I’ve posted this poem before, about a year and a half ago but I’ve recently re-discovered my love for it and also found I could share the audio version with you all. I was first introduced to it on Ani DiFranco’s live album at Carnegie Hall and fell in love with it immediately.
The image above is a wall hanging my sister made for me with the poem on it (obviously) but it’s also below as well as Ani DiFranco reading it.
I’m not entirely sure what it is about the poem that hits me, maybe it’s how I imagine myself to be or how I used to be… I’m not much for analyzing poetry even though I’m one for analyzing myself.
I’ve used the first line “Her words pour out as if her throat were a broken artery and her mind were cut-glass, carelessly handled” for quite some time on my livejournal and I’ve been thinking of incorporating it here somewhere as well, I love the imagery and it’s definitely how I think of my posts sometimes.
Ani talks a bit before getting into the poem, but this player doesn’t allow you to skip forward so you’ll have to listen to it to get to the poem, but I promise it’s worth it.
by Judy Grahn
Her words pour out as if her throat were a broken
artery and her mind were cut-glass, carelessly handled.
You imagine her in a huge velvet hat with great
dangling black feathers,
but she shaves her head instead
and goes for three-day midnight walks.
Sometimes she goes down to the dock and dances
off the end of it, simply to prove her belief
that people who cannot walk on water
are phonies, or dead.
When she is cruel, she is very, very cool
and when she is kind she is lavish.
Fisherman think perhaps she’s a fish, but they’re all
fools. She figured out that the only way
to keep from being frozen was to
stay in motion, and long ago converted
most of her flesh into liquid. Now when she
smells danger, she spills herself all over,
like gasoline, and lights it.
She leaves the taste of salt and iron
under your tongue, but you dont mind
The common woman is as common
as the reddest wine.