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Edited by Sarah Crewe & Sophie Mayer

 

 

Table of Contents Editors’ Foreword Sarah Crewe Performance Nia Davies Mossy Coat Amy Evans Scene Maria Gornell A Steel Kiss Sarah Hesketh The Adulterer Teaches His Wife to Swim Kirsten Irving Out on a Saturday, shouting at girls Mara Katz Race Against the Cure Rowena Knight Razor Melissa Lee-Houghton Sometimes We Fit Together So Good It’s Like Religion Agnes Marton RAT Sophie Mayer Ostrakoi Sally McAlister To Maria Alyokhina  

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Michelle McGrane A Girl Like That slmendoza he recalled the image of my thoughts Steph Pike We Will Not Be Deodorised Chella Quint To the Leaking Girl Nat Raha transfeminist political tract Shelagh M. Rowan-Legg Trodding the Boards Jacqueline Saphra Spunk Claire Trévien Scrapbooking 101 Jackie Wills Words for Women Alison Winch from All the Women I Have Ever Laughed With Organisations & Resources All work © individual contributors, 2012 This is an ebook edition of a 150-copy limited edition handmade run produced before the US Presidential Elections in 2012, to raise funds for Rape Crisis UK and the Michael Causer Foundation.  

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Editors’ Foreword

 

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performance carmela, he bought you a pear. it matches your hips. chimes with your womb in parenthesis. a guns scrapes the walls and the bathtub enamel. your silence is perfect. your acquiesce perpetrates a wife’s anonymity in the script. carmela, we are but reproductive serfs to their patriarchal empire. those bullet ridden boys protected you from shopping queues and welfare forms. wealth condemns you to heteronormative groundhog day. where are your books, where is your voice? carmela, the world’s a stage. the cut-throat beauty soaks up the punches for his cold dead mother. we are the back door hands. we are the cunts on seats. we are sewing the clitoral jewels on all the pretty dresses, the mops that absorb a man’s bile won’t glide by chance alone. carmela, we are internal dynamite. we dance to emma goldman’s tune. we are the whores whose blood is spattered on walls of gun penis envy dealings. your husband knows the drill and he wears it well. ignorance is romantic bliss. carmela, he bought you a pear. Sarah Crewe http://www.m58.co.uk

 

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Mossy Coat I wanted to live out of party-bags and dream daily in bread-making references. I wanted to write about haunted sties and brown trousers, the look of champagne on your face, the look of rate-nice/right-nice. I would write about sealing practices, I said. I wanted Ermintrude, or any woman by that name, to come to my party. I thought how I’d like pieces of his muscles to keep for the night, I wouldn’t waste them. And of course I thought about Mossy Coat. She singles out the bad men, the ghosts from the guests, hears Baba Yaga’s distant rumble. I wanted the bad man to come back and fetch me. I wanted a loom as a bed. I said my time with me should be limited. I wanted masochistic dressing-up mode. I wanted furlongs of him. And pussy was a word I could think about – Pussy Cunt / Mossy Coat. Or maybe a rap on the word sundress. I couldn’t think about ‘I’ anymore, it was bad for me, so I thought about him all dressed up like a pig-herder or a mountain lion. And about wedges and my moccasin-together-look with a heel, Look Pocahontas, Look! But I wasn’t sporting either. Instead I still hadn’t put my trousers on. I just thought about Mossy Coat and how she was a good role model for me. Especially for finding the right man and leaving him with the right shoe. I wanted Baba Yaga to come and eat me up. I wanted to come over as a nasty piece of work. Especially as a piece of work and also that he’d be shocked at what I’d become. Personality-wise, I wanted to be a mismatched underwear set. Certainly I was keen to become a burden.

 

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I can’t help the way I feel, I said, especially when it comes to spanking. And what would my mother think about what I’d become in the coat she made me out of moss. That fine, magic moss? I thought about death, briefly, but regularly, and not in a suicidal way. I have been managing fine by myself, I said to him. I only joke when I say I need you as my butler. Nia Davies http://niadavies.wordpress.com

 

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Scene SHE puts on her sonnet bonnet to find a hard bard ties ribbons to take them on the chin. Nods as if of eye — lash with sods she could plant in, stitched up in Oneday Best ward(of)robes, madness — material all a round she is made up

Amy Evans http://www.oystercatcherpress.com/aevans.html

 

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A Steel Kiss It’s cold tonight the moon looks down with a steel eye that refuses to melt. He wore a coat of flame stole the breath from my lungs followed my trail like a dog that claimed its territory. Promised to turn the world gold with a Midas touch that looks a bleak grey tonight a stiff corpse frozen in unfulfilled hollow words that echo a sound of suffering. He will sleep with the devil tonight; dream of a black mane and eyes of truth he cannot bear. A coward that took himself out of the equation and sabotaged his own evolution. Tonight he wears a coat of shame. The cold night covers him in icicles a steel kiss to his heart  

