Menopause and the Juicy Red Bloody Mess

Menopause: Red Flower of the Last Blood, a Poem by Nina Serrano

Isadora, drawing by Nina Serrano

Isadora, drawing by Nina Serrano

Today’s women’s movement brings menopause and menstruation into the global conversation about life, health and sexuality.  This poem describes the experience from the inside from my personal female perspective.  And Jack Foley‘s commentary takes this over the top, adding a male response that men need to know this. This dialogue between them is the subject of  the radio broadcast excerpt of Open Book: Poet to Poet Series, KPFA-fm of Nina Serrano presented here. She reads her poem “Red Flower of the Last Blood” from Heart’s Journey, Selected Poems 1980-1999 (page 8) followed by poet and literary critic, Jack Foley’s commentary.

Here is the poem:

Red Flower of the Last Blood

For Dena Taylor, who rethought menstruation

I miss that juicy wet
bloody mess
that made me stop
and deal with my body
even through days of bloating, cramping, blood and desire
Hanging on to the galloping mare of emotions
by the tail, the neck or the bridle
even when jumping fences
forging rivers or flying over the moon
That wet juicy
bloody mess
that created a bloody mess
on panties, nighties, and sheets
even left stains on the white dress
and chair
That wet juicy
bloody mess
that sent me for rags, factory made pads
and even irritating tampons that could bring disease
Causing me worries till it appeared again
–to swallow pills
insert jelly covered diaphragms
and even the deadly Dalkon Shield
that made for a hospital stay
That wet juicy
bloody mess
whose absence led down the frightened path
of illegal abortions
littered with pain and guilt
That wet juicy
bloody mess
tied me to the lunar calendar
Now I submit only to the sun and stars
the hot flashes they ignite
of smoldering aspirations
volcanic revolutions
and mellow rebirths

July 21, 1989, Managua, Nicaragua
© Nina Serrano, 2013 

About Nina Serrano: Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 82 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to ninaserrano.comor contact her publisher at estuarypress.com. For more detailed information about Nina see About Ninaon her website.

About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of various social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, paulrichards@estuarypress.com or visit estuarypress.com for more details.

MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577; paulrichards@estuarypress.com

 


Comments

Menopause and the Juicy Red Bloody Mess — 3 Comments

  1. Powerful, visceral, conspiratorial poem — I will remember this for a long time! Thanks for capturing the physical/emotional moment so exquisitely, Nina!

  2. Dear Elaine, What is interesting about this poem RED FLOWER OF THE LAST BLOOD is that you were the first person to ever hear it – read it – in its very first draft. I wrote it in Managua – at a restaurant or bar – very low light, partying and dancing going on all around me. We were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution in 1989. Probably at that time in your life the poem didn’t have as much impact. So much depends on the right time and the right place. We have been lucky to have shared and enjoyed so many grand adventures together.

  3. Pingback: About Estuary Press Publishing - Harvey Richards Media Archive

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