I quoted an extract from a poem on CiF earlier and I’ve already been asked where it came from/how the rest of it goes, so I thought I’d post the whole thing here.

I Don’t Have No Bunny Tail on My Behind: Alta

i don’t have no bunny tail on my behind.
i’m a sister of the blood taboo.

my throat’s too tight to swallow.
must be because i’m scared to death. i’m scared to live.
how do i get thru the day? the night?
guts, fella. that’s how

what are your perversions to me?
what do i care you want sadistic broads in black boots,
cigarettes up your asshole?
what do i care?
that’s our child sleeping in that blue crib

how did it feel:
that cigarette up my nose?
how did it feel?
you grimacing ‘does it hurt, baby? does it hurt?’
how did it feel to curse your pretty smile,
pray blindness strike you ice blue eyes?
how did it feel to curse: may you never know joy.
i hate your very soul.

i swore to avenge all the wasted dead, the caged wives.
what vengeance could answer our pain, our fury?
i hope i find out before i die.
in my cunt is blood & i always want it to be your blood.
i hope you bleed 5 days every month. i hope your strength drains down the toilet.

you’re afraid of me.
you laugh. you hit me.
you’re running scared, man.
our voodoo dolls are all worn out.

yes i hate you.
yes i want your cock

off.
yes i want your blood and balls to spill
like my monthly payment in blood.
yes i want you to beat off in shame,
afraid to call me.
yes i want you dead.
when i was married i prayed to be a widow.
there are still wives. they are still praying.

yes i want you to flinch when i laugh
flinch when i laugh
my teeth tearing your heart, knowing your love is poisoned,
you cannot wash clean,
knowing the earth & i will outlive you.
you are a dying breed, you & your penis guns,
your joyless fucks, you are dying,
you are dying,
the curse of every wicked witch be upon your heart.
i could not hate you more if hatred were my bones.

Published in The Penguin Book of American Verse (1983 Edition)

And yes, I do realise the irony of posting something with language and imagery as violent as this when only a few days ago I was criticising the hate in Bob’s blog. But Bob’s writing isn’t poetry, so there’s a difference.

Anyway, to another one of my favourites. Here’s Jan Beatty reading her poem Shooter:

And here’s Audre Lorde:

A LITANY FOR SURVIVAL

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive

Published in The Black Unicorn

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