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and I keep on following the signs. Maria Gornell http://poetessmariagornell.wordpress.com

 

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The Adulterer Teaches His Wife to Swim — Trust me, he says. And she wants to. Wants to pulse into his arms like a fish wants to kiss away these names that linger small bubbles at the corner of her lips. Her feet disappear beneath her. The water, like a blade, detains the light. And it’s hard not to imagine his hands in her hair — getting the magic out Sarah Hesketh http://www.sarahhesketh.co.uk

 

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Out on a Saturday, shouting at girls Like a guardian dryad, bright against the trees of the clinic walkway, she would appear, hoisting her standard, its felt-tipped ‘Murderers! Close The Doors!’ in the same script as my birthday cards. Me being small, I would trot about the house in Thomas jimjams, or hunt Wally till she came home to my father’s roast. Mum would be hoarse and pink, would say to Dad: “Four of them today. One turned back. I think they’re starting to listen. Ron, it's horrific. One was sixteen. Sixteen, can you imagine? I woke up last night, thinking about them.” We bailed her out one time after the police caught her following a crying girl home, quoting and raging like a saint. It made the Echo: a quarter column. She kissed her husband and her lovely daughter, and we celebrated with tickets to see Danny La Rue, who was pretending to be a woman. Kirsten Irving http://www.drfulminaire.com A response to ‘Unto Us…’ by Spike Milligan

 

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Race Against the Cure When I was a child I learned not to let anyone I didn’t love touch my breasts. Before I grew them, I knew they were mine and the job was mine of protecting them. But breasts in my family are hard to take care of. My father’s mother met the woman her son would marry just once because of her breasts. Back then there was no cure. My mother sacrificed her breasts and was in pain for a year so she could live for my sister and me. You want to tell me whether I shall die like my grandmother or be cured like my mother all because I have breasts. With all your money, you don’t know what they’re worth. Mara Katz http://iamthemara.blogspot.com/

 

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Razor The rules were arbitrary, but sharp as steel; we let them be. We all wore satin boxer shorts, studied the changing room floor, and shaved. Tights were not an option, in the same way that gravity exists. My sister instructed me on technique, warning there could be no return; blunt hairs would only seem more riotous. Still I prized my cheap Bic razor, a golden ticket to anonymity. I triumphed over each little black snake. There was blood, of course, sometimes laddering my legs. But scabs served as badges, proof that I was trying. At eleven I was desperate to feel like a woman who has to cull the conflict of stubble, who searches for a child with a razor. 8/5/12 Rowena Knight http://www.nawe.co.uk/DB/young-writer-profiles/rowenaknight.html

 

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Sometimes We Fit Together So Good It’s Like Religion Baby, your slender feet didn’t fit my black platform shoes, you had to wear two pairs of socks in your army bootsI wore ripped fishnets. The sucker boys wanted you for those legs that stayed tanned all year round, straight and smooth like ice lollies, licked. I got into your combat pants with a gentle ease and slip of your buckles, your chains falling from your hips. We shaved our heads in solidaritytook mushrooms and wandered around the shopping precinct holding hands. Back then you loved a girl called Kitten, a promiscuous cokehead, who started a fight with me in a club. I didn’t mind you telling me you wanted her, I wanted you to experience many pleasures. You danced all night with Kitten in her silver skin-tight hot-pants. But in your bed, at home, often stoned, I traced your lamby hips and waist with my fingers, tried not to come on too strong in case you kicked me out. You were dripping with nonchalance, you were so hot you were a tremulous vision of godlessnessI had to win you. You often asked me to stop, in the tiniest, trembling voice. Stop. No. Please. Yesss. The way you lived, the way I experienced your body, living, wilddenied me the reality of your passing; I wouldn’t believe you’d gone. At the funeral your mother said she knew about me. I’d gone to the undertakers with my sister and couldn’t bear to touch your white hand which clutched a moist fresh pink rose. I felt your hard, dead body. I traced the heavy stitching to your groin, I fingered the scars on your arms, I wanted you to come back so I could soothe and soothe you again with my eager hands, my hot tongue freeing your magnificent body from its cosmologically unforgivable death. Melissa Lee-Houghton http://melissaleehoughton.wordpress.com

 

