A Poem: A Guide To Words

Slut. Makes me think of glitter. I think slut is a really pretty word. Probably because I’ve heard it being used to describe a lot of really pretty people. Makes me think of city light constellations and perfectly glossed lips with white white smiles, atop a careless laugh. Peach champagne.

It’s a bit mechanical, too, in that beautiful way — the way you gotta slide your tongue across the roof of your mouth as your jaw juts out for a split second and closes, complete, maybe taking time to enunciate the t.

Pussy is a journey all in itself. It squiggles from the air in your lungs to your lips, a push of the tongue, then back to your lips, closed shut. It squiggles like the double ‘s’ it contains. It’s hard not to move your entire face while saying it, for any emphasis you’d want to add to it: sexual, cold, flirtatious, angry. It’s quite versatile, can fit any situation, often the first-pick by both sexes for what it describes, perhaps equal to ‘dick’ in its popularity, but more along the lines of ‘cock’ in its pheromone-misted connotations.

Clit is quite quick. Tiny. Suck my clit, suck my dick. Like most queers I find the words to be interchangeable. And like most Margaret Cho fans, I can’t say the word ‘clitoris’ without thinking of the the horse named Galloping Clitoris for a magnificent evening as lesbians watched from their cruise ship.

Bitch isn’t as heavy, you get duck lips for a quick second and then you can playfully tccchh if you’re up to it, unless it’s used quickly. Bitch is the most popular. It’s weakened, normalized. It’s like diet-cunt, because cunt is the Queen Bitch.

Oh, cunt. Crush it hard, take your time to have your fun with it, to play with the word that is unsurpassed in its ability to make people nervous, then play innocent because it’s only anatomy, Daddy! It’s such a clear, crisp word, with the verbal placement like a crescent moon on the top of your mouth to the edge in your throat. Pointing downward. The way your chin moves, the way the word triggers the mechanics of your mouth–and you know you’re serious, it’s serious. It’s a weapon the wielder is immune to.

The thing about the word ‘cunt’ is that people rarely drag it out — the only place they could, really, being the ‘un’ part, but no one does that. It’s swift, pulled out when necessary. No one drunkenly yells cunt, takes their time to say it. It’s dangerous to have even the word ‘cunt’ in your mouth. Let alone the delicious real thing. It’s a quick one-syllable slur; something with a more satisfying drag aptly being whore. Whhoooooore.

No one says whore like Courtney Love and I know this because I’ve listened to her 1991 album Pretty on the Inside song ‘Teenage Whore’ over hundreds of times and she said it herself in an interview, confessing her talent to the apropos talk show host.

It’s a brilliant word, starts breathy yet instantly in the deepest part of your throat, instant viciousness. You can drag it out, like a mountain or a landscape, vast, just on and on when you truly want to explore it. Long and drawn out, like a beautiful song, but deeper, with meaning, versatile with warm resonance, or cold and clean as a frozen knife, sanitized.

Lizzie performed A Guide to Words at our very first A-Camp Talent Show! 

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Elizabeth Victoria Aldrich

Elizabeth has written 2 articles for us.


  1. Ever since you performed this I’ve been saying “whhhoooooore” a lot, I’ll have you know. More than usual, even!

    • Yay!

      Now if only I had a video of Julie Goldman saying it, my life would be complete.

  2. yes GURRRLLL yessssss.

    i loved this piece and i LOVED how you performed it.

    you’re my wordsmith sister love friend, babygirl.

      • I’m now imagining the poetry that this baby would inevitably create, and my mind is imploding from the thought of the combination of the awesomeness that is in Lizzie’s “A Guide to Words” and Gabby’s “kiss, kiss, bang, bang”.

        Have that baby. I want to read that shit.

  3. amazing! thank you for sharing, i fell asleep and was late to the talent show and MISSED THIS. so glad to read it now.

  4. Omfg I’m so happy and i have to hold in the urge to squeal and jump up and down because I’m on the MUNI

    I will make out with each and every one of you.

  5. This was brilliant when you performed it at Camp! I was leaning forward on the edge of my seat the entire time! And now I get to read it and relive that awesome spectacle! You were and are amazing!

  6. I just have to say how good it feels to read this out loud, which I just did. I can’t even describe how much I love this.

    Please tell me you will be sharing more of your work.

  7. This was so amazing at camp. I could hear you saying it in your voice which makes it so much better. Keep being awesome!

  8. girl, this was so good. i think i drunkenly cheered when you shouted out courtney love.

  9. Lizzie! I said it in the cabin and I’ll say it again: you’re a genius. A delightfully mad genius. You should write a book about how to reclaim words. You make me love words I was always taught to fear.

  10. Lizzie is a fucking bad ass. Had a baby crush on her while at camp and this poem… WOW! Talent can’t begin to describe. You rock!

  11. wow

    Maybe I shouldn’t have read this just before starting work, now just sitting at my computer mouthing cunt to myself

    • aw, thanks!
      also, i love using the olive oil/sugar facial scrub. it makes me so happy.

  12. YES! I loved it when you performed this. So glad it got posted. Now I can read it whenever I want! :)

    • Favourite words to *say* on a tactile level I should clarify. They’re not very polite words.

      Waffle and succinct are nice too

  13. I like slipping the word cunt into other words and seeing if people notice.

    Cuntgratulations being my favourite.

    • omfg that’s genius

      here i’ll give you one:
      i do not live a cuntsistent life

      or two
      i am CUNTSTANTLY horny

      omg this is so fun!

  14. I was eating a burrito while reading this, and I think that made it that much more entertaining to sound out tha words.
    “Whoooooore!” “Cunt!” *Munch munch* “Bitch~”
    Good tymes

    • That’s the best thing I’ve ever read in my entire little life. You know how they say butterflies cause tornadoes? (Okay, the phrase is nothing like that, but you know what I mean.) Being posted on Autostraddle, and then you doing that…

      my life. it is complete.

      the BEST of tymes, audrey. the BEST.

  15. I have tried in my life not to use all those words, but you gave me something to think about. I like how you portray them. And I guess I have to agree with you about Pussy – it is very flirtatious to me. I think I might start using it! LOL

  16. “It’s dangerous to have even the word ‘cunt’ in your mouth. Let alone the delicious real thing.”

    Damn. Shivers, but not. Frustration, but not.

Comments are closed.