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Girlie Sounds

Travis Stephens
Mix Tape • Poetry

girlie sounds, Liz Phair said,

how girls’ voices are the least

empowered, most ignored.

Perhaps she meant too high,

too thin, too much in the register

of children and birds.

In our forever mix tape Melissa

shouts, Rhiannon croons and 

even Bonnie growls a bit, the 

velvet of their voices bourbon



Rock and roll never forgets &

it never remembers the backup

singers, the ones always in pitch,

in tune and never in the best light.

Sing along with the pop queens.

I don’t mean Bey or Adele; they would

be warrior queens in any age. 

I mean Sara, Stevie, Fleming or Diane.

Any Diane. Raise a voice, sister.

They do it and challenge each other.

Keep up. Rise and harmonize until

the ground rumbles underfoot,

Mother singing along.

Girlie sounds. Girlie songs. 


Liz was talking of 1993,

you say. She says girlie instead

of women, and that’s important.

The boys in the band were afraid

of women, afraid of feminine wiles.

Whatever, I say, to get

a rise, maybe a laugh, maybe some cover

knowing she’s right. Always.

I was there, too, my offer.

Not really, she shrugs. You were in college.

You didn’t know a thing.