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RAT It’s not me who keeps nodding. It’s my friend, Jules, the puppet rat. Or Julie, sometimes this/that. Others don’t get their cin-cin. I repeat: “Yes, I’d love to.” Rat, washable, 30 degrees. “No, honey, sure, I don’t mind.” Can move its ears and tail fast. (cinnnnnnnnnnn) Unstoppable, strong throbbing. Jules sings lullaby, numb but alert. Full. Stop. “Shadow, repetition, self. Self, repetition, shadow.” “Hear colour and touch voices in blue.” Julie sings: “Grow thick veils. No access to your wounds.” Fine. Agnes Marton http://on.fb.me/LN1K8O

 

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Ostrakoi Sea-secret, once, in our marshy beds & now — you pick-axe crackers of cunt psephology strike rich with middens written right through in his name, our half-shells shattered on his granite as you dance the tarantella of the castanet dentata to jag and fragment. Argument: that we are cast as pearls before swine every time you prise us open. We can be poison (saline, iodine), we can be rough to the touch. Fuck your salt when you dance the tarantella of the castanet dentata and your shallots and your reductions, your lipsmacking gastro-fascism that would swallow us whole with a slip of the tongue. We are not yours to be eaten. We will (when you’re gone) be what remains and we’ll dance the tarantella of the castanet dentata Sophie Mayer http://www.sophiemayer.net

 

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To Maria Alyokhina In a thousand shades of green, I love to think about you beaming, cheerful, your almighty vibrancy shining through. A statement of vindication or a love letter Call it what you would love better I still poured my ink of silk on this abrupt paper, to honor your intense action, my dearest free-thinker. Every day I intend to pursue this political paradise you shouted and fought to initiate every night I sit and cry waiting for hope to arise Expecting repression to unbind your wrists now inarticulate. I believe I sometime heard you speaking of Brodsky, and as a bolt of lightning striking my mind, I saw clearly the insides of your soul depicting the roughs of this revolution, The Kremlin fading away to flowers and flames in slow motion. As my heart start to squall: “fear no more” Your stunning artistry is the only saint that I implore and as the orthodox memory smoothly melts our riot growls blossom into revolution bloom manifests. Maria, whisper it another time, this sovereign “PRAVDA” and I shall build walls around this oppressing sciences of religion Nasty Putin-tics can never lower the velvety melody of your voice as standing up for freedom and women was your ultimate choice. Remember that I will hold on tight as I remember that you will selflessly endure the power of villains will go down as you predicted, my astounding marvel, be sure. Sally McAlister http://www.thenerdyvirginias.com  

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A Girl Like That The newspaper report said the young woman was repeatedly raped, kicked, beaten within an inch of her life, while her mama cried behind the door. Two manly relatives decided to straighten her out once and for all, give her strong medicine down on her knees, the cheeky cunt had it coming. A girl like that, what did she expect? Shameful lesbian bitch brought dishonour to the family name, refused to come round to their way of thinking. Michelle McGrane http://peonymoon.wordpress.com/

 

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slmendoza http://ninerrors.blogspot.com/  

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We Will Not Be Deodorised take your shackles, your chains your violence, your rape we will not be bound by your laws, your lies your prejudice, your expectations your science, your biology your definitions of who we should be we create our own lives, our own worlds we make solid our own outlandish dreams we are free take your fashion, your body fascism your plucking and shaving your surgery, your plastification take your perfumed pants, your intimate wipes your scented sanitary wear we rejoice in fat and muscle and hair we stink of blood and sweat and piss we will not be deodorised we reek of the ocean deep hot hunger of our lovers’ cunts we will not smell of the sanitized chemistry of your misogyny you shoot us, sedate us imprison us, terrorise us refuse to educate us but still we speak out, sing out, shout out we will not be silenced, we are unquiet across centuries, across borders we rise up, we fight back we are dirty, we are brave, we are dangerous we are pussies. we riot Steph Pike www.facebook.com/spikepoet

 

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To the Leaking Girl Dear Leaking Girl, I love you. I love you, Leaking Girl, for walking down the hallway in a pale grey pleated skirt with a bloodstain on the back. I love you for throwing back your head in a way that should only give you whiplash but somehow doesn't, laughing and laughing and then flinging your head forward again, and then to the side to share the joke with your best friends. I love you for the butter yellow cardigan worn on your torso and not tied around your waist in a panic. I love you for the eye rolling as you wave over some more friends, and the hula-without-the-hula-hoop that you do to show them the back of your skirt. I love you for the chalk outline painted on with correction fluid around the stain in the shape of a dead girl wearing a pale grey pleated skirt. I love you for the arrow drawn in black sharpie and the scrawled caption: ‘Couldn’t you just die?’ And I love you, Leaking Girl, for all the kids pointing and laughing, for all the right reasons. Chella Quint http://www.chellaquint.com/ To The Leaking Girl was first published in the zine Adventures in Menstruating #6, 2006. All rights reserved.

