Tiffany St. John - Psychologist, Poet, Bagel Lover

Tiffany St. John is a recent grad of OSU (conGRADulations!).  She majored in psychology and moved on to live in Missoula, MT.  On top of being a poet, she claims to eat too many bagels.  In the YAM fam, the phrase "too many bagels" doesn't exist.  Here's her response poem to the treatment of women in the arts and ultimately, throughout history.  Critiquing the Male Gaze?  We're all for it.

Beholder

I am not a rose,
or any flower, delicate
in its blushing moans, crushed
under a careless toe. I am not fragile
as the ticking of your wrist-watch, or firm
as Venus, armless in marble with breasts like hands,
rigid in a stiff-backed stone jacket. I am a tongue
inches from your out-turned ear, heavy
with braille. I am that ear, a worm wound
around the temple
of your body and moonshine
in your ribbed throat, melatonin:
I settle in holes where hair
breaks through. You are coated in my skin
cells; your arms
would encircle me, and are halted
by the firmness
of my body, the impenetrable
muscle,
             tumbling
over my ribs       like the breath of something
             living.

 

"Beholder" is a feminist response to the arts and its treatment of women throughout history. The objectification of women in art and media, while simultaneously refusing to canonize women's work, is so infuriating to me that I felt the need to respond. I love to read the poems of Neruda or Cummings in which they worship their lovers' bodies, and I relish the beauty in their art, but the refusal of these and other great Male artists, in their personal lives, to acknowledge the intellectual and physical contribution of women throughout history is remarkable. In the attached poem, the beauty speaks to her beholder.