Eve took the rap for original sin.
Ergo the heave-ho of women and men,
Tossed out of heaven and tilting towards hell,
Blamed all on a pomme-eating mademoiselle.
After that it was her fault and his to repair.
“We’ll take it from here, ladies. Go find a chair.”
The first piece of business, the touchstone, the key?
Invent a new concept; hence, misogyny.
“You blew it in Eden. It’s our turn on earth.
It’s time to show women how little they’re worth.”
And along came the long-standing patriarchy
Whose results — over time — are quite easy to see.
To get the ball rolling, the men forged a plot
To incriminate gals — not just Eve, the whole lot.
It started with stories, through legend and myth,
Unfolding with dollops and soupçons of pith.
Hera was constantly henpecking Zeus
Whenever his thunder-down-under got loose.
Helen served scapegoat for starting a war.
Her looks launched the ships that showed up on Troy’s shore.
Hecuba gave birth nineteen times in all,
Then saw her sons slaughtered delaying Troy’s fall.
Here her plot lines diverge (neither ending propitious):
Either stark-raving mad or enslaved by Odysseus.
Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, she
Was rudely un-girdled by brave Heracles.
He slayed her and stripped her — he did her no favors.
Killing a queen was just one of his labors.
From there things progressed into literature.
Men did most of the writing. Coincidence? Sure.
Preserved and protected for posterity,
Mummified on the shelves of your town’s library.
“Woman” and “frailty” were nimbly equated
By Hamlet (whose “princeliness” could be debated).
Ophelia’s love made him feel like a knave,
So he hectored her into a watery grave.
Hester Prynne was embossed with a big scarlet “A”
For her quite adulterous roll in the hay.
Miss Havisham suffered a toasty comeuppance—
Her vengefulness cost her far more than a tuppence.
Holly Golightly, that flibbertijibbet,
Was a trinket for men, slinking ‘round like a civet.
Hermione played second fiddle to Harry.
In the end she got stuck with the ginger to marry.
On the flip side are tame brides, all pedestal-propped,
Dainty and delicate, fragile if dropped.
Or heavenly angels — the goddess, the muse.
Any strong-minded gals? Best to tame them, the shrews.
And what about music? Good grief, where to start?
Unrestrained degradation parading as art.
Hip hop’s tip-top rappers are well-known offenders,
Spitting rhymes that define the stark line ‘twixt the genders.
The heroes are hustlers — the players and pimps.
The women subhuman, so named, catch a glimpse:
Hoochies and chickenheads, bitches and hos,
Hatchet wounds, ratchets — you know how it goes.
In Hollywood females have not fared much better.
Goldie Hawn summed up actresses’ lives to the letter.
Roles come in three sizes, the distinctions aren’t hazy:
“Babe, District Attorney and Driving Miss Daisy.”
Once entrenched, thus supported, the rest was formality.
It didn’t take long ‘til this trope was reality.
The evidence plastered all over the news
Taking down real life gals using similar views.
Amelia Earhart just vanished. Like, poof!
Last seen aloft, now forever aloof.
The best female pilot, her flights caused a shindy,
But she couldn’t escape the nickname “Lady Lindy.”
Even the bravest fell to history’s yoke.
Belittled by time, reduced to a joke.
Like this: “Helen Keller, how’d she burn her ear?”
“When the phone rang she answered the iron, poor dear.”
Her highness, Diana, was hounded and hunted
By men wielding cameras — her soul all they wanted.
And Hillary Clinton was doused with disdain
While her husband the horndog was getting some brain.
And that’s just the well-known ones. That’s just the stars—
Famous Venusians stuck living on Mars.
As for the common folk, what do they face?
How the world treats its women’s a fucking disgrace.
Wage inequality, good ol’ boy networks.
Low pay for ladies — so common it’s knee jerk.
Not a glass ceiling — a reinforced roof!
Any credible census has plenty of proof.
An industry warranting little compassion:
The heralded houses of women’s high fashion.
Hiring paper-thin models to show off their clothes,
Photoshopped flawless. (No need to disclose.)
Starvation’s sexy. Malnutrition is haute.
Lots of diets and cleanses for battling bloat.
“Those last stubborn pounds still insisting to linger?
Show some pride! Open wide and just swallow your finger.”
Body dysmorphic, anorexic, bulimic,
High fashion’s response has been highly anemic.
“Nothing tastes better than skinniness feels”—
Especially when propped up on Louboutin heels.
Porn’s whole milieu is abusive, despotic,
Rewiring young minds for what counts as erotic.
DPs and gang bangs, fistings, bukkakes,
Horse-hung male studs using women like jockeys.
