Tag Archives: John Siddique Thirst

Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot — Part Three: Six Poems

 
 
 
 
Commentators Chewing Meat
Kirsten Irving
 
 
The excitement here is one fat comet – do the crowd
want to praise him or eat him alive? I’m joking of
course; we all adore him like the sort of uncle who
cuffs you for low grades but still brings you sweets –
say, would you carve me another sliver? This chorizo
is heaven’s lace – and at last here he comes, in his
golden mortar, punting along with a sapphired pestle –
is that mink or ermine lying dead on his shoulders?
Are those real dragon’s teeth around his neck? –and
the roars are so loud now you’d think – you’d think
he’d steered his gondola into Moscow Zoo at feeding
time – speaking of which, one more tongue’s worth
couldn’t hurt – and has he gotten more muscular? His
upper body seems bolstered with clay beneath that
cloak; he’s practically a hunchback. But let’s not forget
what we’re here for: this isn’t Milan, Paris, London.
History! A two-thirds majority and a few royal nods
have cleared the weeds from a long-dead job role –
now guys, while I’m forking up another doily of pig, I
want you to think on this: can men become gods these
days? Did the window close with the last Roman
emperor? Who gets to decide, if not other gods, who
drift uselessly by like silent ships, fading into the fog?
And if a god can die, what use is he anyway? Oh look!
A scuffle! I do love scuffles!
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
The Eye of the Needle
Aoife Mannix
 
 
I bet when Jesus went into the temple
and started knocking over stalls,
there were those who said this is just
some punk from Bethlehem pulling a PR stunt,
and it’s disrespectful and it’s disgusting
and he needs to get what he deserves
so we’ll pin him to a cross and won’t consider
that two thousand years later his words will rise up
in a prayer that says Putin with your 22m roubles
worth of white gold watches, and your flotilla of yachts,
and your 20 palaces and your flying toilet
that cost 75,000 dollars, you with your Mercedes,
helicopters, villas, aeroplanes, swimming pools,
you are just an echo of that other Pilate dictator
who also thought he could cling to power
by torturing those that seemed weak
but knew the strength of turning the other cheek.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
Free Pussy
Sophie Robinson
 
 
I’ve got the vagina your mother told you about
& it’s coming for you so watch out –

couplet vagina, hairy scruff, parkland
butchery waiting for your tender hand

descending. Happy vaginas on TV
open and close like poetry.

Sad vaginas on the streets stripped
of their rights, tight-lipped

& talkless in alleys always.
Awake & waiting, outer hallways

of a world full of those who know
it could be better & isn’t. Sad disco

where we can dance off our hurts
free pussy / lock hips / solidarity / stay alert.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
Thirst
John Siddique
 
 
Imagine thirst without knowing water.
And you ask me what freedom means.
Imagine love without love.

Some things are unthinkable,
until one day the unthinkable is here.
Imagine thirst without knowing water.

Some things we assume just are as they are,
no action is taken to make or sustain them.
Imagine love without love.

It is fear that eats the heart: fear and
endless talk, and not risking a step.
Imagine thirst without knowing water.

Fold away your beautiful thoughts.
Talk away curiosity, chatter away truth.
Imagine love without love.

Imagine believing in the whispers,
the screams and the gossip. Dancing to a tune
with no song to sing inside you.
Imagine love without love.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
Abridged and Complete Biography of Olympe de Gouges
Claire Trévien
 
 
You were born on a tongue of land
resting on a tit,
from which sprung willows that
made the slightest wind look like snow
no wonder you left
for the singeing gash of Paris where

they called you a he-woman at the slice
for daring to spunk for women’s rights. If

a woman can be brought to the scaffold,
you said, she should be allowed to fucking
shout! Thank fuck

you roar in the archives, slobbering over
the filing system! You’re an army of sixty kings
and no subject, you’re a butcher and his widow,
you’re every Mary I’ve watched
eat a tax collector for lunch
and still have room for a groom. Your plays
haven’t washed in two hundred years
and grow brown at the armpits. So what
if they stink and whistle at men in the street?
At least they don’t give a shit about our precious
feelings,

you’re a willow soaked in blood and set on fire
and when the wind gusts
you shit on it.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
Our Glorious Leader Putin
Jack Underwood
 
 
Look! OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN has just shot a rare Siberian Tiger with a dart gun! Surely he is at one with/ connected to/ master of nature at its most fierce.

And look look! OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN has just spoken fluent goose to some rare migrating geese as he flies adjacently to them in a light aircraft, wearing a beak, leading them to safety, just as he metaphorically leads our nation with a cool, authoritative dignity.

Look now! OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN has just woken up and thumped out two hundred loaves of dough in a masculine and serious way, to be baked for the starving old people.

And look look! A crowd of beautiful women sing how they wish their boyfriends were as conscientious and as traditionally masculine as OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN as they shake their feminine behinds respectfully at his motorcade silly girls.

Ah wow look! OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN has been diving in the sea with his shirt off showcasing his masculine figure to his country and the World as he finds some ancient artefacts on the seabed again.

