SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: ELIZABETH LANGEMAK

LangemakPhoto

By Elizabeth Langemak:


A PHOTOGRAPH OF HER SHOWERING

             As passionless, burned-out, dusty shells, we dislike love poems . . . As [one of our
             editors] says, why not “text me a photograph of her showering”?

I am enclosing, as text, the photo
you ask for. Though my husband

refuses, I make this in secret
and print it black over white. Though

the angles and lighting are tough
to nail down, and the process

makes my whole body a long face
for tears as the spray breaks over

my scalp and rolls down.
Though my right hand withers,

as I rake damp hair into rows.
Though the cheap curtain cleaves

to my thigh, I peel it off like a rind
teased from its fruit in one strip.

You thought I was dusty, a shell.
You said I was burned out,

but now my skin is slapping and slick,
the camera demanding more arch

and frontal. When I read your note
I was spitting with anger. I could

not get your eyes off my nipples,
my breasts, but now I make you

this square handful of edges,
a black-and-white chip where my ass

hangs over tan lines like a sun
without set, where stretch marks

like fault lines ride over each thigh
and a pocked scar stabs into my shoulder.

Once I knew men like you and tried
to be sexy but in the shower

I only got soaked. On the bed
where I practiced I only looked

posed. In cabins on nights with your jars
full of scotch I hoped you might

see past what you saw and fuck me,
but now it seems we have both changed

our minds. Here I am. In a poem,
just breath-long, I am perfect.

I send you this picture because
a photo of showering is just wet

and sex, but the poem lays down
its camera and hands me a towel,

knows the route I send it
over my calves, over my nape

and around. How many
flashes and clicks turn a love poem

around into only a woman to
fuck you? Fuck you.


Today’s poem was originally published in AGNI and appears here today with permission from the poet.


Elizabeth Langemak lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Editor’s Note: Today’s poem is one of resistance. In response to the editors who called love poems “burned-out, dusty shells” and said, why not “text me a photograph of her showering,” Elizabeth Langemak speaks out against the objectification of women’s bodies and the misogyny rearing its ugly head in a still-patriarchal society. Frankly feminist, exquisitely lyric, and commendably unabashed, today’s poet answers the question “Why not text me a photograph of her showering?” with the only response needed: “Fuck you.”

Want more from Elizabeth Langemak?
Elizabeth Langemak’s Official Website

About Sivan Butler-Rotholz

Sivan is the Contributing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series on As It Ought To Be and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a professor, writer, editor, comic artist, and attorney emerita. She is also the founder of Reviving Herstory. Sivan welcomes feedback, poetry submissions, and solicitations of her writing via email at sivan.sf [at] gmail [dot] com.
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5 Responses to SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: ELIZABETH LANGEMAK

  1. Maya Elashi says:

    Love it! But then, being a gardener ‘Fuck’ is my favorite word ~~~ it works wonders here, too!

  2. Reblogged this on A Twirly Life and commented:
    Spitting with anger and beauty, a poem, like this one, is almost as brave as the woman, like this one, who writes it.

  3. lyttonbell says:

    OMG I love her so. much. Hope for us all Restored. Carry on.

  4. lyttonbell says:

    OMG I love her so. much. Hope for us all – Restored. Carry on.

  5. Brilliant, and beautiful. Somehow both crafted and raw at once. This is how the poets do it.

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