SARAH SOPHIE FLICKER
SELF-IDENTIFYING WITH A HYPHENATE HAS BECOME DE RIGUEUR, WHICH MEANS SARAH SOPHIE FLICKER IS “ON TREND.” ONLY, INSTEAD OF SELECTING A POPULAR DESIGNATION – LIKE SINGER-ACTOR OR REALITY TV STAR-SHOE DESIGNER – SHE BRANDS HERSELF AS A FEMINIST-MOTHER-ACTIVIST. AND THIS IS ONLY ONE OF HER COMPLICATED CLASSIFICATIONS; SHE IS ALSO A
These ostensibly incongruous sketches intersect in Sarah’s work as a founding member of the political cabaret group The Citizens Band; as a partner in the directing team The Belles of the Black Diamond Field; and as a co-founder of The Department Of Peace, Lady Parts Justice and more – an oeuvre that succinctly expresses what trite terminology fails to capture: the prodigious way in which Sarah has turned her passion and desire for an honorable world into action.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY?
I was born in Denmark and spent my early years there. I remember sticking a yellow bead up my nose and going to the emergency room to get it out. I remember how high it went and how hard it was to retrieve it.
WHAT DO YOU DO BEST?
Speak my truth.
IF YOU COULD RELIVE A DAY OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Each of my three births; the three best days of my life. Birth is hard, painful, exhausting, but also the most empowering experience of my life — and filled with more love than I could have imagined.
A QUOTE YOU LOVE?
"We have to endure the discordance between imagination and fact. It is better to say 'I am suffering' than to say 'This landscape is ugly.'"
- Simone Weil
A SUMMER MORNING SONG
A SAD SONG
A RECENT INSTAGRAM POST
A badass doctor's answer to Texas' draconian anti-abortion "informed consent" law: In Texas, abortion doctors are required by law to perform an ultrasound and display and describe the image to their patient before the procedure.
YOUR LOVE WHEN YOU WERE 16
WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL VULNERABLE?
Vulnerability used to scare me. Now I see it as brave and honest. I am at my most vulnerable with people who make me feel safe and whose safety I fight to protect: my husband and children, my girlfriends. Vulnerability is freeing because you are at your most open when you have dropped ego and defenses. It's a really beautiful place to reside.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 20-YEAR-OLD SELF?
There is no "right" way to do anything. There is no path to follow other than your own truth. You know so much more than you give yourself credit for.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CURSE WORD?
AN IMAGE THAT WAS ON YOUR WALL AS A TEENAGER
A PERFECT STYLE MOMENT
A SONG FROM THE FIRST CONCERT YOU ATTENDED
My parents took me.
A SONG THAT YOU'RE EMBARRASSED TO LOVE AS MUCH AS YOU DO
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR MOST ADMIRABLE VIRTUE?
I value honesty. I speak my truth, even when it makes me uncomfortable. I'm still working on it.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST IRRESISTIBLE VICE?
Probably fashion. I love to dress up.
WHAT IS THE BEST RISK YOU'VE EVER TAKEN?
Becoming a mother.
WHAT JOB WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DOING IF NOT THE ONE YOU DO?
I have so many jobs that I never feel like I get to do any of them enough!
WHAT IS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
Reading is something I miss; three kids make it hard. I finally finished "The Untold Story of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free" by Hector Tobar. I also loved "All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood" by Jennifer Senior.
A SONG THAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU CRY
THE LAST SONG YOU LISTENED TO
Probably some shitty pop song that my kids love.
YOUR FAVORITE FEMALE CHARACTER
I can't stop thinking about Nina Simone. The documentary about her is everything.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE POEM?
I love so many poems I could fill a book with them.
ENTERING THE KINGDOM
As the boys bones lengthened,
and his head and heart enlarged,
his mother one day failed
to see herself in him.
He was a man then, radiating
the innate loneliness of men.
His expression was ever after
beyond her. When near sleep
his features eased towards childhood,
it was brief.
She could only squeeze
his broad shoulder. What could
she teach him
of loss, who now inflicted it
by entering the kingdom
of his own will?
LET AMERICA BE AMERICA AGAIN
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.
O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!
one thing i don't need
is any more apologies
i got sorry greetin me at my front door
you can keep yrs
i don't know what to do wit em
they dont open doors
or bring the sun back
they dont make me happy
or get a mornin paper
didnt nobody stop usin my tears to wash cars
cuz a sorry
i am simply tired
i didnt know
i was so important toyou
i'm gonna haveta throw some away
i cant get to the clothes in my closet
for alla the sorries
i'm gonna tack a sign to my door
leave a message by the phone
'if you called
to say yr sorry
i dont use em anymore'
i let sorry/ didnt meanta/ & how cd i know abt that
take a walk down a dark & musty street in brooklyn
i'm gonna do exactly what i want to
& i wont be sorry for none of it
letta sorry soothe yr soul/ i'm gonna soothe mine
you were always inconsistent
doin somethin & then bein sorry
beatin my heart to death
talkin bout you sorry
i will not call
i'm not goin to be nice
i will raise my voice
& scream & holler
& break things & race the engine
& tell all yr secrets bout yrself to yr face
& i will list in detail everyone of my wonderful lovers
& their ways
i will play oliver lake
& i wont be sorry for none of it
i loved you on purpose
i was open on purpose
i still crave vulnerability & close talk
& i'm not even sorry bout you bein sorry
you can carry all the guilt & grime ya wanna
just dont give it to me
i cant use another sorry
you should admit
you're mean/ low-down/ triflin/ & no count straight out
steada bein sorry alla the time
enjoy bein yrself
A PERFECT PICTURE
WHY IS FEMINIST A BAD WORD?
It's not a bad word.
WHY ARE GIRLS AND WOMEN SO CATTY WITH ONE ANOTHER?
Adrienne Rich spells it out here:
"Women have been driven mad, 'gaslighted,' for centuries by the refutation of our experience and our instincts in a culture which validates only male experience. The truth of our bodies and our minds has been mystified to us. We therefore have a primary obligation to each other: not to undermine each others’ sense of reality for the sake of expediency; not to gaslight each other.
Women have often felt insane when cleaving to the truth of our experience. Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake, beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other."
WHAT DO YOU STILL LOVE ABOUT NEW YORK?
I love raising my kids here. I love that they aren't isolated to just our community. It would be easy for them to be blinded by their privilege. I love the human connection on the streets and on the subway. I love the seasons, even when I hate them. I love that my kids won't have to drive as teenagers (and I won't have to stay awake worrying that they are drinking and driving). There's still a lot to love here, but we certainly have to fight to keep it real.