Slut

He slapped me across

The face once,

And then again, straight away.

Pulled me up by the scruff

Of me collar.

Squared up and got

Straight up in my face

Forehead to forehead.

‘You’re a dirty little slut’

He spat through his teeth

at me.

And then he kissed me

And I liked it.

And I wrote it down

Unashamed.

Men who write

He once said that

Men who write poetry aren’t manly.

He lived by an arbitrary ideal

Of tall men, strong men, silent men.

All the flowers and fauna and feelings

Are for girls.

Yet disappointment

At the unachievable

Plagued him.

As if the canon has not been defined by men.

By Shakespeare and Wordsworth,

Coleridge, Byron,

Blake, Shelly, and Keats.

By Joyce and Yeats,

And Kavanagh and Heaney.

And Whitman

And Eliot

And Pound.

Poetry is a woman’s game for sure

And his toxic masculinity

And fear of poetry

Has nothing to do

With his inability to verbalise

The disappointment he felt

Having never reached the ideals imposed

On his gender.

Don’t dance, don’t speak out, don’t feel small.

Society regulates us all.

Self-respect.

My self respect

Is not around my ankles,

I’ve kicked it off.

With me knickers.

How fucking dare you equate

The number of people I’ve rode

With the level dignity I demand?

And what is the acceptable number

I should confine myself to

To make you happy?

How is it right that I could fuck one person twenty times

But to fuck twenty people all at once would be a disgrace?

Saying important shit

I’m too coarse to be a poet.

Like Polaris keratosis

On me arms in summer

And my skin just outta the shower.

I want to easily articulate the

Innate truths and fundamental

Universalities of the human

Psyche.

But my tongue is too heavy

And my accent’s spattered with cunts and fucks.

How am I gonna escape the escape, the system of inequality

That relegates working class women’s opinions,

That regulates what we say and how we say it.

What if I don’t talk like a nice lady?

Paint me like onea your Clontarf girls.

Is it so cliche

To want flowers to bloom

From my empty mouth?

Stick fingers down my throat

And try to fish the rainbow out

Make that almost vomit noise.

I ache under the weight of

My contemporaries words.

I eat, sleep, and breath cliche.

My pre-used and once loved words

could never expose the inner workings of the working class experience.