September 28, 1996
Take Back the Night

poem by Anitra L. Freeman


 

   Running with the wolves means
      going straight for my food
      eating all I need
      taking compliments
      running with those who inspire me
      showing my heels
      to those who would drag me down
   and tonight I am running with the wolves
      a pack of women hundreds strong
      marching down dark streets and alleys
      howling down the moon.
  
   "Women united
      Take back the night!
   Women united
      Take back the night!"
  
   Running with the wolves means
      facing straight toward my fear
      smelling it out
      running it down
   and tonight I am running with the wolves.
  
   "Yes means yes!
   No means no!
   Whatever we wear!
   Wherever we go!"
  
   Running with the wolves
   Second Avenue
   is a spiritual path.
  
   There, Shiva
   has shaved his head
   bought a black leather jacket and a switchblade
   developed Tourette's Syndrome.
   Four hundred wolves circle him
   shouting bright fire in his face
   and Shiva remembers
      he was supposed to dance.
  
   "Out of the bars
      and into the streets!
   Out of the bars
      and into the streets!"
  
   And Shiva remembers he was supposed to dance
   the death of old ideas
   like
   women
   are afraid
   to run.
  
   Wolves run down Crack Alley.
   There, Athena wears black leather, too.
   She has a nose ring
   and her cheek's tattooed
   with teardrops
   of blood.
   She's freebasing,
   heating the rocks
   in the cups of her armor
   with one of Vulcan's discarded torches.
  
   Wolves sing to her.
   Wolves rush her up among them.
   She breathes wolf breath and wolf musk.
   Athena remembers
   the wisdom of women
   warriors of life.
  
   Running with the wolves.
  
   Take Back the Night.
 

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