And bravo! OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN throws a lesser man in Judo!

Whoof! OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN rides a horse masterfully with his shirt off!

Listen! OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN is laughing at a joke, displaying to our country and the World that despite possessing a overall masculinity of impregnable steel, he is able to laugh at an authorised joke somebody has made in line with the concerns and beliefs of OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN.

And see OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN has just masturbated in the shower, in line with the recommendations of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation. After all, he is nearly only a man, for which this is ordinary behaviour.

Observe now how OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN cleans his penis with a q-tip, so tidily and neatly, as if he were erasing a small secret from his past as a KGB hero/agent.

And now OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN is drinking a glass of his own delicious and superior vodka brand PUTINKA. Surely there is no other vodka brand currently available on the market that typifies the drinking requirements of an actual Russian man.

And imagine that as OUR GLORIOUS LEADER PUTIN swallows the cold-hot transparency of it, he opens his ears to himself and hears not one dissenting voice from within; thusly closing the wound of each of his thoughts with the same brute salve of his sure and right reflection.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
All profits from both the Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot e-book and print on demand copies will go to the Pussy Riot Legal fund and the English PEN Writers at Risk Programme.

Order Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot. Download the Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot e-book.

Visit English PEN’s website.

Visit English PEN’s Poems for Pussy Riot project page.

Read some of the Pussy Riot poems on English PEN’s website.

Visit EngPussyRiot’s live journal.
 
 
 
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John Siddique’s Full Blood

Author photo © Jojo Stott

   
 
John Siddique was born in 1964. His discovery of his local library when young began his life-long love affair with what words mean and how they sit together. He is the bestselling author of Recital – An Almanac, Poems From A Northern Soul, The Prize and now Full Blood (Salt Publishing, 2011). He is the co-author of the story/memoir Four Fathers.
 
He has contributed poems, stories, essays and articles to many publications, including Granta, The Guardian, Poetry Review and The Rialto.
 
The Prize, published to wide acclaim in 2005, was nominated for the Forward Prize. His children’s book Don’t Wear It On Your Head was shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award in 2007. On publication in 2009, Recital was described as “one of the most important British poetry books of the last twenty years” by Lauri Ramey of CSULA. Jackie Kay describes Siddique’s writing as “A brilliant balancing act”.
 
Siddique is admired for his captivating readings and his infectious love of literature. He teaches poetry and creative writing in the United Kingdom and abroad and has worked with the British Council, the Arvon Foundation, the Poetry School and the Poetry Society. He has a website at www.johnsiddique.co.uk.
 
 
 

 
 
 
Full Blood is John Siddique’s fourth full-length collection of poems for adults. Erotic, physical, completely open and fully engaged with the moral urgency of life, Siddique tackles his themes robustly and yet with great sensitivity, constantly defining and reimagining what it is to be a man in today’s world, living full in the moment. Marking a serious development in the writer’s work (as well as the mind of this significant British poet) this is Siddique’s most emotionally charged work to date.
 
 
“John Siddique’s new collection takes the reader down the street and round the world. This is a brave and a bold book of linked poems whose subjects range widely from love to hate, from war to peace, from childhood to adulthood, from the real world to the world of myth. Siddique is interested in everything. Tender and open-hearted, these poems are full of wonder at the power of love. Dreamy and yet direct, this is Siddique’s most powerful collection yet.”
 
– Jackie Kay
 
 
“In this beautiful new collection John Siddique seduces the reader with his life-affirming reflections on our mortality and a profoundly moving poetic interplay of tenderness, love and eroticism.”
 
– Dr. Claire Chambers
 
 
 
Love Poem
 
(for A.G.)
 
 
I will take you strongly in my arms,
sky over my earth.
 
I will leave my burdens down,
earth over my core.
 
I will love you as
the sun lights a bird’s back.
 
I will stand with you as
we give our hearts to life’s great keeping.
 
Sky over my earth.
Lay your burdens down.
Earth over molten core.
Sun of a bird’s back.
 
Keeping our promise to live by living.
I will take you strongly in my arms.
 
 
 
 
Thirst
 
Imagine thirst without knowing water.
And you ask me what freedom means.
Imagine love without love.
 
Some things are unthinkable,
until one day the unthinkable is here.
Imagine thirst without knowing water.
 
Some things we assume just are as they are,
no action is taken to make or sustain them.
Imagine love without love.
 
It is fear that eats the heart: fear and
endless talk, and not risking a step.
Imagine thirst without knowing water.
 
Fold away your beautiful thoughts.
Talk away curiosity, chatter away truth.
Imagine love without love.
 
Imagine believing in the whispers,
the screams and the gossip. Dancing to a tune
with no song to sing inside you.
Imagine love without love.
 
 
 
from Full Blood (Salt Publishing, 2011).
 
Order Full Blood.
 
 
 
Launch details
  
 
Date: 5 May 2011
Time: 18h00
Venue:  Manchester City Library, Deansgate, Manchester

Date:  22 June 2011
Time:  19h30
Venue:  Poetry Café, Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London
 
 
Dress code for both events is ‘sexy with a touch of red’.