Postfeminism

By Brenda Shaughnessy b. 1970 Brenda Shaughnessy
There are two kinds of people, soldiers and women,
as Virginia Woolf said. Both for decoration only.

Now that is too kind. It’s technical: virgins and wolves.
We have choices now. Two little girls walk into a bar,

one orders a shirley temple. Shirley Temple’s pimp
comes over and says you won’t be sorry. She’s a fine

piece of work but she don’t come cheap. Myself, I’m
in less fear of predators than of walking around

in my mother’s body. That’s sneaky, that’s more
than naked. Let’s even it up: you go on fuming in your

gray room. I am voracious alone. Blank and loose,
metallic lingerie. And rare black-tipped cigarettes

in a handmade basket case. Which of us weaves
the world together with a quicker blur of armed

seduction: your war-on-thugs, my body stockings.
Ascetic or carnivore. Men will crack your glaze

even if you leave them before morning. Pigs
ride the sirens in packs. Ah, flesh, technoflesh,

there are two kinds of people. Hot with mixed
light, drunk on insult. You and me.

Brenda Shaughnessy, “Postfeminism” from Interior with Sudden Joy. Copyright © 1999 by Brenda Shaughnessy.  Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

Source: Interior with Sudden Joy (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1999)

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Poet Brenda Shaughnessy b. 1970

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Relationships, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

 Brenda  Shaughnessy

Biography

Brenda Shaughnessy earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MFA from Columbia University. She is the author of Interior with Sudden Joy (1999), Human Dark with Sugar (2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Our Andromeda (2012). Her work has appeared in the Yale Review, the Boston Review, McSweeney’s, and Best American Poetry, among other places. With C.J. Evans, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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