Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Oh, Antonio Banderas [poem]

Oh, Antonio Banderas
   - reflections on the third wave after Never Talk to Strangers

You really put yourself through so much,
starring in those movies with the women
always either crazy or lesbian or both. 

She’d taken self-defense.
She’d been in therapy.
She was so free she
couldn’t remember liberation.
She, she, she, she
was probably pagan, she
probably worshipped She.

Brown eyes and chivalry were no match.
Look! She shot you in the chest!
She did it all by herself,
twenty years ago.

Antonio, where are you now?
Did you survive being shot in the broad
chest by the crazy/lesbian/pagan woman?
Did you marry?  Did you divorce?
Of course, you’re still here.
Men, cockroaches, the millennium:
survivors, you.


A wonderfully 90's movie came on television the other day - Never Talk to Strangers, starring Antonio Banderas and some other people, including a woman whose character turned out to be crazy and a murderess.

I came of age in the 90's - I was first becoming aware of pop culture and society then. Thus, I was able to think back and realize - crazy, aggressive, maybe murderous women were kind of A Thing in the 90's. Also, lesbians. Also pagan crazy women maybe subtext lesbians. Sharon Stone had a lot to do with this. Also, Xena Warrior Princess.

Also, Seinfeld - George tailspinned into a crisis of manhood when he discovered the woman he had dated "became" a lesbian after him. So, too, the Ross character from Friends suffered quite a bit of ball bust from his now-lesbian ex-wife.

I remember how there was very much a sense, in the midst of what would become known as the third wave of feminism, that women were in possession of and asserting a level of agency and empowerment that they had never experienced before.

I remember that men were questioning their place, their appeal, in this new world order. What could they do if they couldn't open doors for us? How does one show sensitivity and keep his balls? Is that possible?

In short, there was a shift.

And Hollywood apparently reflected that shift by freaking out and exaggerating the change, portraying variations of the same caricature - the crazy, murderous maybe-lesbian.

So I wrote today's poem.

I wrote this poem on October 1, 2014 as part of Tupelo Press's 30/30 Project.

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