By Niki Herd

Review for her circle ezine 

“Girrl” begins with a growl. The double “rr” lets you know you’re in for something. In fact, the poem is a poem of imperative, short enough to repeat here:

find one thing to love
inside yourself
carry it like a gun
in guerrilla hands
and when government
defeats you, mountains fall
lovers leave, and the words
of women before come
crashing to the ground
hold this love between
your hands, sing its name
like the alphabet
and shoot woman. Shoot.

The growl deepens as the poem continues into a guttural, instinctive admonition.

find one thing to love            

The poet does not capitalize. She is not trivial. She starts in the middle. It’s been said before. To women of all ages and colors and eras.

inside yourself                       

Ah. This is not a behind-a-good-man-is-a-woman poem. This is new. Brave. Love yourself.

carry it like a gun                   

A gun is significant, dangerous, important. It can scare, it can kill. It can be hidden, like a secret source. Does the poet come from a violent place? Does she know violence? Maybe. Probably.

in guerilla hands                    

To be guerilla is to generally face a force stronger, bigger, more conventional. The poet calls for a different kind of response for women -- smart and sly and underhand, if necessary.

and when the government defeats you          

Rely on no one, especially not the government. It will say one thing and do another.

mountains fall                       

The worse can happen.

lovers leave,                           

The personal can happen

and the words  / of women before you come  crashing to the ground

Your mother can’t help you. Neither can your grandmother, your sister, your aunt. Feminism, like any political persuasion, is largely a matter of convenience. It can’t be there, with you, in the moment.

hold this love between your hands,

Like a gun, like a baby, a ladder or a prayer.

sing its name / like the alphabet                         

You name it; it has power. You sing it, and it is something more. Prescient. Sacred. The letters of language.

and shoot woman. Shoot.     

Take the shot already. Do it. Shoot a gun. Shoot your mouth off. Shoot a movie. Shoot a glance. Shoot pool. Shoot a basket. Shoot forward.

“Girrl” is a wonderful, visceral poem.

Historically, broadsides were flat posters, printed on one side, announcing events, proclamations or advertising.

The modern interpretation for “Girrl,” printed by Kore Press, is a horizontal photo of a woman in a parking garage, cement grey.  She could be a woman of color.

She could be another faith. She is not skinny. She wears glasses, a bold print. Her arms are outstretched. She looks skyward, “find one thing to love/inside yourself.”

The form definitely fits the poem. Hear she. Hear she.