Barbara Ruth



I’m a narrow bitch
and my bed is hard.

                                                Men say I should change
                                                to be womanly.

My mother was a witch
and her cage was barred.

                                                My daughters will be strange
                                                and they will be free.

I have felt myself to be queer, socially, neurologically, sexually, since early childhood. I wrote the Womanifesto series in the 1970s. During this decade I lived and loved in Philadelphia and was a member of Dyketactics, an anarchist action group. We were assaulted by the police at our first action, in City Hall, at a City Council meeting which killed a Bill designed to provide civil rights for LGB folks in employment, public accommodations and housing. We became the first queer group in the US, possibly the world, to bring legal action against the police for brutalizing us. We are all still alive. This poem is dedicated to my sisters in Dyketactics, especially Sharon Owens, Paola Bacchetta, Sherrie Cohen and Kathy Hogan, and my neuroqueer spiritual daughter and granddaughter: Shannon Bolt and MD DeMasi. I am blessed with a rowdy and visionary family of choice.

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