Kim Addonizio has three collections of poetry, most recently Tell Me, which was a National Book Award Finalist. Her other books include the forthcoming Dorothy Parker's Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos, an anthology co-edited with Cheryl Dumesnil.  She says, "My poem 'Fuck' was inspired by Tony Hoagland's 'Dickhead.' That poem closes if memory serves 'I made a word my friend.' Fuck and I have been close for lo these many years. At my funeral, I hope someone will stand up and say I was a great fucking poet. And if not, that at least I was a great fuck. The future of the 'fuck you' poem? Look for it under your bootsoles."

 

 

 

 

 

Fuck
 

There are people who will tell you
that using the word fuck in a poem
indicates a serious lapse
of taste, or imagination,

or both. It's vulgar,
indecorous, an obscenity
that crashes down like an anvil
falling through a skylight

to land on a restaurant table,
on the white linen, the cut-glass vase of lilacs.
But if you were sitting
over coffee when the metal

hit your saucer like a missile,
wouldn't that be the first thing
you'd say? Wouldn't you leap back
shouting, or at least thinking it,

over and over, bell-note riotously clanging
in the church of your brain
while the solicitous waiter
led you away, wouldn't you prop

your shaking elbows on the bar
and order your first drink in months,
telling yourself you were lucky
to be alive? And if you wouldn't

say anything but Mercy or Oh my
or Land sakes, well then
I don't want to know you anyway
and I don't give a fuck what you think

of my poem. The world is divided
into those whose opinions matter
and those who will never have
a clue, and if you knew

which one you were I could talk
to you, and tell you that sometimes
there's only one word that means
what you need it to mean, the way

there's only one person
when you first fall in love,
or one infant's cry that calls forth
the burning milk, one name

that you pray to when prayer
is what's left to you. I'm saying
in the beginning was the word
and it was good, it meant one human

entering another and it's still
what I love, the word made
flesh. Fuck me, I say to the one
whose lovely body I want close,

and as we fuck I know it's holy,
a psalm, a hymn, a hammer
ringing down on an anvil,
forging a whole new world.
 

 

 

from Pearl 31, Summer 2002