Fast Speaking Woman [excerpt]

Anne Waldman

woman never under your thumb, says
skull that was a head, says
bloodshot eyes, says
I知 the Kali woman the killer woman
women with salt on her tongue
fire that cleans
fire that catches
fire burns hotter as I go
woman traded her secrets never, says
woman reversed the poles, says
woman never left America to know this
but she did, says, she did leave
woman combs snakes out of her hair
woman combs demons out of her hair
woman lies down with the cobra
     then meditates under cobra canopy
woman had a bone in her throat, says
was it yours? says
she admits she has a taste for you, says
     she痴 cannibal woman, Kali woman
woman痴 tongue once split in ten directions
one: I知 a savage woman
two: I知 the rutting woman
three: I知 the fire dancer with coal-black feet
four: Im the old-time thinker
five: poseur woman
six: I知 the redacteur
seven: auteur
eight: I haunt you with my songs
nine: I was the nun
     now I am bound by desire again
ten: I知 the cittipatti woman
     the dancing-skull woman
mouth is moving, says
skull-mouth moving, says
says these things
says terrible things as I go
mouth is gaping
tongue is bleeding
everywhere suffering, as I go
I知 the celebrity woman
I知 the luminary woman
I知 the standout woman
I知 the braggart woman
I知 the shrew at the window woman
I知 the stigma woman
the beaten woman
the disgraced woman
hag woman
where will I go?
who will have me?
water clean me
water clean me, as I go
I知 the camouflaged woman
I知 the assuaged woman
I知 the ravenous woman
I知 the Kali Yuga woman
high-pitched woman
not a trifling woman
hissing woman
I知 the woman with the fangs
I知 the woman with the guns
I知 the woman with tomes
I知 the hook woman
I知 the stolen book woman
fire that burns as I go
woman was in the world was walking
woman was singing sounding the day away
sounds like a cranky old machine, someone said
(that someone was a mean man, mean child-man)
but she just ignored the cranky old machine part
& went on her way
woman took her haughty self out of the sky
she had a nose that tall
how tall?
& stuck up it was
mincy mincy mincy mincy she cried
mincy mincy mincy
she was burning all right
her house (the one she carried on her head) was afire
From Fast Speaking Woman. Copyright © 1975, 1996 by Anne Waldman. Reprinted by permission of City Lights Books.

Poems by This Author

Pieces of an Hour [excerpt] by Anne Waldman
Allegorical Baraka by Anne Waldman
who would wake you up to
Alphabet of Mother Language by Anne Waldman
If Kali were a car, what kind of car would she be
Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment [excerpt] by Anne Waldman
Four Noble Truths by Anne Waldman
Lady Tactics by Anne Waldman
Manatee/Humanity [excerpt] by Anne Waldman
Matriot Acts, Act I [History of Mankind] by Anne Waldman
you no longer believe in anything
Peon, May I Speak Thus? by Anne Waldman
Stereo by Anne Waldman
The V of them by Anne Waldman
the v of them wind
Under the Sun by Anne Waldman
John Cage was a new or short or longer pause suppliant

Further Reading

Poems about Gender
by Andrew Hudgins
Children in a Field
by Angela Shaw
I, Being born a Woman and Distressed (Sonnet XLI)
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
by Mark Levine
poem in praise of menstruation
by Lucille Clifton
poem to my uterus
by Lucille Clifton
by Tracy K. Smith
Songs of a Girl
by Mary Carolyn Davies
by Michael Blumenthal
The Poster Girl痴 Defence
by Carolyn Wells