Women Under SIege: ANONYMOUS POEM* © 2012 vbb_admin. All rights reserved.

9:00 PM


Women Under Siege

Location: Bedroom
by Jacsun Shah

Poet and VBB co-founder Jacsun Shah performed a poem. An excerpt of the piece is part of the overall documentary about the production.



The year is 1966. I live with two roommates, Polly and Dana, in a swinging-singles apartment complex near a university.

It’s 1966—a year when good girls don’t have sex until marriage… or pretend they don’t. Tell lies about what they are doing, to protect their good reputations.

Polly is having sex with Mark, the divorced guy who lives downstairs. She spends each evening with him, comes back upstairs at 5:00 a.m. to get ready for work, looks at me sheepishly. We fell asleep on the sofa watching TV, she says. And I believe her—almost.

It’s 1966 and Polly is impregnated by Mark, who doesn’t want to marry her. She has an abortion, a backstreet illegal abortion. Women have no reproductive rights in the U.S.

I’m naive, gullible, believe stories about falling asleep on the sofa. Then Dana tells me Polly is in the hospital, tells me about the abortion.

Polly almost dies. Her temperature is 106°, she’s packed in ice. She survives, but will never be able to have children. She marries some other guy, and I never see her again.

Jacsun Shah: Because American society seems to be backsliding towards its old dominate-women-at-all-costs position, where women will not—in the view of powerful men and their subservient female cohorts—have reproductive rights, I have written “Timeline.” Such rights are, I believe, non-negotiable.

Jacsun Shah (M.F.A., Ph.D.–Creative Writing, University of Houston), writes poetry and creative non-fiction. She is a founding member of VBB, has received grants from the Houston Arts Alliance, and serves as the primary instructor for VBB’s youth workshops.

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