News Poetry: I’ve been called names

Timothy Krause photo
Photo credit: Timothy Krause, Creative Commons, Flickr

I’ve been called names,
unhinged, wacko names,
un-American and treasonous.
The angry mob.    Evil.
I’ve been called evil.

I incite Hondurans to walk
a thousand miles for refuge.
I’m hunger, nights on the ground.
The steps I didn’t step yesterday
I wish to donate to mothers
who push the stroller,
hold the 5-year-old’s hand.

My borders are open.
Lady Liberty in New York,
I’m the harbor, I light the torch.
I’m the poem at her feet,
the tired, the poor.
I am that woman.

Some call me weak, low IQ,
a nasty woman, a bimbo, a dog,
a fat pig.  I’m a gold-digger,
a horseface. I’m highly overrated.
Miss Piggy, Miss Housekeeping
I’m no longer a 10.

Hands hold me down, grab
at my privates, cover screams
that rise through my mouth.

In the men’s locker room, lips curl,
I’m the drunken laughter.
I’m blood coming out of my eyes,

out of everywhere.  Every morning
the sounds of sticks and stones
break like bombs.   No longer
am I able to lie down.  I stand.
High or low, I’ll give it back double.

Harriet Stratton’s degrees in Housing and Design, CSU; BAE, UNC; and Masters in Art Education, RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) led her to teach Art and Art History in Cherry Creek Schools in Denver for 25 years. Retired now, she practices what she taught. Native of a Colorado ranching family she’s also lived in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana; Providence, Rhode Island as well as abroad in Quintana Roo, Mexico where she designed and built a grass-roofed house on the sand of Tulum Beach. She’s a member of the Poetry Collective at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver where she works on a poetry manuscript. In addition to reading and writing poetry, she loves to walk in the wild listening to birds.


  1. I was expecting more in dealing with the “people” of the caravan and not a critique on Donald Trump. And the threat of “.giving it back double” does nothing in healing the wounds of divisiveness.

  2. Harriet is a talented wordsmith and artist. I love her work! This is a powerful piece, and speaks to the people who are suffering from the disdain and the bullying and name-calling that is being condoned – promoted – as a direct result of the insufferably negative posturing of Donald Trump. The wounds of this divisiveness will not heal as long as he stays in ‘power’ with his decisions and false promises growing, unchecked by those who oppose him and those in his own party who are too afraid of him to act.

  3. Harriet, you told it like it is – powerfully defined! The pen is mightier than the sword! Congratulations, Evelyn

  4. I love everything about this poem–style, content, slant message truly delivered. Harriet Stratton’s considerable poetic skills come to forefront here, and no one can walk away from its message untouched.

  5. one should read poetry with an open mind, without expectations. How can you ‘expect’ a person to write what you want to read, rather than write how they feel?
    I would encourage you to write, so you can read what you expect

  6. This poem is marvelous. Creative and thought-provoking. Art has always been an important tool to preserve history.

  7. Such a poignant and timely poem. Women who speak out in the name of justice and mercy can expect to be called names. Thank you for naming this.

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