We got to matriarchy in the syllabus and patriarchy, and I said, you know, the whole idea of patriarchy and matriarchy portends something called ‘power.’ We might have had these women-centered homes, but it didn’t mean power. These women were not going out there cruising with some high powered jobs, making a whole lot of money, doing steak every night. So I came up with a term—you know teaching makes you do more work—and I came up with a term called diarchy. I said Black families were diarchal, most of them, in that you might have had a woman there, a mother there, but you had a grandmother, you had an uncle, you had some cousins in there. Diarchy happens when a family is under duress, under stress from a society.
That was important, so therefore if you move to diarchy, then you leave the whole arena that Moynihan is talking about matriarchy, talking about ‘these women are the cause for all the problems happening in the Black community,’ and you leave the arena with the men who say ‘well I wanna be a patriarch’ and I say ‘well dude you ain’t making enough money to be a patriarch,’ being facetious, but at the same time saying ‘you didn’t come up in a family like that; tell me about your family?’ Tell me about your family; how is your composition of your family? And everybody, most everybody, most of them had a diarchy; had nothing to do with a matriarchy or patriarchy.
by Marty McConnell
leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses,
you make him call before
he visits, you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.