It is actually the final day, and I’ve been pressing all the poetry out of me like jam out of a cake…or something. Over similed myself. These last pieces all need some reworking, so forgive me the bits that feel rough. In these last few poems it has been very woman based, I think reading The Crimson Petal and the White has set me off down feminist lines a bit. I actually stole a bit of the book to write this poem, the part when the prostitute strips her hands of her gloves in public, a totally unlady-like thing to do. But I precipitate myself….
A lady wouldn’t remove her gloves
In public, her naked fingers move inside the cloth
All touch trapped there, made soft
Gasping, fainting women
I’ve inherited your smiles
I’ve inherited your ideals, they were taught
From posters from films from papers
From school, from history, from books
I’ve learnt your poses, from music videos
From pin ups, from strippers, from soft porn
From hard core porn, from actresses and singers
A lady doesn’t display her ankles, petticoats must cover
Every inch down to her heels, she has no such things as thighs
Beneath her dress.
I’ve been taught your looks,
From magazines, from adverts,
From billboards, fromAmerica,
From my peers, with my sister,
From dresses, from underwear
From Ann Summers, from Moulin Rouge,
From France, fromAustralia
A lady doesn’t know about sex, and blushes
If you vaguely reference her legs, she doesn’t know
About prostitutes, STI’s, or education beyond dance class.
I’ve been stretched to fit your cut out
In gym, in belly dancing,
In pole dancing, in bed, in my head,
In my shoe size, in my life,
On Page three, on television
In Britain’s Got Talent and in the X factor
A lady learns how to be a housewife,
The head of a household which includes a maid
To stitch her into her corset of a day.
I’ve had bulimia anorexia self harm been raped
Abused by family members watched
The weight disorder of my mother balloon
Seen men explore jungles and women casually
Copied being a man to be someone I wanted to be
You know I’ve heard,
Ladies don’t exist anymore.