Friday
May262017

Carry Me to Heaven

Katharine Coldiron


 

We sleep in shifts, tell low stories til morning. At first the letters were invisible, then faint; then they became brighter and brighter until they burst into flame. Woman cannot be injured by woman—only men are in danger—to them a vile woman is indeed the spark to a tinder, to us she is a sister for whom God has made us accountable / one Tennessee Claflin did feloniously and willfully place upon the right side of the breast of one Rebecca Howe divers quantities of deleterious and caustic drugs by means of which a large amount of flesh was / Where were you dawdling so long? There was work to do.

Whoever is set up to be President of the United States is just set up to have his character torn off from his back in shreds and to be mauled, pummeled, and covered with dirt by every filthy paper all over the country. Hojotoho. Hojotoho. Once upon a time, all women loved only women and this was called the 1970s. I want Frank Moulton to make a speech and his pretty wife to be there to adorn the platform. I would rather make a few blunders from a superabundance of life, than to have all the proprieties of a well-embalmed mummy. My mare is being jostled by the stallion. The warrior's quarrel even antagonizes the horses. In February 1873, Comstock, seeking greater enforcement powers to implement his crusade against such "sins" as obscenity, pornography, birth control, and abortion, went to Washington to strengthen the postal law of 1865.

On the first day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, in the county of La Salle, and on divers other days and times / Indeed the reason this is any campaign at all is that men perceive at last that the little white symbol of power is coming into our hands and begin to realize what we shall do with it / [blank sentence] / Welcome, welcome! Who is hanging from your saddle?

Will you ask Demosthenes if there is any new argument not yet made on the fourteenth and fifteenth Amendments that he will bring out through some of us at the coming convention. Comstock then asked Congress to declare it a crime to advertise contraceptive devices or sexually related materials or to sell them. To give any contraceptive information, even orally, was also to be banned. Yes, I fell in love with a woman in a screen. An image of a woman: the Anchor. And how is this different from The Gaze? For it is so easy to replace her love's face with mine. We are only eight; one is still missing.

And no woman that was not willing to be dragged through every kennel, and slopped into every dirty pail of water like an old mop, would ever consent to run as a candidate. The lips of women are being unsealed / consumed and destroyed / and the day of judgment and purity draws nigh. Heiaha. Heiaha. We are limited only by our limited weapons. Our logic is deadly, when it's not foolish. When it's not logic at all.

and that Rebecca Howe then and there became mortally sick, sore and distempered in her body and the aforesaid did languish in mortal sickness and thereby died on the seventh day of June, eighteen hundred and sixty-four. Battlefather would give us an angry welcome if he saw us arrive without her. She's carrying a woman. So when you're finished here you can look at this card and go to the address and trust me you'll find what you're really looking for, all of you.

And what sort of brazen tramp of a woman would it be that could stand it and come out of it without being killed? Furthermore, he urged that the law stipulate that the death of a fetus, or of a woman as a result of an abortion, be punishable by up to twenty years in prison. Ask the spirits of Rachel, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Malibran and Hemans to send down some fine woman's suffrage songs. I know they are all interested in our struggle and see as clearly as I do that we must sing as well as argue ourselves into the political kingdom. For the first time I am running away, and I am being chased. But I chose all the shortest texts I could find, wanting only the prize and forgetting the books themselves—all the words someone somewhere had written me.

Each night in my narrow bed, I dream of a series of simultaneous wives and I dream of the Anchor. The only thing that can wake me is morning. I never saw any such furious galloping by any Valkyrie. With kind regards, Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Benjamin Butler took home the proposed Comstock bill to study it for the House Judiciary Committee and concluded that it violated First Amendment rights. Victoria read the name written in fire—Demosthenes. Once I read a story in a shield, of women who built cities from dust, who built altars of love to mark its end. I can still see the smoke from here. We'll make our way to Valhalla to bring Wotan his warriors. The storm is approaching. Fly, if you fear it.

Her lips pressed against my cheek. My words in her ear. We say that Tennessee Claflin in the manner aforesaid feloniously and willfully did kill and slay contrary to the statutes / one Rebecca Howe. Hojotoho. Hojotoho. Heiaha. Heiaha.

Xena: At a certain point you start to consider divine misintervention.

I will carry you to heaven.

And the card said MEGA-CITY

 

 

Only one sentence was written by the author. The remaining text was collaged from Other Powers by Barbara Goldsmith (1998), Mega-City Redux by Alyse Knorr (2016), and the libretto of act 3, scene 1 of Die Walküre by Richard Wagner (1856/1870).