proposed by state Representative Ann Kelley, who said she felt compelled to “clean up some of the language” by making the dress codes more equal. Hmmn. “equal” is a nice word. Not a great fit for the Missouri State House, though, where women hold less than a third of the seats.

I can’t help thinking that Ms Kelly, along with Ms Lake, Ms Boebert, and MTG are not the ones Keb Mo’ had in mind when he and Roseanne Cash said to “Put a Woman in Charge.

But speaking of women who might be right for the job, here’s a reminder to join us for this Sunday’s 4pm zoom conversation with Cindy Williams Gutierrez, the Portland poet and dramatist who created and co-produced the phenomenal choreopoem, In The Name of Forgotten Women. Here’s the link to join.

If we don’t see each other on Sunday, I’ll look forward to re-connecting next week. BTW, I’m thinking of changing Wednesday’s Words to Weekly Words, as a way to be a little kinder to myself, providing me with a bit more breathing room.

And here’s a little something from Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection, to help us remember to notice those small kindnesses that are all around us.

Small Kindnesses
By Danusha Laméris

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”

Published by Sulima Malzin

This 'Aging Rascal & Occasional Writer' invites you to embrace the world through her open window of poetry, art, activism, music, and humor.

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