Poems for Pussy Riot: Weapons of Minor Destruction by Sandra Alland

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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 writer, intermedia activist and performer Sandra Alland. Her work has been published and presented throughout North America, the UK and Europe. She currently collaborates with Y Josephine in the multimedia performance troupe, Zorras, who have performed widely throughout the UK. 

 

Weapons of Minor Destruction

 

“All the people like me/

are thanking all the people like you.”

– Eileen Myles

i/
 
She tells them/ quiet:
 
I practise

my tears
no fear
my scowl 

my laugh                                                 

even in my passport photo.                                        
 
Even in my mug shot.
 
Thank you for the cake.                                             
All the people like me / are thanking
all the people like you.           
 
ii/
 
We’re patched together daily
by hands both Pakistani and Scottish.
 
For eight days we’ve been searched
and split/ me
to a windowless room
 
her to show the jury her soft-shoe.
Her soft-
est parts.
 
at night
Greek music
Polish food
Spanish weed
 
Plates balance like justice in the waitress’ hands.
When I say justice I mean relief.
 
iii/
 
On Princes Street they’re recruiting
teenagers to kill Afghans
and the prosecutor asks me:
What language were you speaking
when he attacked?
 
I speak as dream-self in the courtroom,
draped in/ skirt, earrings, blouse,
girlish charm.
The brief power of Anglophone eyelash
batted from white face.
 
I can’t breathe but I tell my love:
Dinnae nivir give up.
It’s from the text our
Glaswegian trans friend sent
and I figure she knows
the archeology/of
hope.
 
Aye, says my love/ meaning yes.
 
Aye.
 
Her Venezuelan tongue
baptizing the word.

 

 

 

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

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