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Love in a Handful of Dust: a word about cunt
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a word about cunt

a word about cunt

by kirk ramdath

my mother was angry
because i said
kissing the cunt
in a poem —
no trinidad word is more vile
than cunt
my mother felt shame
she prayed to the lord
for my soul to reclaim
her anger was no surprise

another woman,
activist, friend,
militant enemy of military states
who deconstructs gender
and runs nazis out of town
before weekly servings of food, not bombs,
she stands in punxylvania backyard
next to a broken trampoline
a distance from me
that is conscious
a tension that is taut
she says,
you are a man,
and it’s not right
for you to use that word

her objection, she explained
was not to the context
or to the cunt in text
not to the poem
but the poet
not to the words
but the man
not to this man
but every man —  
cunt was a nuclear warhead
obliterating the words
that framed the micro-second burst
of a single syllable
cunt gave birth
to a cosmic vacuum —  
the black hole of
a word so powerful
other words turned
to dust and shadows
in its presence

i’m no cohen, no sheri-d
go read them
if you don’t believe me
the history of the texts that save us
declares that words are free —
we go backwards to object
not to what i say
but to my right to say it
there is no middle ground
between democracy and tyranny
there is no revolution
when words are not free
just because i am a man
does not make me guilty
i don’t speak for other men
no other man speaks for me
original sin in any form
is a bullshit mythology —
give me paradise
with no traps or blame
we are pure at birth
because god is pure
and if there is no god
we are pure at birth
because flesh is pure
as leaves of greenest tea —  
boil the water, fill it up
the cup of life is always full
and all may drink
the sound of truth
is a voice in every mouth
the enemy is not at the walls
the enemy is the walls
made to stop the flow
of knowledge, truth, and words

i don’t know what it’s like
to have my lover hit me
again and again while i cry
and beg not to be hit
by someone i love
i’ve never been raped
or found the strength
to fight for justice in court
only to see my attacker go free
i’ve never been followed home from the c-train
late at night
heart beating faster and faster
till i have to run –  
these are not stories i saw on tv
or read in magazines
about a continent
the distance of a statistic away
these stories belong to my friends
women i love
not in abstract ways
but with fire
fire that fuels anger
that makes the sad heart reel
makes the gut rot with acts
so wrong they must be hidden
invisible seeds of violence
woven into silence
no one wants to know
when it’s so easy
not to know

imagine this world
with no war,
no poverty
no violence against women
no oppression of minorities
a world with the freedom
to love who you want to love,
to live where you want to live
no refugees
but for all people a refuge
no need to move away from home
except to chase a dream
and what dreams will come
when spirit is free from misery
when food is on every table
when every person
can choose to shape their life
when all are free
to dream of a better world
to dream of a path,
free not only to dream,
free to speak the dream
to call it by its name,
to adore it with words
and describe its most intimate parts
free to tell the visions of wonder
free to share —
the revolution starts there
or there it dies

what stories remain hidden?
unlit streets of unwalked memories
awaken – suddenly i am shaking
the gods of poetry demand only truth
but they demand it
they shine a light
on a single mother with two small babes
the sacrifices she made —
her youth, but not her beauty
life was hard
but my mother never cried
never cried for her struggle
or said the cost of us
was too high
trinidad is the land of the hummingbird
not the land of opportunity
a queen takes her family to calgary
and gets a job at the bottom of the food chain
you’ve never seen such exquisite hands
flip a burger —
in junior high i wanted brand name jeans
my mother bought my first levi’s
they had orange tabs
instead of red
small difference
but good enough for ridicule
good enough for kids to ask me if i was poor
good enough for me to resent my mother
for failing to provide
the tools i needed
to be cool
i did not see
i have a mother with a love so fierce
she is a lioness
childhood with my sister
was a chorus of laughter and song
for countless hours in san fernando
we ran down halls of carnegie library
i remember the red bricks
towering over me
i remember the two of us
reading voraciously
between bouts of hide and seek
but i stopped sharing my life with my sister
she traveled to a different country every year
i can’t name them
i was too busy watching tv
to look at her photos
or listen to her stories
about sand dunes near bordeaux
i passed up truth for flashy shows
i turned my back on my family
when my sister cried
i called her a baby
grown woman now
i don’t know you
i don’t know if i deserve to

