Ani’s language


She looked like Ivory soap
and bubblegum
when I knew her, in that time
before tattoos and attitude,
too small for her guitar
singing Shy into the mic
her chords an electric spine
for muscled words
denying any smallness

the T-shirts say
Ani FUCKING DiFranco
because she sings about cunt
as easy as Orion, or eyes;
the saudade she sings
into fuck yous
changes insult to longing,
because she knows
before they were art
they were just words,
sound to curl phrasing around

less shock and more awe
if you listen

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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39 Responses to Ani’s language

  1. Oh! Most definitely, you have captured her, I can see her swaying…

  2. Porcelain skin with words that rolled off her tongue so easily. I enjoyed the clip and your words Sus.

  3. Alice Keys says:

    Wow. Thanks for the clip and the poem.

    Usually the word ” fuck” makes me cringe in poetry and song. “Fuck” is banged about like a worn out tambourine too often. I’ve come to hear it as a person who lacks the skill to say anything.

    But this time “fuck you” made me smile. Amazing.

    Poetry reading opportunities. Must look for those.

    • Alice, I thought of you and your book burners as I wrote this. I don’t like using language in my poetry without a reason, and this woman, this one turns it into art.

      • Alice Keys says:

        Yes. Hers is lovely. There are places for all words. So often swearing is only the popping off of little mouth farts. Simply bad taste and smell with no solid shit. Heavens. I must be tired. I’m chuckling to myself like a scatologically inclined ten year old as I write.

        • Hee, hee. My colored (or stinky) language made you cuss…smiles.

          • Alice Keys says:

            Susan. Made me. Oh yes. I often (not) give others control of my word generator. 😉

            I grew up in a family where teaching babies to swear was considered the ultimate of clever. Then I went into construction work. The guys on my crew made sure I got a whole NEW vocabulary. They had similar motives of inferred cleverness.

            Much much later, I had kids and cleaned up my verbal act (And got rid of my gun and sold the hot tub). Probably cleaned up too well. My 17 year old son considers “crap” to be “strong language.;-)


    • Here’s one without “blue” language you might like.

    • Now I’m extra-honored that you liked my egg-ku Alice.
      I too think that strong(foul) language is often a sign of a weak imagination, but sometimes….
      I tend to think of it as a form of colloquialism, like ain’t, y’all, and cuz…

  4. nelle says:

    An artist not quite given her due, she be. Would love to see her and Ferrick together.

  5. Thank you Susan for the poem, and for introducing me to Ani DeFranco! I had never heard her before, but will check out more of her music.

  6. Always loved Ani…truly big things come in small packages…real power…

  7. doncarroll says:

    nicely done. her language gets an A+…*L*…:)

  8. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    I liked this, Susan. I remember being introduced to Ani DiFranco’s music by female friends of mine when I was about 15. I admit, I did not know quite what to think of her then. I have much more of an appreciation now.

    I remember being intensely amused when she did this song:

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