Marta Jalowska “I Want”

I WANT

Cooperation: Edka Jarząb, Sebastian Winkler

Give voice. Take away voice. Vote. Loud. Free your voice. Stretch your tongue. Open your mouth. Loud. Voting. With tongue. Common tongue. Loud. Correspondence. With the use of tongue. With the use of saliva. Listen. I’m worried about you, because you’re too radical.

I was born in Mysłowice at Robotnicza Street. As the third sister in a pastel house in Stara Sucha. I refer to my girlfriend as “a friend”. I don’t know how to tell my mom that there will be no wedding. I have three kids, my husband took off  – maybe that’s for the better, I never liked him anyway. As a child, I always thought I would grow up to be a president, but when I decided to be a girl, I changed my mind. I’m a poet, I’m a dyke, my name is Eileen Myles. I intend to place my vagina in the white house. My name is Zoe, I wrote the poem “I want a president”. I’m staying at home, disinfecting my clothes after coming back from a walk. After buying the bread that I can’t afford. My friends won’t be visiting anymore, maybe due to the closed country borders, maybe due to other borders that are solidifying. I want to stop being afraid, I want to touch you and I want to trust you. I imagine that I’m taking away all power from the government that is lying to us and taking away our rights. That we talk instead of generating discourse. I want a dyke for president. I want someone who understands that her job is not holidays abroad that she won by beating other participants of the Blind Date TV show. I want to know where she is.

Sincerely, MES

“I want a president” is a poem by Zoe Leonard that keeps coming back during each presidential campaign in the USA. Each subsequent election that keeps being won by men, further fossilizing the existing order. Leonard’s poem makes reference to the legendary queer presidential campaign of Eileen Myles, poet and performer, who run for president of USA in 1992. Her tools consisted of poems and manifestoes, her assemblies ended up being poetry nights. Can poetry become a radical weapon in political fight? How can we qeerify electoral campaigns and what for? Who can be represented by a non-binary person, a dyke, a feminist, a presidentess?

“I want” is a manifesto using the tools of a presidential campaign, divided into parts and developing over time. It’s a series of activities that, according to the plan of the poet and performer, Eileen Myles, change the order of political words.


Marta Jalowska – actor, performer, activist, feminist, graduate of cultural studies. Co-founder and member of the feminist group TERAZ POLIŻ. Co-author of many scripts and curatorial concepts, among others: the research and popularisation project “dziwy polskie”, three editions of the “córy warszawskie” series (#dziwystołeczne, #100lat and #kobietyrobiądramaty) and the exhibitions “Krem i czekolada” (Cream and Chocolate. Exhibition around the memories of female-workers of the Wedel and Pollena-Uroda Production Plants) and „Świat poszedł do przodu a nóżki zostały na swoim miejscu” (The world went forward, but the little legs stayed where they were) – an exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Polish women obtaining the right to vote, and the 10th anniversary of TERAZ POLIŻ. Co-founder and member of the Czarne Szmaty collective (Black Rags, #czsz) through which she redefines the public space and queerifies national symbols.  Her most important actions include: “Wolna Polska” (Free Poland), „Nie jesteś sama” (You are not alone), „Pozdrowienia z Lesbos” (Greetings from Lesbos), „Ułańskie fantazje” (Uhlan Fantasies) and „Orlice/Polska dla Ptaków” (Female Eagles/Poland for Birds). Author of “Interwał Pokoju” (Peace Interval) carried out within the framework of Tools for Peace of the Generator Malta, at the Malta Festival in Poznań. Member of the film team Twin Pics Studio.

fot. Tomek Drzewiecki


The project is co-financed by the Warsaw City Hall as part of the Hub Kultury Komuny Warszawa program

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