red-rag and pink-flag
blackshirt and brown
strut-mince and stink-brag
have all come to town
some like it shot
and some like it hung
and some like it in the twot
nine months young
About this poem:
e e cummings‘ satirical poem expresses his disregard for the political movements of the early 20th century. Communists (a red rag is a Communist newspaper) and the gay subculture were under fire from fascists in Italy and Germany. He doesn’t mince words about what he sees as the vulgar sexiness of people getting their kicks out of marching into town strutting their stuff, bragging, and then shooting and hanging. Twot/twat is a vulgar term for a woman’s genitals. e e cummings was an apolitical romantic, interested in love, sex and rebirth.
The second verse is a play on a well-known nursery rhyme:
- Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
- Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
- Some like it hot, some like it cold,
- Some like it in the pot, nine days old.