Skyscrapers, Taxis & Tampons


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A review of Skyscrapers, Taxis and Tampons Cynthia AndrewsIn one of the last episodes of “Murphy Brown” Candace Bergen is invited to her alma mater to accept an award as one of the foremost feminists of her generation. While there, she attends a “Women’s Studies” class where issues of equal rights-equal pay, birth control and abortion are replaced by an intensity of hatred for the opposite sex that even she could not anticipate or explain. Murphy was humiliated, demeaned and scorned for not understanding that the problems facing the women of today have much more to do with male domination than ever before, and that her hair-do, make-up and Ralph Lauren mini-skirt are symbols of a female bondage that should be replaced with basic black and flats. By the end of the episode Murphy Brown was not really sure what she accomplished after all. However disturbing that may seem to some, theresult is an aggressive new generation where flirtation and perfume are a thing of the past andhomosexuality is embraced with a fervor; where a new militant feminism rises through the ashes of a deadequal rights amendment and the “patriarchal male” is considered an unnecessary part of a woman’s life and an absolute enemy. In Skyscrapers, Taxis & Tampons (Fly by Night Press), seven Generation-X women exude these sentiments onto the page in poems of pure rage, while running the gamut of anorexia, sexualabuse and girl-love to the emptiness of growing up in affluent suburbia. In “Recreating Barbie” AmyOuzoonian attacks “the dominant gender” with a ranting venom: “I feel like a walking Vagina when standing in line with or walking past Cro-Magnon men… Of coursethe dominant gender never did pull their dicks out of the screaming orapheus long enough to drag theirknuckles to the bookstore to read your SCUM Manifesto but men know from their wives’ foaming mouths… It is possible that we were closer before you dragged us out of the closet” Likewise, Staceyann Chin gives the word militant new definition in “Women’s Issues”: “blood that stain the sheets when you tear the soft lining that guards our frightened virgin cunts… blood that passes when we give birth… you beat us and the police refuse to come… blood that will write upon the walls warning you in Red that if you do not deal with our women’s issues now it will be your blood that will run” Having emerged out of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, where the performance artist and outcast is embraced, it iseasy to see the courage of these poets. If anything, the language should be applauded for the brave choices made, both in subject matter and expression. In “The Way Home” Dot Antoniades describes a memorable Independence Day: “I denied the stench of my cremation ashes fell away thick gooey web of saliva, not ectoplasm forming patterns… finally I have something to say question to ask: Why are we silent, commit violent crimes against ourselves? While Skyscrapers, Taxis & Tampons may indeed be a sometimes disturbing and gritty reality shared by this new generation of women, it is still a powerful expression of our culture at the turn of this century, while contributing a new voice and cadence to the language of poetry to come.

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