With my writer brain occupied with polishing a manuscript, it seems the perfect time to feature award-winning American poet, Kim Addonizio and her bold and unapologetic poem, “What do Women Want?” This poem contains one bad word and lots of sass. Enjoy!
“What Do Women Want?”
by Kim Addonizio
I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.
Born in Washinton DC, now a resident of San Francisco where she earned a BA and MA at San Francisco State University, Poet Kim Addonizio has received numerous awards for her work, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Pushcart Prize, and the John Ciardi Lifetime Achievement Award. Addonizio has published several poetry collections, novels, a memoir, and books about the craft and process of writing poetry. Her poetry covers subjects “ranging from mortality to love to substance abuse” and is known for its “gritty, street-wise narrators and wicked sense of wit.” She has also taught classes all over the country.
“Writing is an ongoing fascination and challenge, as well as being the only form of spirituality I can consistently practice. I started as a poet and will always return to poetry—both reading and writing it—for that sense of deep discovery and communion I find there. There are only two useful rules I can think of for aspiring writers: learn your craft and persist. The rest, as Henry James said, is the madness of art.” ~ Addonizio
Source: Poetry Foundation
My writing brain is trying to stay sane during the necessary, but tedious tasks of adding commas, writing other ways to say “said,” and the many other pesky steps needed to polish a manuscript. The hardest part of this writing stage is having less time to create original content – where my passion is freed. Soon I will be moving on to the challenging task of structural changes. At least that stage will offer space for creativity! Brain breaks are a must, which includes reading and enjoying the work of other poets. Thank you for visiting, reading, and listening. Be well. Michele
More poems by Addonizio: Poetry Foundation
Featured Photo: by Wallace Felipe
© 2022 Michele Lee Sefton