Today’s woman is not a woman.

She’s a man

Who steps across my threshold by lure:

Who beguiles me into servile reticence

With the subtlety

Of a bloodless coup d’état.


She’s not like mama

Who bows with snow-white hair

To scrub the kitchen floor,

Who knows the right place

For the kettle and the pan

After each and every use,

Who still understands

The language of the suckling

That clutches up

At hay-dry breasts,

In whose charms and grace

Father still basks blessedly,

Whose gentle love

Gets the lion to crawl,

Whose kindness

We and the world trumpet

Upon mountain tops.


Today’s woman is not a woman.

She’s a man

Who hides granite balls

Under furry hide,

Who is more erudite than me,

And has become wiser also.

No wonder

She no longer

Stirs my balls,

Neither my brains.

But how could she?

She’s a man

Who does not cry tears

That melt the heart.

She’s a man

Full of bones and nerves.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

This poem was written by me in Benin City, Nigeria, in 1994, during one of the forced vacations of the University of Port Harcourt. As usual, I spent the vacation with my uncle who lived in Benin. At a point I had become so put off by my uncle’s new wife’s seemingly patronizing attitude. I couldn’t help entertaining other strands of thoughts some of which considered the possibility that the quest of the modern woman for gender equality might also upset certain natural equilibria that always existed between men and women. 





i thought we had it all


you and me


thought that we could live


on love and a prayer


against all odds


a kind of evolutionary oddity




but love shall not live by


two by two


but by (un)holy trinity


for new blood


ensures genetic




lo, even in Eden


there were birds and there were bees...


for what the father without the hovering spirit


to move across the restless sea


and what old Dionysus


without the graces three...


faith, hope and Charity


spirit, soul and body




there were others then


outside the garden


those with eyes to see


the mark of Cain


the children of Seth's wisdom


and their bane


yea God in His wisdom foreordained


mighty Uriel of the flaming sword


to secure the secret


lest the nephilim partake


of that Other tree




yet even holy Noah's deluge


could not defeat the sacred purpose


for it was foreseen


that man should not live


by bred alone


but by word


turned sacrament


yea by spirit


clad in farse and blood ...




the time has come


to force the gates of Eden


to embrace the greater family tree




the serpent She spoke


hide the flame of


Eden in your hearts


ah my love – tis folly


the final idolatry


did you not know


two must needs give way


to three


yea four-fold vision


ere the sun


melt into the sea




now bare with me


second Eve


thy soft flesh




the primal one


conceive the darkness


from whence


the light doth come


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462 Ways

I was in line at Stop and Shop for longer than usual.
At first staring blankly ahead, I began to catch up on some important women’s issues.

Nail polish! Thigh gap! Please your man!

Did you know there are 462 new ways to do that? 462 new ways to please your man.
16 new sex positions
10 don’ts that are now dos
10 dos that are now don’ts

How to keep him coming back. How to keep HIM from coming back.

What am I supposed to do with my face during sex? TELL me, Cosmo!
What is wrong with me this month?

Wait a minute. 462 ways. Really?
462 ways to please my man.
I call bullshit.
I have seen the magic of mashed potatoes, XBox, and blowjobs.
Don’t tell me you’ve come up with 459 more things.

I mean, we’re not this helpless. Are we?
Jesus, I haven’t checked in a while.
Let’s see what the Q&A section has to say about that.

Halfway to the answer I am blindside by a mustard gas perfume sample,
and suddenly I am confronting one of the lesser reasons I stopped going to church.

Try this: the name is written in cursive
and a shiny lady, she holds the bottle.
Better yet, a shiny man. He looks so sad.

Now listen… I saw the little blurb about Hillary Clinton on page 4.
I saw the survivor story
and the “feminist” Dove soap ad.

But that’s just the problem…
It’s the same old patronizing, belittling, stifling crap now wrapped in
“strong woman” paper,
independence gossamer,
the idea that we are in the driver’s seat of our own self image
but the speedometer is painted on.

22 MORE new sex positions
15 reasons your boyfriend might be running late
12 ways to tell if he’s going to call you back

If you’re going to patronize us, go all the way!

36 sexy ways to put your pants on!
45 reasons high heels are worth permanently fucking up your knees!

How do I know if I like my job?
What’s the best tampon for me?
Where does the penis go?

