Tiferet Tifs: Resistance

We received so many wonderful Tifs from our community on our inaugural theme “Resistance.” Several were published in our summer issue. Here are some additional submissions for you to enjoy:

Flash vs. Slow Burn by Lea Page

I waken with sweat pooling between my breasts. I fling the covers back—I was cold when I went to bed—and pull my nightshirt up. I have only recently become reacquainted with a full night’s uninterrupted sleep. First, there were the sweet imperatives of my children’s need for milk, for a dry diaper, for warmth and reassurance. Then there were years when worry savaged my sleep.

And now, at night, my own body is making a claim, but I don’t know what it is asking for. I don’t know what it needs. Don’t get me wrong: I wouldn’t return to a younger time. We should all be born as fifty-year-old women, I often say. I wouldn’t trade in my hard-earned emotional equilibrium for a twenty-year-old’s body. I know, now, where to find the center between joy and grief. I know how to pace myself.

I lie awake, panting, wishing for coolness. If only there were a way to harness this heat, this energy. To call it up at will.

In the morning, I hang my nightshirt up to dry and scan my list of calls for the day. Yesterday, the EPA. Today, the border wall. I breathe. And dial.


Another four-letter word by Devi Laskar

These days our political resistance is measured by the number of telephone calls we place, the number of letters we write, the number of times we hound our congressional representatives on Twitter. We wear our pink-knitted hats and carry our posters from place to place, time to time, protesting what the politicians say and do.

After 120 days of the Trump administration, I cringe at the word resistance. The word itself is too polite for these times, too old-fashioned. I want a hip, modern word, something with attitude and grit, a four-letter word.

Thanks to the dictionary and thesaurus, I stumbled on this: DRAG. One of the alternative definitions of DRAG is wind resistance.

That’s perfect.

The Trump administration is nothing short of a desert storm, kicking up sand into our eyes and noses, shoving sand down our throats. But wind resistance, well that’s a whole new territory. With DRAG, I am part of an army of aerodynamic people creating my own superpower of withstanding this administration’s greed and lies, of staying strong like a skyscraper or an airplane when faced with adverse conditions. With DRAG, I’m using my voice and demanding to be heard.


Iowa Grandmothers by LA Felleman

Granny at the farmhouse table,
Upper Room open,
Bible beside it,
family’s breakfast on the stove.
Coming downstairs they’ll glimpse her,
head bowed on their behalf,
before she gets up to serve them.

Granny at the demonstration,
wearing a No Pipelines T-shirt,
holding a Water is Life sign,
refusing when ordered to disperse.
Her family views the arrest on TV,
knowing she’ll return to the protest next week,
she has the grandkids’ inheritance to think of.

“Tif” for Tiferet: Resistance by David Oates

Two days before inauguration, ten writers gathered. They were afraid, angry, disoriented. They wondered how to write; even, how to think.  Normal thought had been lost somewhere, and a regime of lies and fatuous greasy salesmanship was about to commence.

They began with whatever was familiar, intimate, felt in the body. They started to breathe.

They found their way to each other. To other writers and readers unseen – hundreds, thousands, uncountable. They entered a larger humanity, unisolated and capacious.

In time, they found a certain wildness that felt freer: the sun, the passage of time, beauty and ugliness. The absence of control.

Hope, they decided, was a state of mind, a commitment. They saw that every true word they wrote – true to life, true to emotion, true to beauty – was an act of resistance, an accession to real, though strange, power. All good work, they discovered, was resistance.

It was the human condition they faced. Not an aberration, not some shameful American problem: a human problem. Humans are fearful, stressed. It is hard work to care about truth. That’s the problem democracy can’t quite solve. Unless it decides it wants to.

We write to help it decide.

Sometimes it works.


Dirty Deals with Dictators, by Howie Good

It’s now a crime in Utah to harass cattle with drones. The really strange thing is that no one thought this was strange. They want to see the trapeze artist fall and the lion tamer killed. If we don’t protest, can it be assumed that we concur? The minute you saw people running, you knew what was up. Sweden had been attacked. There was a nasty bug going around eating them in Spain. This is our history, everywhere full of blood. Today there was even a shortage of coffins. So, you play The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” at a relatively low volume, pretending it’s from the military speakers 200 yards away.


On the Grounds of the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.,
International Women’s Day by Amy Pence

The relics are still here – Rodin’s Crouching Woman

her bronze form reduced, boxed

arching her neck, aching – a figment of herself.

Yoko Ono’s wish tree just near, denuded of leaves

& wishes.  I stand in front of a red gallery sign

the instructions to whisper my wish

rather than tagging the tree.

Over the wall, a fabricated box, stainless steel & wood

with 2-way mirror.  I step into some parallel room—

one I didn’t know existed.  Its about perception,

a woman says, floating near.  I don’t ask

where she’s from but take her photo

because she says, Im traveling alone. 

I want a record I was here.

I look at the digital image, the infinity of her

stretching across the dead grass.

Just weeks ago, women came with their men,

their children.  Packed this space with their steaming

bodies.  Their caverns inside maligned,

abused – in many countries, including this one.

Those afraid of this sex, which is not one,

seek to fill it with their violence.

Yoko Ono, I have wishes—  wishes to hang

from your tree.  We were multiple, we were one

enormous, yeasty body on the grand mall between

the Capitol & the phallic symbol of this country.

Yoko Ono, I hold my emptiness, stilled & yearning,

marching & hopeful.  All of art the empty

relics cast off by a civilization that didn’t understand

the multiplicity of its own beauty.

Yoko Ono, I hold 53% of white women accountable though

I may not recognize them on the street.

I hold the man whose name I also hold

accountable and will never embrace him.

Yoko Ono, I am bereft.  So few female sculptors here—

so few of color known, so few books by women

regarded, spines turned to sky.

Yoko Ono, we’ve been instructed to hate the self, to hate

the other.  We stand in parallel rooms—

among these relics, wishes

shorn.

Yoko Ono, across the lawn I see the Capitol Building.

A bowl or an urn turned downward.  And I ask you—how

much fury – how much time?  Though there’s a record of art,

when this vast body disappears.  We

were here.  We

were here.