Photo: Getty Images

The Friday Poem: Girls just wanna have fun by Cadence Chung

A new poem by Cadence Chung.

Girls just wanna have fun

Girls just wanna have fun       girls just wanna
be fatal         eyeliner like slits in their skin
lipstick like bloodstains       nails like claws

Girls just wanna escape      but there is no escape
when the past rattles      from all directions in time
so they find escape           in their own bodies

until they no longer sit     in their own skin
but watch themselves laugh   (until laughter
sounds like a language)        high above

on a streetlamp. They escape   into each
other, clawing like animals      to be let in
because they know how a girl can close

herself off, shut herself up.        No time
no need for pretext       just straight to the
clawing          the wanting       the finding.

Girls just wanna poison for 24,000 years
flay every foolish being     who walks into
the fallout zone       want their bodies

to vibrate beneath the earth      create
earthquakes       make teacups fall
from their shelves        make violets grow

make something happen       when their hands
can’t reach the big buttons       that change things
that gloved hands in business suits     are always,

always pressing. Girls just want whispers  and for
whispers to turn into shouts      and shouts turn into
law.  Girls just want an anodyne     a quick fix

for their pain assigned at birth        that they
are forced into       that aches like no other pain
that has no cure            except witchcraft

The spells that are chanted       at pride parades
and protests ‒ what do we want? what do we want?
or whispered in the secrecy of night to each other ‒

I want, I want, I want. Girls just wanna cut
with their glowing bodies      bright with bottled
time, from being told time and time again

that they should not fall       into bed
into whispers         with each other
should stay as white and pure as

they were painted, were carved from
Adam’s rib. Girls then turn their heads
inwards       gather their arsenal

of calligraphy brushes       create scripts
and books       and languages      only they
can speak       because they created them.

They use these languages        to say
what they’ve always wanted to say    without
anyone knowing – I want, I want, I want, I want

I want, I want, I want.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again in early 2021.

The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.