 

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Nat Raha http://sociopatheticsemaphores.blogspot.com/

 

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Trodding the Boards The playbill is stapled to my chest COME ONE COME ALL CHEAP SEATS AVAILABLE INDEFINITE RUN The black lead ink of letters has soaked through to my veins weighing me down to a life of cleaning dirt with my tongue using my fingers as mousetrap bait knees perpetually chafed red Wrapped in plastic I await my master’s daily call Shelagh M. Rowan-Legg

 

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Spunk (after Epstein’s Adam) His cock hangs at half mast; it’s primed to score: rising, monstrous; nothing like those bland and flaccid members in rooms 3 and 4. Drunk on lust, pumped up with blood, he stands broad on his plinth and howls for cunt. Who'd dare to leave his call unanswered? This is where we find the source: that first, primeval sin: he forced an opening, she let him in. Later they wrote she asked for it - her pink, seductive flesh, the bruise and not the kiss. You ask who wrote those books: who do you think? Would you, with longing, spread your legs for this, bear more like him? It seems so far to fall. Must this man be the father of us all? Jacqueline Saphra http://  www.jacqueline.saphra.net

 

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Scrapbooking 101 I’ve got binders full of crusts I’ve got binders full of crisps I’ve got binders full of crotches I’ve got binders full of carbs I’ve got binders full of custard I’ve got binders full of class I’ve got binders full of Cousteau I’ve got binders full of Columbus I’ve got binders full of compasses I’ve got binders full of cupcakes, canaries, chicks, and cuties [but no bitches, hussies, ladettes, matrons, nymphos, old hags and nags, pieces, pinups, queens, shrews, wenches, or witches] I’ve got binders full of caterpillars I’ve got binders full of coral reefs I’ve got binders full of skinny dipping I’ve got binders full of kings I’ve got binders full of cretins I’ve got binders full of hymns I’ve got binders full of coat-hangers I’ve got binders full of cutlery I’ve got binders full of skulls Claire Trévien http://clairetrevien.co.uk

 

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Jackie Wills http://jackiewillspoetry.blogspot.com  

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from All the Women I Have Ever Laughed With Agnes The hammer of woodpeckers in factory skeletons is a flicked ruler on a school desk and the roots of beech trees are griffins’ feet. I chuckle like an elf at the small green of spring trees, at the chimney gods; we laugh until I feel her as myself, until the skidding excitement of the river is the colour of otters, and our thoughts loosen into the bronchial light of branches. Afterwards I run the dusk in my legs, chest, lungs. Run past the tiers of bluebells, the ghosted mill. Jagna Day six we found our Giggle Spot and flipped: drool, sweat, wind, spit, streaming laughter that didn’t stop – we were lost. Soaked. But in on the cosmic joke. Alison Winch

 

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Resources & Organisations! Organisations are UK, international or internet-based unless stated otherwise. Alliance of Radical Booksellers Members’ Listing: http://www.radicalbooksellers.co.uk/?page_id=6 Bad Reputation: http://www.badreputation.org.uk Bitch Magazine: http://bitchmagazine.org Center for Prevention of Abuse (USA): http://www.centerforpreventionofabuse.org Everyday Feminism: http://www.everydayfeminism.com   The F-Word: http://www.thefword.org.uk Feminist Fightback: http://www.feministfightback.org.uk Femmes en detresse (Luxembourg): http://www.fed.lu Gawaahi: Media for Awareness and Advocacy (Pakistan): http://gawaahi.org Gendered Intelligence: http://genderedintelligence.tumblr.com House of Brag (London Queer Social Centre): http://houseofbrag.wordpress.com International Transgender Day of Remembrance, 20th Nov: http://www.transgenderdor.org It Gets Better Project: http://www.itgetsbetter.org Make It Betters Project: http://www.makeitbetter.org

 

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Michael Causer Foundation: http://www.michaelcauserfoundation.org.uk News from Nowhere Bookshop, Liverpool: http://www.newsfromnowhere.org.uk Planned Parenthood (USA): http://www.plannedparenthood.org Positive Periods: http://bit.ly/periodpositive Rape Crisis: http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk Rape Crisis (South Africa): http://rapecrisis.org.za Southall Black Sisters: http://www.southallblacksisters.org.uk Twitter Youth Feminist Army: #twitteryouthfeministarmy UK Feminista: http://ukfeminista.org.uk Violence is Not Our Culture: http://violenceisnotourculture.org Women’s Aid: http://www.womensaid.org.uk/ Women’s Resource Centre: http://www.wrc.org.uk/default.aspx Women’s Resource Centre Members’ Listing: http://www.wrc.org.uk/membership/members_listing/default.aspx Look out for updates, and share your own resources & organisations, at: http://bindersfullofwomenspoems.wordpress.com