Posts Tagged ‘Flarf Poetry’

So, in keeping with the feminist themes of my previous two flarf poems (Is She A Whore? and Women Can’t Write), here is another. This one was inspired by Catherynne M. Valente’s excellent post on the Christopher Priest scandal, wherein she points out that women are not generally allowed to get as angry as men without suffering worse social consequences.

Angry Women Are

What to do when a woman is angry?
More than anything, it’s time that we answer.
Women usually get the message
that anger is unpleasant and unfeminine.
(Women are often ashamed.)


The angry women
are sitting in Encorpera cubicles across the nation,
seething with rage
that following feminist directives has turned them
into control freaks, looking for an alpha male.
(Anger is unacceptable.)


Angry women screech about equality,
and ensure it is only you
who may one day be drafted.
(Anger hurts a female candidate.)


An angry woman, a she-monster melding
images of Medea, the Furies, harpies – see,
other women hate her. They see her as a threat,
a great big husband-stealing threat
in a semi-permanent state of panic.
(She is rarely welcomed.)


Angry women are angry.
Since when were artists,
especially female artists, required
to prostrate themselves and allow
people to verbally ejaculate on them?
(Don’t be angry.)


Why do women feel so angry?
Angry women are powerful women.
Angry women are sharpenin’ their knives.
Welcome to the age of female rage.


Angry women are right here and
we’re not going anywhere.


Another flarf poem, this one dedicated to and inspired by the #YASaves conversation on Twitter.


I Believe In Stories


I believe in stories.

Sometimes I am asked

if telling a story is really any different

to sharing a book with a child.


As a child I heard many stories.

I believe in stories in a live-and-die kind of way,

to keep the living alive, and the dead.

Stories that live and breathe.

Stories that are fruitful and multiply. That create stories

within stories.


I trust in stories. Storytelling is hardwired into our brains:

it dictates how we think,

how we understand the world,

and how we make people free.


I believe

that Rapunzel let down her beautiful hair.

I believe in stories, because they reach

to something realer than real.


I still don’t know whether I believe

in saints, angels, or a God, but I believe in stories.

The world has enough dogma.


I believe that you can’t hate humankind

no matter how vile it’s become –

and, you know, I believe in stories. Many of us

would be a fool without them.

I’m really getting into flarf poetry, and particularly the idea of writing feminist flarf. There’s a terrible sort of zeitgeist to typing provocative phrases into Google and boggling at what comes up, the things people write and the views they hold. Which isn’t to say I’m still not being selective about the lines I choose, or even that I don’t, from time to time, take only part of a sentence, so that it appears to laud what it formerly criticised: the point is that someone felt the need to rebuke that position in the first place, because someone else suggested it was true.

This piece was inspired by VS Naipaul and his spectacular literary sexism.


Women Can’t Write


According to baseline research, women can’t

create. It would be funny

if it weren’t so sad.


It is so much easier to type

using a penis –

no woman can compare to him.


Women can’t write good slash.

Women are not passionate enough about sex

and concentrate too much on feelings

to be able to write raunchy stories:

women think that the Kama Sutra

is an Indian takeaway.


Women can’t write emails for shit.

They send them back and forth all day

like they’re shopping for useless junk,

each one more useless than the last.


Women can’t write hardboiled crime.

Women can’t write hard SF.

Women can’t write fantasy books.

Women can’t write effective horror.

Women can’t write poems.

Women can’t write comedy.

Women can’t write believable male characters.

Women can’t write for anyone but women.


My lady sensibility is limited

to menstruation (hilarious),

babies (adorable),

and unicorns mating (adorably hilarious).


Drowned in oestrogen,

women can’t write for shit

so it might be nice

if there was an award they could win

without needing help

from affirmative action.

So, for reasons that have to do with how my brain works and are therefore largely inexplicable, I decided tonight to try my hand at flarf poetry. This is not something I’ve ever done before – it is, in fact, something I only learned about recently – so you’ll have to forgive me my small cheats at canonical practice. I have, for instance, spelled all the words correctly rather than leaving certain of them in their original state, because netspeak burns me and, on a non-pedantic note, because it makes the whole thing a bit more seamless; harder to see where the one quote segues into the next (or so I hope). I’ve kept references of all the sites from whence these lines came, but won’t post them here. I also typed the words in twice, picked and chose which bits to use: the first time without quotation marks, the second time with. I’ve put in a couple of full stops, colons and hyphons to shape the end-of-line grammar: but otherwise, the content is unadulterated.

Without further ado, then, here is the poem, titled after the words I typed into Google:


Is She A Whore


She’s a whore at fourteen, when she leaves the house

in a miniskirt, tights, and a low-cut T-shirt.

It’s her own fault

if someone grabs her in the park –


is she a whore,

who I’m trying to see as innocent?


Not only is she a whore, but I just don’t see

what guys find all that attractive

about her. Maybe

if she didn’t look so trashy and retarded…


Not only is she a whore whore, but she’s

an attention whore.

I wouldn’t call her a whore. She obviously

is troubled, genuinely seeking a



(rapport & comfort)


This is the worst kind of whore

because she’s pissing on love and respect.

You get the picture.

She’s got that crazy, hyper, coked-up

look in her eyes, because she’s thin and has big boobs

and is young, meanwhile

you are old and/or fat and gross:

guys look at her and

she ALWAYS says hi to them.


Is she a whore? Proverbs tells us:

she naively embraces

evil, and knows nothing.

She promises understanding, but

gives nothing but lies; and why

does she convert 10-year-old followers

into mindless slut zombies?


She makes a living based on her looks

and her sexuality:

is she a whore for that?


Honestly, does anyone know?

I am concerned

that I need to lock up my boyfriend

and take all of my holey fishnets

off the washing line.