I Keep Thinking of Christine

by on October 18, 2018 · 4 comments

in From the Soul

Photo: Wikimedia

By Ernie McCray

I keep thinking of Christine,
her story of a man
cupping his hand
over her mouth
so she couldn’t scream
and expose his scheme
to forcefully
have his way with her
like so many men have done
for eons
in human history.
And for decades she didn’t scream,
except for those
inaudible screams that echo in
those dark places inside
human beings
where we try to hide
pain that’s hard to confront,
to bear,
our emotions laid bare,
despair becoming
the air
we breathe –
and an instant comes, suddenly,
like a frightening monster in the night,
as you find that this man
who once gave you
the fright of your life
is positioned
to become an associate justice
on the Supreme Court
of the United States of America

How can I not keep thinking of Christine,
In light
of the trauma that haunts her memories?
How can I not ponder how she must be feeling presently
knowing that a huge sampling
of her fellow citizens,
on a mission
to Make America Great Again,
didn’t hear her scream
or turned their backs to her scream
or didn’t understand what a scream is
when it isn’t coming from them?
How can my heart not bleed
for her
knowing that she’s
been vilified and characterized
as a conniving evil lying
crazy confused pawn
of a left wing conspiracy…

I keep thinking of how
disheartening it must be for her
to hear people say
they “believe she was
criminally attacked
but not by
the man she
pointed a finger at,”
not to mention that,
he resided in her community,
and was known to her, in fact,
and now she lives with inquiries
about why she
waited 36 years
to tell her story
from people
who apparently lack the ability,
to see
that someone who has been
harshly victimized sexually,
nearly raped, specifically,
might feel
compromised and silenced
by their shame,
by their emotional pain,
crippled by their
fear that their claim might not be believed,
as there are rarely witnesses
to sexual battery.

How must it feel to be a victim again,
this time by a president
weighing in
on this sin
like an amateurish insult comedian
bombing horribly,
joking, tactlessly,
about how come you didn’t
know how many beers
you had downed
or how you got home
or where the house was
or what neighborhood it was in,
in the mindset of boys will be boys
and men will be men,
you see this man,
so barren
of sympathy or empathy,
role-playing a son, who has been
falsely accused
of a sexual impropriety,
fearfully and mournfully
asking his mother:
“What do I do Mom?
What do I do Mom?”
And then there comes an
issuing of an apology,
in behalf of the country,
to this man
who treated you so horribly,
a man who tapdanced
around key questions
and free styled
what one should never ever
say or do
in a job interview,
as an interviewee
being rude to the interviewer
and whining and crying
and yelling “I love beer!”
are not employment seeking strategies
to which anyone should adhere.

But it got this man
a seat on the far left
of the Chief Justice
in the highest
court of the land.

So I keep thinking of Christine,
as I bear in mind
the man’s perjury
regarding a drinking history
in which he rose to the level of notoriety
at his high school and university –

and I can’t help but wonder what women have to do
to be believed in our society?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

judi curry October 18, 2018 at 2:03 pm

Beautifully written, Ernie. The insight is spectacular. We need you in Congress! Thanks for speaking out.


Steve October 22, 2018 at 9:45 am

Nicely done, Ernie. I think about her as well.


Shelley Plumb October 28, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Thanks, Ernie.


Lori Saldana November 26, 2018 at 2:27 pm

Powerful poem- and these lines are especially poignant:

“…didn’t hear her scream
or turned their backs to her scream
or didn’t understand what a scream is
when it isn’t coming from them…”

Thank you for so artfully reminding us that too many people with power and privilege willfully ignore or dismiss or misunderstand screams- as well as calm, rational statements- when they reflect a reality they don’t want to acknowledge, at the risk of losing their position and status.


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