Disclaimer: I adore her. I hold an extremely biased view when it comes to her work. Which you can find here (youtube), here (official website) and here (Tumblr). I know there has been an influx of poems here lately, but bear with me.
I swear to God if I am, one day, even half as good as her, I will need nothing more in life. It’s best to listen to her perform that poetry herself. Which, for this particular poem, you can here.
This is about women in fiction.
Edgar Allen Poe said,
“The death of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world.”
Except I think that the most poetic thing is the dress that my mom wore in France when she was pregnant.
It’s yellowed with flowers, it stretched to fit her and shrinks to hold me now.
There’s a sonnet in each of my grandma’s old lipsticks, and all the coats that my aunt wears.
Another device in any piece of clothing deemed lucky.
In fact, the poetry is in my neighbor explaining how her parents survived a genocide that spoke four languages,
Or maybe the enjambment sobs in the shower, fruit aisle, and best friend’s car sinking through deep summer.
All our injuries rhyme.
From singing with a sore throat to a mattress heavier than god.
The freckle on my right palm, tracing every capillary popped on purpose and stomach caesuras.
Who else could place scars into genres?
I’ve seen better poems in rising bread than anything Bukowski dreamed of,
That Hemingway demanded, that Sartre petitioned for.
They can excuse scaring women for art, though if you are a scared woman they tie your art back to your crazy.
It leaks through the gallery.
Like it’s crazy how a couple of movies are worth more than children,
as if they cannot see the fingerprints on the film strip.
And I guess it’s a good song but that bass drum sounds like internal bruising,
We don’t dance to those at my house.
The violence of creative men is more of a burning library than a closed book,
and you choose what you want to read.
So I concur that picking graveyard dirt out of my nails is of highest literary value.
So, the most poetical topic is me, slumped on my desk, sleeping through every English class for the rest of the year after my teacher said he didn’t know of any female writers good enough to study.
No one, in that damned mob of scribbling women, was worth discussion,
since we were only supposed to be the flourish, the adverb
the stage he walks on,
the spit on his finger so he can flip a page,
and we can’t bite the hand that feeds us.
Can’t swat away pens that dip in our pretty corpses.
He sweats corn syrup and red dye and needs someone to hurt for him,
but I can stand straight without balancing them on my head.
I have always washed my troubles in extra mascara so they are defined in the spotlight, molded them to hold a rapier for the finale,
taught them how to speak from the gut even when you’re crying, even when the voice shakes, to project.
So all the women who ever pressed their thumb onto my cheeks can watch me live from the back row,
and the ghosts above the theater –
They can see us, too.
Okay, so right???!!!!!! So many things to say about this. Like “a genocide that spoke four languages”, “And I guess it’s a good song but that bass drum sounds like internal bruising” and just fkbkhsfhfbj dfhfdjkjkgbkj.
Feel free to discuss with me, at length, just how amazing this is.
Biology is also one of my favorites. It’s one of her lighter pieces. Brilliant. As is Hereditary. And Cheers.
Things That Could Happen To A Girl Wearing Jeans gives me all the warm fuzzies, while also reminding me how I have no friends. FUN.
Just everything she does, in general. I have a lot of feelings about her. Please share in my obsession.
P.S: If you did bother to check it out, how chill is her youtube space, though? I love it. Beautiful.
P.P.S: If I haven’t yet sold you on her, she was also part of a poetry trio called Poetpuff Girls. ’nuff said.
Rhiannon McGavin: Instagram