Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Poem - Phuque


Yesterday I went walking,
words kicking in my head, against
my ribs, beneath my soft-soled
feet. And on the way, I stumbled
on a top in a shop with FUckfu
ckfuckFUcKfUCkfuck printed
all over it, back and front.
In 'Wild Pair' it was, white
on black; no splash of colour
to distract or dilute the impact.
And oh, I wanted it. Plain
and simple. Black and white.
I wanted those hot, hard words,
their angular passion sprawling
across my skin just this once
scattering my old school nuns
into corners. FUcKfuckFuc

F u C k.

A fine fierce word.
A pleasure to practice.


Okay, so today I'm a little rough around the edges. Ragged times can bring out the rebel; I feel like sticking my tongue out and behaving badly. Hence my choice of poem this week. . . I wrote A Manner of Speaking over a decade ago. The F-word - phuque - was definitely not a regular part of my vocabulary back then (I was a conscientious Catholic-then-Anglican boarding school girl; you get the picture. . . ). I envied people who could casually toss the word into conversation without apology and without needing to rush off and say seven Hail Mary's. This poem marked an arrival for me! The first time I read it to my writing group, they applauded and didn't send me from the room to go and wash my mouth out (this is a decade and a bit ago, remember. Times they have a-changed!). Chrissie loved this poem. For some reason it made her laugh till she snorted. Kate, too, would have egged me on. Take me with a pinch of salt today, won't you? ; ) 

For more Tuesday Poems, please click here.  

And here's a small rogue angel. . . also one of Ali's. 


  1. Brava, Claire, brava to the rage in you, the screams and accusations built up for years. As they say here, 'you go, girl!!' The title had me in stitches. L. M

  2. It's my favorite one. The best one. People say when we use them we are really trying to say something else, we should try to think of something else in its place. It takes away from what we are trying to say. I say that's a bunch of bull S*%t.
    I'm sending love and poetry.

  3. Fantastic energy, Claire--I hope the rough edges smooth out soon, if you want them to.

  4. Hello M - the title could belong to a prince from some lesser-known island state, could it not? Prince Phuque. Or Queen Phuque - why ever not? I wonder what they'd eat, or wear? They'd surely have fancy head-dresses?

    I'm glad you're not appalled by my brazenness! (Every woman needs a bit from time to time?). Laughter is the best medicine? I know I need to do it a lot more than I have in recent times.

    Penelope's Argentinian friend Elena laughs in Spanish - jajajajaja. I love it! It gets me chucking every time. L, C x

  5. Oooh, love AND poetry, Rachel? Does this mean what I think it does? I will pop over to your place for a look-see. The F-word is a goodie, I reckon. There are times when no other word comes even vaguely close to it whether in colour, passion, fury, delight, etc. . . I'm glad I've finally given myself permission to 'have' it! L, C x

  6. It does! =)Something from the last couple of months.
    I, too, am glad you've given yourself permission to use it. USE IT!
    I use it - maybe more than I should.

  7. Thanks for coming by, Helen. . . am glad you like the energy of this poem. I neeeearly retracted it last night, and then thought 'Nah, let it go, woman. It's really no biggie.'

    re; the rough edges. . . I'd really rather like them to smoothen out for a time. Thanks ; )

  8. maggie@at-the-bay.comNovember 16, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    Oh Claire - I recall the moment I purchased a gold and black acrylic really large crucifix (well, fashion cross really). I was buying a grey pleated gym-slip style frock and the sales assistant bedecked me in this almost nun-like size cross - I stood aghast protesting - I couldn't, it would be "sacriligeous" - she had no idea what I was going on about, and after a moment or two of disbelief, I realised it was perfect and it was a moment of fabulous rebellion (even though I was long over being a Catholic girl), this relic of guilt was lingering - so freeing to step out wearing my cross and I still feel like a nun - but it's so much fun.
    As for the other 'phuque' word, I always think the movie 'The Commitments' sort of decontaminated it forever. :)

  9. It was the creative spelling that drew me to this poem. Nice bit of sharp hot rebellion - and I'm not sure but shouldn't rebellion be a little rough around the edges?

  10. i like that you wrote this years ago, and brought it out again for us... who you were then, and who you are now....

  11. Claire, you might just enjoy this:


  12. ps, did you buy the shirt?!

    In Ireland I saw a t-shirt that said "feck". Should'a bought it!

  13. Hi Maggie - I can soooo identify with your cross dilemma (as opposed to your CROSS dilemma). . . Who knows, perhaps being a fun nun is more fun than being a non-nun having fun? And now I sound like a drunk Dr. Suess.

    The fact you're still enjoying your grey tunic-style frock (another word I love!) and oversized acrylic cross says it all, really!

    I have a cheap red plastic tree that I love (it reminds me of a tree foraminiferan, an organism of which I am most fond) and wear as often as I can and for some reason people not only notice it, but comment on it. Funny that ; ) I mention the tree because, for me, there's something about wearing red, too, that feels empowering and rebellious.

    Have fun, Maggie!

  14. Alicia - rebellion absolutely ought to be a little rough around the edges! (I couldn't quite bring myself to put the 'F-word proper' in the same line as Tuesday Poem. That would have felt disrespectful somehow. And I do like 'phuque' as an alternative spelling. It's a little 'elevated'?!! ; )

  15. Dear Susan - it seems so absurd now that I should have been so self-conscious about such things back then. Heaven knows, real life soon knocks the soft-edges off us, doesn't it? Although there's definitely a place for them, too - and, too, for who we were then, as well as who we are now. A little toughness is necessary in this world if we're to make it safely through, I think. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be an either/or scenario, does it?

    We can say 'fuck' and minister to a injured bird at the same time...

    L, C x

  16. T., that's a terrific vid., thank you!

    Like you, I wish I'd bought that top (actually, it was a camisol & knickers set; even better) and I did go back to buy it the next day, but alas, it had been snapped up. The funny thing was, the person who bought it happened to be Pam's sister. So, at least it was 'still in the family', so to speak.

    L, C x

  17. Regarding our being rough around the edges, either occasionally or as a perpetual state, these things are as they are for a reason. What a bag of tricks you have, to reach in and pull out this poem, just what was needed for life as we know it.

    If it were not for the exclamatory "WTF" I might be considered at least partially mute.

  18. Hi Marylinn

    WTF has to be one of The Best Acronyms; it has all the appearance of being calm and well-behaved on the page, when really . . . it's a powerhouse.

    Double ewe tea eff.

    Hmm. That doesn't quite cut it, does it? The three letters WTF are best strutting their stuff on the page (where we hear them anyway).

    Thanks, Marylinn ; )