No immediate cause


–Ntozake Shange

every 3 minutes a woman is beaten

every five minutes a

woman is raped/every ten minutes

a lil girl is molested

yet i rode the subway today

i sat next to an old man who

may have beaten his old wife

3 minutes ago or 3 days/30 years ago

he might have sodomized his

daughter but i sat there

cuz the young men on the train

might beat some young women

lat4r in the day or tomorrow

i might not shut my door fast

enuf/push hard enuf

every 3 minutes it happens

some woman’s innocense

rushes to her cheeks/pours from her mouth

like the betsy wetsy dolls have been torn

apart/their mouths

menses red & split/every

three minutes a shoulder

is jammed through plaster and the oven door/

chairs push thru the rib cage/hot water or

boiling sperm decorate her body

i rode the subway


& bought a paper from a

man who might

have held his old lady onto

a hot pressing iron/i don’t know

maybe he catches lil girls in the

park and rips open their behinds

with steel rods/i can’t decide

what he might have done i only

know every 3 minutes

every 5 minutes every 10 minutes/so

i bought the paper

looking for the announcement

the discovery/of the dismembered

woman’s body/the

victims have not all been

identified/today they are

naked and dead/refuse to

testify/one girl out of 10’s not

coherent/i took the coffee

& spit it up/i found an

announcement/not the woman’s

bloated body in the river/floating

not the child bleeding in the

59th street corridor/not the baby

broken on the floor/

“there is some concern

that alleged battered women

might start to murder their

husbands & lovers with no

immediate cause”

i spit up i vomit i am screaming

we all have immediate cause

every 3 minutes

every 5 minutes

every 10 minutes



15 thoughts on “No immediate cause

  1. kabir gandhiok says:

    shocking, yet sadly true. thanks for sharing this and creating greater awareness on this issue.

  2. yeseventhistoowillpass says:

    Oh the humanity!!!!

    • Humanity is capable of many horrors such as the Holocaust, or beating a woman as badly she requires hospitalization. Humanity can also be capable of much kindness, compassion and generosity. Hugs, Barbara

      • yeseventhistoowillpass says:

        Hear Hear! Well said… Yet they always go back to their abuser as did the woman I went to help in Atlanta… Go figure..

      • They average going back seven times. They go back because of fear, more women are killed leaving than at any other time in their relationship. They frequently suffer emotional abuse along with the physical abuse. This leaves her without self-esteem, money, contacts. He would have kept her isolated from friends and family. No support system except with the women who work at the shelter. Hugs, Barbara

      • yeseventhistoowillpass says:

        Totally sad…

      • Violence in any form is horrible. Hugs, Barbara

  3. Resa says:

    Disgusting! Alleged? Hard to believe you are talking about America. It sounds like a third world prison.

    • I wish you were right. Domestic Violence has existed in America since the Mayflower. They brought it with them. Men have always felt they owned women and it was their right to punish them. It was legal to beat your wife fore correctional purposes as long as he used nothing thicker than his thumb. America, like all countries has been rife with violence against women and children. Hugs, Barbara

  4. sedge808 says:

    very shocking….

  5. You have described the fear so well. As I read it my fear became palpable once again! Excellent!

  6. Women should not have to live in violence and fear. Hugs, Barbara

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