Word Warriors

I am reading “Word Warriors” recommended to me by Andrea Gibson – an exceptional spoken word artist whose work I just discovered. It includes the poems/prose of 35 women in the spoken word revolution. Am really enjoying the writing of these renegade artists, many of whom describe themselves as self taught. The book is edited by Alix Olson and includes a forward by Eve Ensler.

My poem of the day from Word Warriors…

Book of Rules:
A Girl’s Guide to Doing What You’re Told

By Nomy Lamm

Part 1.

you don’t get to decide what you are
what happens is, you are nothing, and then you pop out
and the doctor says “boy” or else “girl” and that’s that.
for the rest of your life you are trying to be “boy” or else “girl.”

if you are lucky, you will be called a man
and you will feel like a man and everyone else will think
you are a man and you will do all the things that real
men are supposed to do and you will score lots of chicks.
then you will be on top of the world, the pinnacle of success,
a very powerful person. this is a catch-22 though,
because if you are called a man and feel like a man
and everyone thinks you are a man and you do all the things
that real men are supposed to do, then chances are
you are a fucking asshole and i hate you.

if you are called a woman and you feel like a woman
and everyone else thinks of you as a woman and you do all
the things
that real women are supposed to do, then you are probably

if, like most people, you lie somewhere in between or beyond,
then you are also probably miserable.
(tough life.)

Part 2.

The First Thing You Have to Do if You Want to Be a Woman Is Be Pretty.

this is simple.
To be pretty, all you need is to fulfill at least three of these
(a) a great tan; (b) long legs (two of them) (c) blonde; (d) perky
(e) button nose; (f) smooth skin; (g) slender waist; (h) stare
(i) you are a doll; (j) a shimmery lipgloss; (k) a can of diet coke;
(l) a short skirt; (m) be on television

okay, count your points.
don’t worry if you didn’t quite make it
being pretty is all in the mind.
do this exercise:
every night before you go to sleep,
look in the mirror and say
“please god, you can take away all my friends and family,
make me a moron,
send me to hell when i die, just please,
make me as beautiful as tori spelling.”
if you don’t want to look like tori spelling then too bad for you
because it won’t work any other way.
when you wake up you will be pretty.

Part 3.

your body is a whole entire beautiful magical universe
of its own, exactly right and perfect.
i know that this is not what you have been taught, but it is
The Truth.
how could anything so incredible ever be denigrated,
scoffed at, invaded, discounted, spat on, violated, ridiculed?
your body is magic.

what you are thinking now is:
why was i told to look at charts, diagrams, scales
and teen magazines to tell me what is wrong with me?
why wasn’t i told to trust myself?
why did they make me feel like a horrifying ugly
pathetic puking loathsome monster,
if the truth is that i am magic?

as woman, you must learn to identify as an object.
you must learn to be objectified, made ugly and disgusting,
but not in a way that is powerful or frightening to them-
you will be made ugly in a putrid, rotting way.
your soul is the first to rot.
then your heart, then your mind, then your flesh…
whatever is left is the magical part that will live forever.
this is the part of you that is eternal.
your silicone implants.


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