Poems for Pussy Riot: Vox Populi (A poem for voices) by Steve Heighton

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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 Steve Heighton

 

VOX POPULI (A POEM FOR VOICES)

 

After the US and UK “idol” competitions of [2008]

 

We don’t give it to the frump

We don’t give it to the fag

We the voters speak in volume, we the people

decide——

We don’t get to elect too much this decade

in these kangaroo democracies

but we’ll pick our brand of bread our size of circus—

 

Idle republics balloting online

 

We don’t give it to the queen in kohl

with the cords to make love, live, to Freddy Mercury

in the glamrock afterlife Hall of Fame,                            

we give it to the boy next door with the four-four time and solid tenor.

We don’t give it to the spinster whose double chin

overlaps the larynx of an angel, we give it to the lynxes

the plausible blondes the plausible bodies

we the voters speak in volume we the people

decide——

 

Idiot kingdoms balloting online

Idiot dominions balloting online

 

America Britain Canada balloting, buying, buying in and

billeting deep in your thoughtwashed hearts

just the obvious, the facile, the ganz gemütlich

Canada you made me, now Canada

you make me

consider this:

                        the mediocre man’s

hatred of the marvelous (my own hatred,

my own envy)—so listen up, you two, you

runners-up, near-misses, pewter-not-gold-medaled

by majority decree, by the louder-

shouting swarm:

                            lay it down and own it the way you can:

you there, swagger, vamp and glam till we hear them

gnashing their fillings on Fox, and picture

a million indignant temple-veins throbbing—helplessly in time—

We don’t give it to the hag

We don’t give it to the fag

Too bad, too late, they’re going to take it.

 

 

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

Avoid using the word “pussy”: Charlotte Geater

Poem with Four Vaginal Walls: Mark Burnhope

Sheela na gig (deconstructed): Sarah Crewe

Dance of the Seven Veils: Alison Croggon

Skylined: Gareth Evans

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