Ode on Periods

Bernadette Mayer

 
the penis is something that fits into the vagina
so's the tampax or sponge
therefore Aristotle never thought of women at all
the penis like a tree fits into mouth, hands and asshole too
it can be the subject of an academic poem
disguised as a sloop, catapult or catamaran's mastpole
never the monthly menstruation will she
belie tradition's bloody demagoguery enough
to appear in the rough in a poem in a monthly
I dream I had a deep cut on my finger
filled with a delicious tofu cake
and when you took off your clothes your penis
was among them hanging by a cord on a hook
I took it down hoping its disassociation from being
would not thus prevent its manly erection from existing
and therefore I tried it out and it went well
such as license as mine perhaps made it swell independent
I think the world is all fucked up in many ways (see footnotes)
and one of these is the apparent interdiction in dumb poetic tradition
of speaking of and being heard on the glories of sublime menstruation
I first got my period when I was twelve the day my father died
at least I knew what it was, some girls didn't then
we were told you can't go swimming but don't you wanna have
children
so much for confessionalism
I won't call on the moon like in a real poem
or anthropology or the bible or talk about being untouchable
or power etc. I've nothing at all to say but to exercise
my freedom to speak about everything
now that poems've got everything in them
even rhetoric and dailiness plus the names of things again
including flowers like the spotted touch-me-not
so inviting to hummingbirds
and I'm writing one
I'd like to mention or say blatantly
I got my period today
probably like nobody
certainly in the nineteenth century ever did
and if you really wanna know
most of us you know
all get ours on the same day no kidding
and we talk about it frequently and peripatetically
Alice with Peggy Peggy with Marion Marion with me me
with Anne
Anne with Alice Peggy with me Grace with Peggy Marion with Grace
So Friends! Hold the bloody sponge up!
For all to see!
 
From Another Smashed Pinecone by Bernadette Mayer, published by United Artists Books. Copyright © 1998 by Bernadette Mayer. Reprinted by permission of United Artists Books. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

First Turn to Me... by Bernadette Mayer
First turn to me after a shower
Kristin's Dream In November by Bernadette Mayer
I went thru the turnstyle to the party
Midwinter Day [Excerpt] by Bernadette Mayer
I write this love as all transition
On Gifts For Grace by Bernadette Mayer
I saw a great teapot
Poem [song birds take a bath in our elephant pool] by Bernadette Mayer
song birds take a bath in our elephant pool
Video: "Eve of Easter" on Public Access Poetry by Bernadette Mayer