And what about sex workers, escorts and strippers,
Prostitutes bending down, unzipping zippers,
Back-room masseuses coaxing happy endings—
Depending on dough from men not worth defending.
Girls trapped in the household, denied education,
Expected to welcome their low situation.
Married off soon as they reach adolescence
By fathers demanding complete acquiescence.
Kidnapping, trafficking, slavery, rape—
A cycle, once started, few women escape.
Sexual violence, genital mutilation—
And this is what passes for civilization?
This shit sounds barbaric, medieval, archaic;
In fact it’s so common it’s almost prosaic.
This shit isn’t fantasy, phony or fake.
It’s happening now — the whole future’s at stake.
Boko Haram was the very last straw,
Crazed fundamentalists flouting the law.
Bombings and kidnappings, chaos and terror,
Wanton destruction — the new standard bearer.
Mothers tore at their hair while men sat on their hands.
Politicos politicked, spitballing plans.
The world sat and gawked at this latest disaster.
They seemed to be coming now, faster and faster.
When those goons stole those girls, shot their guns in the air,
No one could have guessed what they’d trigger up there.
They wanted the world’s undivided attention.
Instead they scared up some divine intervention.
Time stopped. The sky ripped. The seven seas boiled.
The wind died. The sun dimmed. All creatures recoiled.
Blood soaked the clouds ‘til an acid raid splattered.
The atmosphere crackled. The firmament shattered.
Then came a violent, heaven-sent “BOOM!”
Four hellbent heroines, heralds of doom,
Sprang forth from the fissure, the air rank and stale,
Riding on horses white, red, black and pale.
Hayley, Hilaria, Hannah and Hope—
Their names quite generic, belying the scope
Of the cruel course correction they’d come to unleash,
A merciless apocalyptic pastiche.
The Four spoke in concert with voices like thunder.
Every creature on earth froze in terror and wonder.
“This is the end of the rule of humanity.
No more will the world entertain your insanity.
In our eyes the fault lies with both of the genders
But men, you have been the most flagrant offenders.
You men had it your way. You men had your fun.
You men raped and pillaged and killed. Now you’re done.
As for the few good ones — you know who you are.
Don’t worry. Relax. Watch the game. Hit the bar.
The rest of you chumps are due quite a surprise.”
And with that the Four galloped forth, blood in their eyes.
Hayley wreaked havoc. Hannah spawned hate.
Hilaria hid herself, lying in wait
Before hastily, happily hacking off heads.
Her forte: muerte. She liked her men dead.
Hope’s name was ironic. She dealt in despair,
Haphazardly handing out harm with great flair,
Spreading milder vexations, but in heaping doses:
Hernias, hiccups, harelips, halitosis,
Hemorrhoids, herpes, hangnails, HPV,
And of course, hepatitis types A, B and C,
Headaches and head lice, hair loss and hives —
With each helping she gave her three sisters high fives.
From Hawaii to Haiti to Herzegovina
They rained down their horrors, laughing like hyenas.
Men scattered headlong; they fled helter-skelter.
Some wrinkled old Brits belted out “Gimme Shelter!”
Hizzoners, higher-ups, male heads of state
Paid for their crimes (about time), met their fates.
These hideous, horrid, hate-mongering halfwits
Were hanged, drawn and quartered and hacked into half-bits.
If all of this violence seems heavy-handed
Or more than the world’s situation demanded
Let’s look to the history books once again.
To settle the score the Four acted like men.
Henry the VIII was a fan of beheadings.
Two wives lost their crowns not long after their weddings.
Don’t forget Adolph Hitler and Sadaam Hussein—
Despots with pure evil flowing through their veins.
Hideki Tojo’s regime was inhuman.
Likewise Hiroshima — thanks, Harry Truman.
And that’s just a sampling of genocide’s pillars.
The infamous, world-class, all-time, all-male killers.
Macro and micro, across time and lands,
Men have murdered by fiat and with their bare hands.
In light of this tally then can’t we agree
Dudes were long overdue for reciprocity?
Yes, women have killed, too, with similar gall—
And that’s where the Four Riders picked up the ball.
Their vengeance left nary a bad guy behind,
Thus ending the hegemony of his kind.
The slaughter subsiding, the dead decomposing,
Survivors’ heads spinning with fretful supposing,
The Four looked forth, surveyed the scene with a sneer,
Then delivered a speech the whole cosmos could hear.
“Fellas, a word, please. The few of you left
Probably feel quite shaken, forsaken, bereft.
Since we’ve got your attention, a little advice—
Just a few small suggestions to heed should suffice.
