Poems for Pussy Riot: Avoid using the word “pussy” by Charlotte Geater

On 13 September, English PEN launched ‘Poems for Pussy Riot‘ in support of three members of the Russian punk band –  Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich – who are currently serving a  two year prison sentence. We will be posting poems dedicated to Nadezdha, Maria and Yekaterina in the weeks leading up to their appeal hearing on 1 October.

The following contribution comes from poet Charlotte Geater.

 

avoid using the word “pussy”

 

feminists it’s time to become angry
again! gingerbread women break your 
fists when they say
 
the punk rock girl band / stop bitching
whose name we can’t say / i call them bitches
on morning television / because they are bitches
 
three strumpets who will / holy mary mother of god
be pardoned soon
 
the girls are sinners, they’ve made their
choice against christ & real madonna
what pussies, when riots?
 
but which of you weren’t always angry –
who listened / stop bitching
little heart elbow patches               
                       
are used only because
they’re hard to take seriously.
everyone can be pussy riot?
 
but why presume / stop bitching
 
but the struggle as its own apart
but the struggles together.
 
the trampled tents laughing
i hate i despise / the empty church
& do not respect
 
your festivals / what if we had two
hundred thousand years more of this
 
& if you are not angry from before
these times / what riots
 
will you have had enough / stop
will you stop? pussy like most slang terms
(see also: cunt) an endearing name
 
for a girl / do not endear
when riots are / which anger is this

 

(http://charlottegeater.tumblr.com/)

© Steven Fowler, Poets for Pussy Riot

 

Other Poems for Pussy Riot posts

Poems for Pussy Riot – an introduction to the project

Soutien-Gorge: Ira Lightman

Vagina: Sophie Mayer

Song: Ali Smith

Abridged and Complete Biography of Olympe de Gouge: Claire Trévien

Women of the Year: Betty Doyle

Weapons of Minor Destruction: Sandra Alland

Our Glorious Leader Putin: Jack Underwood

Cat Power: Amy Key

 

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

View all posts by Cat Lucas →

One Comment on “Poems for Pussy Riot: Avoid using the word “pussy” by Charlotte Geater”

  1. Gagging Order
     
     
    Why make a word shape-shift
    past the redacting pen
    or go disguised on tippy-toe
    as Spring, if what is meant
     
    is the raunchy act graffitied
    by the railroad track,
    not all cerebral romance
    and slow hands?
     
    The name for female part is sprayed
    in bubble letters one foot high
    on public walls, but euphemised
    in print as rose or vestibule.
     
    Must woman hide round-vowelled
    earthy words with stars, recite
    with cotton in her mouth while asterisks
    stab her tongue like thorns?
     
     
    — Breda Wall Ryan

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