By Lani Ka’ahumanu
The Mothertongue Feminist Reader’s Theater formed in 1976 out of the Women’s Speakers’ Bureau at San Francisco State University. Scripts were collectively composed from life experiences of members and women in the San Francisco community. Every performance ended with a performer/audience discussion where we’d sometimes collect new pieces for the script. I wrote and performed with this group from 1977 – 1994. Mothertongue is still active.
Following are two pieces from “Did you come or fake it?,” a women & sexuality script which was performed from 1981-1994; and one from “Body Image,” another Mothertongue production.
One day when I was 9 years old
I dashed into the house and ran down the hall
concentrating on getting to the bathroom in time.
I opened the door
and plopped onto the toilet
just in the nick of time.
It was then that I noticed my startled mother
in the bathtub
trying to get her legs down from the wall
turn off the water faucet and
pretend I hadn’t caught her doing anything at all
out of the ordinary.
I knew that look;
I had had it many times my self
But this time the tables were turned.
I don’t remember anything being said
I flushed and ran out to play
For the next few nights my bathtub routine
was full of experimentation
… it wasn’t too long before I figured it out
Pat Sherman as told to cousin Lani © 1988 Lani Ka’ahumanu
Several years ago, on my 15-year-old daughter’s invitation
We spent a Sunday afternoon in bed
Snuggling, massaging and talking about sex
Orgasms, masturbation, the problems of oral sex and braces
What we did, what we liked, who we’d been with
Questioning, answering, laughing and just loving one another
She’d tried everything she was interested in but intercourse.
She and her steady beau took turns having orgasms!
She told me she felt it was time; she wanted to go all the way
They had already talked about birth control, and had decided
abortion would be the back-up in case of failure.
We went from amazement to shock, unable to believe we were
talking with each other like that.
I lent them my home for a day and night.
It was a first time with no guilt, no shame,
no fear of discovery or time limits.
That’s a freedom we all deserve.
© 1982 Lani Ka’ahumanu
Lani is an elder activist, author, poet, educator, and grandmother. She is regarded as the strategic political architect of the early U.S. bisexual movement.
Featured image source: mothertonguefeministtheater.org/