Poem Of The Week: SUFTUM


Ulster Rugby have a slogan:
Stand. Up. For. The. Ulster. Men.
Stand up in court.
Stand up for 8 days detailing, and detailing, and detailing their triumphs
while they get half a day each,
in their delicacy,
for their delicacy.
You are a delicacy, not-so-gently roasted over an open fire.
Stand up as underwear is passed around –
yours – while they hmm and haah and examine:
‘These are a bit showy, aren’t they, Jennifer?
Almost as if you wanted someone to see them, Sadie.’
Stand up and explain VPL spoiling an outfit
and dressing for yourself from the inside out.
Sarah/Lynn/Sue cries.
Classic victim!
Stand up while they debate the merits of certain bloodstains,
the consistency of menstrual blood versus trauma blood
and stand up while they tell you
you don’t know the difference.
Don’t know the difference between a lot of things.
All fingers and thumbs.
Just fingers and thumbs.
No harm done. Stand up.
Stand up explaining why you wanted to go to a party,
why anybody wants to go to a party,
why parties exist and the evolution of humans
gathering for friendship and celebration.
It seems they have never heard of parties before,
not met a woman who seeks out company for conversation.
Stand up when they accept the party, grudgingly,
other middle-class girls were at the party but aren’t
sure why you went as you’re not middle class,
aren’t sure why you went into the room.
The room!
Theroomth         eroomt         herooooooooom   thero   ooooo oooooooooo            m
Stand up while there’s a giggling babble from the gallery,
faint sounds of popcorn munching.
Stand up check your phone
*new messages*
because word gets around.
This is why you don’t go to court.
Lie low, hide,
be proud, be honest,
just the facts, you’re lying
This is why you don’t report.
Stand up and explain
that a room can just mean a kiss,
a room can often mean a kiss,
in the past a room was a kiss on its own merits.
A room is not a promise and a kiss is just a kiss.
Stand up and explain
you didn’t know you were going into a room
with a top shagger,
with suemepaddy.
You didn’t know it wasn’t a room but a merry-go-round.
You just thought you were going into a normal room
with a normal person.
Singular, not plural.
It’s hard to stand up when the whole room is spinning
and you are a carousel horse.
But stand up.
Stand up for the Ulster … women?

Elizabeth McGeown is a poet from Belfast in Northern Ireland.  She is a three-time Northern Ireland slam champion and his represented Northern Ireland at the Hammer & Tongue UK slam finals. Her e-pamphlet ‘’twas’ was e-published in December 2018 by Pen Points Press. SUFTUM was originally published on the iambapoet.com poetry website. You can find out more about Elizabeth and support her work at elizabethmcgeown.com

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