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 <http://keepitsugarless.tumblr.com/post/55907814125/feynman-in-translation&gt; (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.