Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down:
An Anthology of Women’s Poetry
Edited by Andrena Zawinski

Praise for Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down

"This book you hold in your hands is a garden of voices. Under the earth, the roots are entwined: mothers, daughters, sisters, artists, lovers, workers and mourners. They come to us from the deep shared earth of female experience, but they are as varied as wildflowers. Open it anywhere and you will find the indelible stamp of a woman’s voice and head and heart and life, caught on the page, alive." —Alison Luterman, author of The Largest Possible Life and See How We Almost Fly
"Forty-one women are unarmed but dangerous. They can change your life with clarity, truth and power in equal measure. These poets, from the literary culture of San Francisco, make up an album of rich fabrics combining the ordinary and the magnificent. Intimate details and heightened temperaments give us more reason to care about poetry."
—Grace Cavalieri, producer of The Poet and the Poem, Library of Congress

"I’m so grateful for the many treasures in this collection of poems by women writers, for the magic and beauty and energy and wisdom they bestow. The poems reflect such a range of styles and subjects, approached with such honesty and urgency. Each page brings a surprise, adds another voice to the chorus. It seems to me this community of women, these poets, are indeed keepers of the treasures of our so ordinary and yet precious individual human lives."
—Cecilia Woloch, author of Carpathia, Late,
and Tsigan
Contributors: Manja Argue, Barbara Joan Tiger Bass, Judy Bebelaar, Laurel Benjamin, Ruby Bernstein, Marianne Betterly, Susan Cohen, Antoinette Constable , Lucille Lang Day, Nanette Deetz, Carol Dorf, Gail Rudd Entrekin, Rebecca Foust, Grace Marie Grafton, Mary Grover, Nellie Hill, Christina Hutchins, Judy Juanita, Tobey Kaplan, Lynne Knight, Bonnie Kwong, Ellaraine Lockie, Trena Machado, Eileen Malone, Dawn McGuire, Janell Moon, Judith S. Offer, Evelyn Posamentier, Zara Raab, Gloria Rodriguez, Mary Rudge, Eva Schlesinger, Nina Serrano, Eliza Shefler, Jan Steckel, Patti Trimble, Jeanne Wagner, Lenore Weiss, Judy Wells, Cherise Wyneken, and Andrena Zawinski.

TURNING A TRAIN OF THOUGHT UPSIDE DOWN
(or What We Learn)

...as a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world...
                                     —Virginia Woolf

Under the bottlebrush tree the lovers sit,
circled by each other’s arms, all alone
right in front of us all
on our walks around the city lake,
their kisses blind to the afternoon
breathing down on them and us.

I think of my own first love,
how a woman can learn not to take
but to give, how not to gain a self
but to lose one inside another—
natural as breathing, to be in exile
under her own skin, colonized
without knowing she was occupied.

Long ago, women in my family
carried bundles of wash on their backs
down to the creek bed to scrub it all clean,
later balanced books on their heads
for good posture and the possibility
of a cover shot on a fashion magazine,
having been fed a diet of Cinderella,
Sleeping Beauty, the Snow White tales.

Just look at the statistics—how many
of us have sported the split lips,
bruised eyes, broken limbs,
how many assaulted and betrayed,
how many isolated and afraid,
our homes gone up in flames
from so many hearts afire.

Yet we have resisted and rebelled,
conquered enemies, negotiated peace.
We have also had our feet bound,
bodies girdled and gagged, some buried
beneath layers of cloth. We have been
overthrown, dispossessed, imprisoned,
enslaved, burned wholesale at the stake.

We have also been venerated and feared
as Congolese leading warriors into battle
with shields and spears, as Mongolians
riding steeds armed with bows and arrows,
as Seneca ruling the land and the clan
drumming and healing, as Balkans singing
in the company of women just for the song.

Some of us now build muscles in our legs
and take to running for the thrill of the race,
work them in our arms wielding swords
and wrestling whatever might confront us.
We grow strong enough to carry ourselves
to our own shade tree, dream beneath its leaves
in the kiss of our own breath, learn to love
ourselves deeply and with great abandon.

                                     —Andrena Zawinski