woman, reciprocally: i write this through ‘woman’ for Maya Angelou

woman, reciprocally

Inasmuch as I am a woman
Much as in woman is an ‘I’

I speak with a woman’s voice
A woman’s voice speaks me

A woman is a universe of atoms
A woman is an atom in the universe[1]
The universe is an atom of woman
An atom is a universe of woman
An atom is a woman’s universe
The universe is a woman’s atom

A woman is within and beyond
Beyond and within is a woman

She speaks this poem to me
I speak this poem to her
She is speaking through me
I am speaking through her

A woman is not woman and woman is not a woman

(Eavesdropper what are you here buzzing
along a perch in? Sing sing your analysis
of that womanly phenomena called universe,
your atom of wisdom ‘I’ spoken sweetly through
as Mississippi. Sing sing a lullaby
eavesdropper to awaken whom. Woman is a big song
to sing us through, sing us through, sing
us through. A woman slips right through you
beyond and within a big big song as whom.)


[1]Ella J. Chappell, “Feynman in translation”, available at <; (accessed 13 May 2014).

Mr. and Mrs. à la Lorina

I Miss Tutsan Tormentil blame the bellowing below:

Mr. Midwife Pulls the Trigger

Put your ear to my
abdomen. From there you’ll pick
out bloody poems.

Parrot an art, cruel
romantic. With your knock-off
Dylan Thomas voice

and too tight jeans you
say my body back to me
casually. Recite

your lists of this strange
trauma not yours. I hear a
violence and re-wound

you put into fine form
and with a post-modern glint
elegise my rape.


Mrs. Holds-the-Reins

How you pursed your lips,
held your nose high in the air,
smiled with a shark’s sense

of censorship, put
good table manners (elbows
off) before people,

before love – always
obligation was your watch-
word, Victorian

matron version of
Tony Blair circa ninety-
seven. Argentine

exile raised by nuns,
your hauteur was an act of
terror. I lay at

your smartly-shod feet
all my prudery, things the
Man hates and loves in

we. Saddle me up
and fit the muzzle tight, I’ll
live your legacy.

she slips in

drinks slips widdershins white shins soon

fins rill fills frills swim skin still smells lily

limbs skim stickle stems slim flimsy slimy

skin swims frilled shrinking wrinkles

ontheblinks winking water wafts

willowthewhisperwise blackwards

winnowing winding minnows mink-clinks

milky skin stills smells inky rank sinks

wakes to kids chinking kitchen sink

Ophelia’s Wikipedia Lookbook in Three Glances

How you begin sitting, flowered,

hands to your hair like a Loréal ad,

poppied, daisied, grey dress creased

before a zigzag of lily pads.


Of a sudden blonde, in blue and pink

under willow fuzzed dusty, spot-lit.

You’re sat on the surface like it’s

an ice chaise longue. Not convinced.


Last the grey under your jaw tells

how greenly keenly cold it is. What the hell

Hamlet/Everett, let me out. Skirt swells,

then oddly flattens to hold more petals.


This project is an exploration of women, art, hysteria – primarily in poetry.

‘I’ am a particular constellation of photons named Tutsan Tormentil. ‘I’ am a woman, an artist, and a hysteric.

Tutsan – tout sain – tous saints – tes seins – tut tut

Tormentil – tormented – torment, ill – torment, I’ll

Arthyster – artist, hysteric, sister – the madwoman in the studio  (I am and have a sister, her name is Toril)

Palimpsextette – palimpsest – pal, imp, sexy – pale limp (weaker) sex – ~ette – tête

Voxenglyph – vox (clamantis – clematis), vixen (sexualised) – glyphs – griphs – english – a voice in code