Want to fight? Use your fists. When it’s over? Shake hands.
Whether vanquished or victor, return to your clans
And get back to the business of living your lives.
Better sons to your mothers and husbands to wives.
Better brothers to sisters — just give it a whirl.
Better fathers to all of your kids — boy and girl.
Better lovers to loved ones, both current and exes.
(Best admit there’s no winning a war between sexes.)
Better friends to each other. Less macho bravado.
Stop being so freaking incommunicado.
Take those chips off your shoulders. Forgive and forget.
It’s your last second chance. Press the button. Reset.”
With the men duly scolded — straight up put on blast—
The time came to counsel the women at last.
“If you’re truly the fairer sex, now’s when to show it.
This is your shot, ladies. Better not blow it.
You’ve suffered for suffrage. You’ve stopped taking guff.
You’ve come a long way, true, but not far enough.
Once teachers and nurses and secretaries.
Now you’re principals, docs, CEOs, PhDs!
No longer just housewives, domestic in scope.
What’s next? U.S. President. After that? Pope!
You’ve burnt bras, now burn burqas. Cast off that hijab.
Without fear of the he-man woman-hating mob.
The Taliban’s toppled. Al Qaeda’s now nada,
Wiped out, sunk, destroyed like the Spanish Armada.
The world’s top ten sexist regimes are in limbo.
Awaiting a woman to lead, arms akimbo.
Yemen, Morocco, Chad, Mali, Iran,
Mauritania, Ivory Coast, Pakistan,
Syria, Saudi Arabia — do it!
Make hay while the sun’s shining. Rise up. Get to it.”
And like the four elements — earth, air, fire, water—
These four dark avengers, Eternity’s daughters,
Began to dissolve, each one into the other
And return to the inky black void, the Great Mother.
Their last words were: “Start treating each other like equals,
Or else we’ll be back in a bloodier sequel.
The next time you see us we’re bringing some friends—
And that’s how the human experiment ends.”
In the slow-motion seconds soon after they vanished
All memories of their existence were banished.
The past was rewritten, the Internet rebooted,
No change was perceived so no cause was imputed.
The earth took its orbit. The sun held its plane.
The tide lapped the shoreline. The moon waxed and waned.
Waterfalls, rivers and streams resumed flowing.
What happened next? There was no way of knowing.
Could women repair things? Well, they couldn’t do worse.
(We’re already halfway to hell in a hearse.)
While you ponder that query, permit this aside,
A hectoring, hot-air harangue, bona fide:
The universe isn’t impressed by our splendor.
It couldn’t care less about race, creed or gender,
Religions, political affiliations,
Tax brackets, sexual orientations,
GDP, stock prices, box office grosses,
“Who wore it better?” — pop culture hypnosis,
Gossip rags, Birkin bags, whose teeth are whitest,
What kind of cars we drive, whose abs are tightest,
Who weds The Bachelors or Bachelorettes
Or any “reality” on TV sets.
Pinterest pins, Facebook likes, re-tweets or check-ins,
Virtual living when actual beckons.
Side-taking, claim-staking, waging of wars.
“My God’s the true God.” “No mine is. Fuck yours!”
“This book was penned by the one holy prophet!”
“This hunk of rock is my birthright. Get off it!”
Can’t blame the harbor seals, huskies or hens,
The hyrax or hedgehogs curled up in their dens.
Can’t blame those hornets or these honeybees,
Nor the hummingbirds, herons, hawks high on the breeze
Can’t blame the hartebeests, the horses or hippos.
How many holocausts have they caused? Zippo.
Of all the world’s creatures — skin, bone, flesh, albumen—
The planet’s fucked-up-ness has one culprit: humans.
If we don’t change our ways soon and come to our senses
We’re headed for unthinkable consequences.
Might it be too damn late for a global amends?
Let’s get back to our story and see how it ends.
Did hope erase heartache? Did healing best hate?
Did hubris and haughtiness humbly abate?
Did hugs replace handshakes? Did honesty reign,
Hypocritical half-truths no longer germane?
Did harmony steadfastly soothe histrionics—
A rift-closing shift seismic as plate tectonics?
Did happiness redress the long-standing wound
In those hamstrung by heartstrings horribly out of tune?
What it all boils down to, the crux of the matter,
The thesis of all of this nattering chatter,
The supreme supposition, the case being pled:
What if history became her story instead?
The Riders — possessed of a mild cynicism
And hedging their bets against recidivism—
Hid a hint deep in the human hive mind,
A posthypnotic notion meant to remind:
Hell hath no wrath like Four Horsewomen scorned.
Long be They reverenced. Long be They mourned.