a single mother slings fast food till midnight
then takes calgary transit home to sleeping children
she wakes before them to make
peanut butter sandwiches
and see them off to elementary school
maybe my head was full of television visions
of middle class family life
no harsh reality of canadian poverty –
or maybe my absent father has a share of blame
never had a good man to show me
how to be a good man
but it’s a long time since i’ve been a child
as a man i’ve spent most of my time mourning
the loss of love that was never mine
paying occasional homage
to the absent figure i called,
a better son, a better brother
i promised myself to not be like my father
to never leave my family broken
i did not see how the walls inside my heart
divided my words and actions
and tore my family apart
my mother calls to ask,
did you forget you have a mother?
memory stirred like a pot of callaloo
shifts to 2004
mother and son together in trinidad
for the first time since 1989
we drive through prince’s town to uncle emil’s
the december air is wet and hot
sweat comes from thoughts
we pass the house where we lived when i was born
a nuclear family going nuclear
ripe clouds burst like a pawpaw
and release their fruit in a thunderclap of rain
washing away the dust of old memories
stirred in my mother’s mind
by sitting with the living copy of my father
truths i don’t know
after a quarter century of not asking
come from my mother’s mouth
she tells her story
of nursing her baby daughter
pregnant with son
joy mixed with
the bitterest betrayal —
husband gone to other woman
then home to loving wife and child
rain stops as quick as it comes
the sky is caribbean blue
sun lights the tears that run down my mother’s face
i try to fit this jigsaw piece
into a puzzle i thought complete —
not once the plucked string
playing for a man’s whim
not possible
not ever
not my mother,
i ask her why,
why did you take him back
time after time
dirty with the love
of a woman not his wife
(if i could have said cunt
to her right there, i would have)
she smiles and says
words i did not expect

he was my husband
and i loved him

the line appears that crosses
the generation of absence
between my father and me
a pattern repeating
like banquo’s ghost,
the men who impregnate then evaporate
leaving no quintessence
not even salt
the men who abuse women
with lies or fists
or violation of sacred vows
but the line that connects father to son
is not unbroken –  
the father ends
the son begins
between them is she
who must be
the woman whose body performs
the greatest miracle
greater than turning water into wine
or raising the living from the dead
she creates life from the magic of her body
the only temple
where belief in the divine
is not an act of faith
her altar transforms a seed
into a human being —  
all humanity
comes from this place of birth
cunt is the opposite of a black hole
cunt is all creation
cunt is the source of every nation
every mother is an earth
the city of my birth
is not the place where i was born
i am of my mother’s flesh
born into the world
at a place whose name
is deemed unworthy
nations have flags and anthems
and statues for the armies of men
that line up for the honour
to kill or die for a patch of map
but no universal human anthem
rings out across all lands
for our one true place of birth
people who don’t agree on the time of day
stand together in a queue
to tell me cunt is not allowed
cunt is locked inside a box
and hidden like a family secret
cunt, the unnamed source of every name
cunt that gives birth to
every word in every language
but cunt is unspeakable
power stripped of voice
but i ask you
what is obscene about cunt
except the obscene acts of men
who commit betrayal
and desecration
of their place of birth
a hush covers evil acts
infecting all the speakers of this language
infecting language itself
so that in all the english cultures
cunt is the most taboo word
while the proof of cunt is everywhere
hiding cunt saves men
from the burden of feeling shame
from facing shame and owning shame
from seeing that we need
to change –  the history of the world
has been wrong for too long
the time is now to bring cunt into the light of day
the time is now to never be ashamed
to name the place we come from
and to do much more
cunt deserves more than a name
more than a prayer
more than words
cunt deserves to be loved
and lavished with affection
cunt is pre-eminent
cunt is the sacred feminine
cunt holds the place of highest honour
in conscious minds
when cunt has its rightful place in the world
no man will dare to harm
a woman or a girl
just the thought of it
will choke him like a poison
because he will know
we all will know,
that cunt is beautiful
that the power of cunt has no equal
that cunt is universally loved
because cunt is the universe
and cunt is love
tell me what is wrong
with kissing a cunt
tell me what is more worthy to be kissed
or more worthy of receiving pleasure?
kissing cunt is an act of love
and i can love cunt
with words or with kisses
for as long as
cunt wants
and more
Weekly Poems
Wax Poetry and Art
- 18 -
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