early GRRRL…

early GRRRL by Marge Piercy.

From The Twelve-Spoked Wheel Flashing, Poems Of The Middle Seventies

Five Thousand Miles

There you sleep and here
I walk wakeful and every day
is a calendar square like a prison yard
to pace. Every day is laid on
me and torn off like a bandage
on a slow dripping wound.

I burn with need
of you deep inside like a coal
mine that has caught fire
and smolders deep in the rock
away from the healing touch
of the rain.

The Summer Invasion, And The Fall

If something moves beautifully
through the grass it must be
bought in a package,
raped, or shot.

Ask Me For Anything Else

Watson has patience and muddy
boots, not Holmes with his
cocaine needle. Old dogs
snore their patience.
Cats pace. Big cats
cut patience from the herd
and run it down panting
for hot breakfast.


I am empty with wanting,
not like a box
but like a tiger”s belly.

What Is Permitted

… My friend, of course
I will dance with you, how beautiful
that so much is permitted
when so much is feared.

The New Novel

the best part of me
locked in those
strange paper boxes.

Women Of Letters

When we had finished typing, we too got drunk
and still there were more boxes carried up
in the morning, boxes singing
like mad linnets of pain”s needle.

From Living In The Open, Poems Of The Early Seventies

The Clearest Joy

The clearest joy
is the ceasing of great pain.

Make Me Feel It

My poetry and my politics have come unstuck
Goddess, I am down to the brief hassles of the body,


Sweet mama, a life is as far as I can walk on it.
I have been lazy and lax,
I have been wanton and wobbly,
but take me up. Strop me.
Frighten the too easy wits out
till I leap and chatter and flash green,
let your hairy lightning blast me open and quaking.
I fear nothing like this silence
filled with the satisfied nibbling of myriad teeth
of the little appetites.

Sage And Rue

Herbs give sparingly. They will not sustain
you but render palatable what does.

River Road, High Toss

thorniest blackberries grow
in languid arches studded with spikes
trussed with long berries dripping juice
like a parable of pleasure and pain.

Two Higher Mammals

But we are woman and man,
other and murderous brother,


Loving leaves stretch marks.
Thinking clearly still hurts.
To be good for anything
is furious struggle

The Box

Now we walk at the wall very fast
holding hands and trying to act as if
we believe in an opening.
If we come through the stone
we come through
in an unknown place.

For Inez Garcia

… As fear rises like mud in my throat.

From Hard Loving, Poems From The Late Sixties

Your Eyes Are Hard, And Other Surprises

… do the hairs of your belly
remember my sweat?

This Is A Poem For You

We shimmer with sweat.
We are playing out our knowledge of each other.
We are asking riddles with our hands
and solving them with our hips.
We are a soft clumsy organism.
Music blows through the long tangled pelt,
the red mouth is open to roar and taste,
the eyes are wide and bright and moist,
the paws are raised.

From Breaking Camp, Poems Of the Early to Mid-Sixties


Memory smells
like carefully dried love
where I shelter
inside failure”s toughening husk,
where each on labors
secreting the amber
that turns gnats
and midges and stinging flies
into jewels.

The Miracle

Somewhere hair of gauze
eyes of a frightened jay
you are kicking
your shrill new hungers
and sucking watered milk.
Somewhere they are just starting
to tease your arms
with pins.

Early, Early Poems

Storm Outside, Storm Inside

for the friction of body hard on body
as two stones cracking on each other
hit till one stone finds its flaw.

Grand Tour 1957

I was going to Europe, where culture was stored in cathedrals
and made in cafés, where the Left was alive
I had read in a book by Sartre, consumed
illicitly in the philosophy department
hidden like a Batman comic
behind the text of Kant.
I wore black and lived on beans.

Uncollected Poems, Poems Spanning Several Decades

Eye Contact

Rarely have lovers
stunned me with insight.

On Technique

… Now like a woman
who danced wildly at evening at a party
wriggling her hips, bouncing her ass
around and comes home at last too tired
to fuck, she sits at her desk,
the sheet before her vast and white
in the avalanche of silence.

For A Radical Poet

I want to understand why
I can no longer enjoy you poems
about revolution.

The Music Wars

If we could shut off our ears,
turn down the volume control
on the night, what would we see?
A hundred thousand peacocks
each displaying his tail,
slowly turning, strutting, posing.

The Air Like Stained Glass Cuts Me

You could not love, but only redecorate.

Turn About

In the twilight of the room
the mirror beckons like a pond.
Dive in. Pass Through.

In that room on the dark
side of the mirror moon
are all the things you lost.


If only you can remember
how to pass through the glass
like gauze curtains that tear

before you, like water
parting to let your warm body
drown in its cool embrace.

Always Unsuitable

Oh mamas, I would have been your friend.
I would have cooked for you and held you.
I have might have rattled the windows
of your sorry marriages, but I would
have loved you better than you know
how to love yourselves, bitter sisters.

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