Excerpts > Summer 2002

Susan Deer Cloud
Welcome To the Land of Ma'am

Welcome To the Land of Ma'am

Welcome to The Land of Ma'am, where countless Indians
perished because brazen, young invaders erected
their "Land of the Free" on Turtle Island, Mother Earth.
Welcome to The Land of Ma'am, where you are free
to be young, smooth-skinned, strong - free to call women with silver
gracing their long hair Ma'am. Welcome, you who stand indifferent
as the godlike models in Vanity Fair, you GAP boys with bulges
of retro-testosterone in your khaki pants, addressing women like me
in John Wayne drawls, Excuse me, Ma'am, if you see us at all. Welcome
to moon-drawn decades of walking on Earth, to wise-women hair,
to faces carved with petroglyph-wrinkles, mythes in flesh.

And welcome, you who are young and female, blonde and glittering
with rings in noses, ears, tongues - you who are pricked
with bold tattoos on the drunken dough of derrieres bouncing
like swing music beneath the jive of high skirts. To you, especially, welcome
to The Land of Ma'am, girls serving me in restaurants, stores -
confindent your waists will never expand, nor black witch hairs sprout
on your chins overnight, nor the charmed cells of your tinseltown behinds
migrate like disoriented geese to your anorexic arms. Can I help you, Ma'am?
The nasal riptides of a sneer undercuts your deodorized ma'ams.
Oh, doomed Lolitas of America's malls, Ophelias of the Big Mac
born with the silver spoons of Hollywood-lies up your fixed noses, playing
bad girls, cracking into mad girls when you can't pretend you're perfect
products anymore - welcome to that land you're destined for.

Welcome to The Land of Ma'am, where the old grow invisible
inside "The Land of the Free." Welcome to the reservation
that the young, the powerful, the rich try to consign you to, as if you were
a cast-off dress with no body in it, fit only for a thrift shop, mothballed
purview of the poor. And welcome to the end of sex, where "Wham, bam,
thank you, Ma'am" shrivels into new meaning - no bodies over twenty
allowed in this America of TV-programmed Crest-white teeth,
Jane Fonda-implant breasts, conatc lens-throw away-blue eyes,
collagen-smiles, sucked-thin thighs. Who would want to
make love to decades of daydreams, longing, sorrow, ecstacy,
delicate wisdom glowing like wildflowers in moonlight - want to
kiss flesh like hills warmed by many suns, gullied
by stinging rains, hypnotic snows? Welcome to the land of mammograms.

I say Ma'ams of the World unite, start your own goddess-business!
I say make "Ban the Ma'am" buttons, then wear them proudly
on red tee-shirts, your breasts soft and low and braless underneath!
Every chance you get, thrust out buttons of defiance
on street corners, at malls, universities, movie houses, banks, the halls
of Congress, yes! Ma'ams, snatch back this land and don't plead "pretty
pleeease!" Dream it the way it was before the tribes were divided, crushed,
when older women were revered as beautiful elders, medicine women,
wise women, beloved women, when the People cried
for their visions in the female heart
of the ancient hills.

Ma'ams, it's a good day to die.

About PS   What's New   Curr Iss   Subscriptions  Submissions   Archives  E-mail   PS Home   UNL Home