If Donald Trump Grabbed My Pussy: A Poem

donald trump campaign flyer about how he would defeat ISIS

Donald Trump thinks I would let him grab my pussy
because he is a “star”
because he has money
because he has gotten away with this kind of abuse before.

He would be wrong.

If you think that my political views make me weak
or out of touch with reality,
Let me assure you:

I know the threat of sexual violence against me,
against all women,
Is real. Ever-present. Insidious.

But there are defenses that don’t require brute strength
Or testosterone.

If Donald Trump grabbed my pussy,

I could grab his wrist and twist it upwards.
The pain—a shock that shoots up your entire arm—
can turn a human being, even a famous rich white man,
secure in his immunity and his privilege,
into a crying, sniveling fool.

Or I could bring my heel down on his toes,
then my knee up to his groin
and my elbow down on the back of his neck
as he doubled over, involuntarily, from the agony—
His human frailty laid bare.

Or I could jab his eyes with my fingers,
rigid and sharp against soft jelly
then grab his hair and pull down
until I can kick him in the face.

Tell me, Donald Trump—
What good will all that money be,
all that fame,
when you’re on the ground,
groaning and dripping blood from your nose?

I’m not afraid of you.
If you fuck with me, I will not back down.
You cannot buy my silence, my complacency,
the right to my body.

Anyone can learn a basic wrist lock
or how to cock her hips like a gun,
throw her fist straight like a bullet.
Sisters, friends—I can show you.

I am not Wonder Woman.
I, too, feel pain.
I can’t stop knives, or fly, or even run for very long.
I can’t force men to tell the truth.
But I am not afraid to stand my ground,
and I am not alone.

We are many.
We are furious.
We demand nothing short of revolution.
We have power and strength—
even if men like Donald Trump
want us to think we have neither.

Raise your fists, sisters, friends
and bring them down hard.

#SummerReads #4: The Shipwreck Dress by Terri Witek

This summer, my goal is to read ten poetry collections. Click on the summerreading2015 tag to chart my progress.

I encountered Terri Witek’s work by chance at the 2012 AWP Conference in Chicago. That discovery alone made the conference worth it (though generally speaking it was an excellent conference).

I bought Exit Island on the spot, read it as soon as I got home, and loved it, but am only now reading Witek’s older work.

After reading The Shipwreck Dress, I can see how her work progressed to Exit Island. One of my favorite features of the latter collection is a series of de facto word quilts: words arranged in a matrix-like grid that can be read up and down, left to right, or diagonally. (Not to mention the poems she constructs out of constellations and fractured pictures of animals.)

Molly Peacock says in her review of The Shipwreck Dress, “As Witek sensuously explores the most ancient connections between text and textile, she turns her poems into stunning, subtle word-kimonos.”

And how.


The “kimono” poems in The Shipwreck Dress seem to be the precursors to the word quilts of Exit Island. This series of poems features two columns. The left-hand column is made up entirely of colors, while the right-hand column has the poem proper.

Each line of the poem is assigned a color; there’s a progression of color as well as a more typical poetic progression. The color assigned to the line adds a layer of meaning to each individual line as well as the poem as a whole.

I love the range of these kimono poems. Some are sweetly nostalgic, some are sad, some are simply frozen moments poignantly captured. They also serve as a sort of stitching that holds the collection together.

Unlike with some experimental work, these poems are all grounded in reality. Witek uses all five senses to describe the world around her–a world of heartbreak, healing, and introspection.

Find The Shipwreck Dress at an independent bookstore near you.