Romare Bearden, The Return of Odysseus (1977)
October 28, 2002:
I had the "female" role in that relationship.
Waited, long-suffering like Penelope, holding at arm's length the suitors who pursued me,
while she was Odysseus, wandering where and with whom she chanced. I was the caregiver she
ran to for shelter, the healer who dressed all wounds, the rock upon which she'd anchor when
storms tossed the bleeding wine-dark seas. I considered this to be loyalty. She manipulated
and abused that loyalty with ruthless clarity.
She understood the situation via these three axioms. Women and men are different species
incapable of communication or concourse. Solidarity exists within genders, war between them.
All's fair in love and war.
I've grown to adulthood detesting the trivial
and sad catalog of ideologically-constructed
"differences" between genders. Women are not from Venus, men are not from Mars.
Women and men are all from Earth. This implies both hope and responsibility. Hope, that one
day in a culture made free of Puritanism and prurience gender will be accepted matter-of-factly
as a gift of nature, emptied of the bizarre and unhappy connotations of conquest and conflict we
invest it with today. Responsibility, to work toward the creation of that free culture.
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© 2002-2013 Mark Phillips.
All rights reserved.
This writing is fiction. Please don't confuse it with reality.