marlene mountain
letter essays
january 1990



dear evelyn 1/9/90

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my writing, though I'm a bit disappointed that you've misinterpreted a word and its intent. I hope that the one word hasn't kept you from getting into the essay.

My haiku, 'i think therefore i am pissed,' has nothing to do with urination. (It doesn't say, 'i think therefore i am urinated.') It's my understanding that 'pissed' and 'pissed off' are words in their own right, and are other ways of expressing the word angry. I find them to be poetic words-- 'i think therefore i am angry' just doesn't seem to say it. Nor does it allow for the humor many people find in 'pissed.'

I'd say if one traced the word 'piss' through all of its meanings since it was introduced into English writing in the 13th century--orginally coming from Latin--it would fair well. The same with the 1846 word 'pissed.'

Words seem to go in and out of favor. I have been interested in how words for women, as hag, crone, cunt, witch, once expressed women powerfully, and how now they are used derogatorily.

The words I find obscene are those which are intended to be sexist, racist, ageist, etc. The words which hurt who an individual is.

from the mountain


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