In ten years I’ll segue into the target audience for
Women’s Day and Redbook.

And I’ll still need to lose weight,
And I still won’t know my ass from my elbow,
And instead of telling me how to meet men,
they’ll be coaching me through a divorce,
and then menopause…

But at least by the last page,
I’ll have a pie.

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Change of Plans for Our Dinner Date

Here you are, all dressed up
To take me out to dinner, our very first date
Even more handsome than in your corporate office

In your Armani pinstriped business suit
Silk tie, starched white shirt, cufflinks
Polished black leather Italian shoes
Your BMW waits outside

I changed my mind
We will stay home tonight
You will cook dinner for me right here

No, don't complain
Take off those expensive shoes and socks

That's right - no shoes for you tonight

I want you barefoot in my kitchen


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Dr Clockstop's Sinister Sideshow

Off with your tweed and on with my silk,

The colourful carriage rears over the hill,

The Sinister Sideshow has come back to town,

Do you hear that unmistakable sound?

The clunking and banging of Clockstop's things,

Books and such, yes, and an army of strings. 

Strings, you say? Yes! His puppet display!

 Never been seen, always hidden away,

We know that they're locked in carriage number three,

If he sees you, I'll say it was nothing to do with me!

But enough of that now, On With The Show!

Starting off with a bow so unnaturally low, 

The leader's a dwarf, so we all know his face,

Then his ladies are adorned with silk, string and lace,

Blues, greens and reds dazzle drinkers and wives,

Diamonds glimmer lights into transfixed eyes,

There are songs of old friendships and songs of old lovers,

But the men see not stories, just girls in bright colours. 

'That's rather sinister...' Hmm? Yes, it is...

But old Clockstop knows where all these men live.

That is the trick of Doctor Clockstop's routine, 

You can leave if you manage to keep your hands clean!

Those who don't often boo at the Final Act,

As the puppet show dancers are emotionless and flat. 

But do not be fooled, for the puppets aren't wood.

I might have suggested you run, if I could...

Doctor Clockstop will follow with puppets in hand,

You can plead, but don't expect him to understand:

Men who grope women and make crude remarks,

Can expect to be treated with the same disregard.

"You were leering, and that reflects little respect..."

Now you're dead, with a puppet string tied round your neck.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

© Lizzie Ayres, 2013


I am what you would call a maniac,

A manic.

I am the Hyde to a Jekyll,

A creature with clawlike talons and razor sharp teeth.

But I am no monster of the deep,

I am simply an animal with desire, passion and love, forced

Through my veins by my ancestors.

I am no harmful creature,

But one that should be pitied.

My Body is wired,

Like an android I stand,

Helpless to my desires and instincts.

Society deems me a brute,

A monstrosity,

Yet the human species deems me perfect.

Live, Die, Breed

We are a natural process,

Subdued by societies concrete walls,

Imprisoned in ourselves,

Subverted to a nature that slaughters the souls of men.



Bring me my death, for life's meaning is massacred by the weight of suppression.

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Cry with the wolves,

And watch the devils play,

With advantageous eyes,

On the souls of men.

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Labeled Woman

I am a woman?

When did that happen?

Who else knows?

And why wasn't I told?

What do I need to do

As a woman?

How do I need to act

As a woman?

Do I need to change what I like

As a woman?

Do I have to wear make-up

As a woman?

Do I have to dress up

As a woman?

Do I have to like flowers

As a woman?

Should I think differently

As a woman?

Should I feel differently

As a woman?

I do not think thing

That I like

This title of

Being a woman

Author's Notes/Comments: 

February 14, 2007

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A letter to Sita

Sita, I have tried to burn

as you did,

my fair hair plaited

and my bare feet clean,

my sari pinned up,

my head bowed modestly.

It tore my flesh to shreds.

It melted my golden jewelry

and my braid turned to ash.

It burned my forehead

and marked me with flaming sindoor.

Sita, I have been no bride.

Krishna has not troubled me

when I fetch the water;

Ganesha has not nursed from me,

nor has he lost his head;

Brahma has not noticed me--

the Vedas remain unborn.

Yet I have heard men sing to me:

"My love, you are a gentle lotus;

my love, you are a sleeping tiger;

my love, you are a golden peacock,"

and all the while I sat and listened,

my fair hair plaited

and my sari pinned up.

Tell me, Sita: why do I burn?

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