How to be a feminist poet by Lindsay Oliver

1. Be a feminist
2. Write a poem

Not as simple as that
No
There is a third secret step
3. Use your poem to advocate for women’s rights

and a fourth
4. Advocate often

if advocating means activism
if activism means being active
if advocating often means
being active often
I am not a feminist poet
I cannot advocate, I cannot often

My hands are too full of pushrims
and cane handles to carry this cap

I am, likewise,
ineligible for membership
of the dead poets society
ladies auxiliary division

I’m not dead yet

I will, I know,
die before my time
a reduction of 5 to 10 years
I’ve been promised

(A small loss according to the NHS)
My early death alone
is insufficient
to expedite my application

I am not letting this go
I can’t afford the luxury of activism
of advocating
when I can only go out twice a week
and then I have to spend the next day in bed
when a venue listed as wheelchair accessible
has no disabled toilet

I’m not letting this go
not when my last relapse left me unable to write more than one hundred & forty characters in
one go
for months on end

I am not letting this go
I am a feminist
I am a poet
I’m holding a card
Do you need me to show it.

 

 

 

 

Lindsay Oliver lives in Leith, Scotland. After losing her job due to illness and disability, she began writing. She writes poetry, short stories and longer fiction. She regularly takes part in open mic nights. Her writing has appeared in two anthologies, and in print and online journals. You can find her website at http://lindsayoliver.scot/ and on Twitter @imLindsayOliver.