My grandmother pulls roses from her ears
and her lips are as plump as a fig as she whispers

Koranic verse. I swear that all the grace in the world
hangs from her knees. I watch her

from the bathroom, ankles deep in muddy water
as I awkwardly attempt wudu. I hide my vibrator

under my tongue and it swells each time I touch
the Koran. This Ramadan, I am too thirsty

to fast. I listen to the loud boom of the athan
five times a day. This reminds me of how much

shame I inherited. I do not belong in mosques.
I belong with women who write letters to secret

men with their earwax, with women who crumble
at the sight of man.

Noor Hindi

excels all delight

June 6, 2020

So sweet and delicious do I become,
when I am in bed with a man
who, I sense, loves and enjoys me,
that the pleasure I bring excels all delight,
so the knot of love, however tight
it seemed before, is tied tighter still.

Veronica Franco
Extract: Franco’s response to Capitolo 1.

Stranger on the shore

June 6, 2020

Ecstasy

June 6, 2020

As we made love for the third day,
cloudy and dark, as we did not stop
but went into it and into it and
did not hesitate and did not hold back we
rose through the air, until we were up above
the timber line. The lake lay
icy and silver, the surface shirred,
reflecting nothing. The black rocks
lifted around it into the grainy
sepia air, the patches of snow
brilliant white, and even though we
did not know where we were, we could not
speak the language, we could hardly see, we
did not stop, rising with the black
rocks to the black hills, the black
mountains rising from the hills. Resting
on the crest of the mountains, one huge
cloud with scalloped edges of blazing
evening light, we did not turn back,
we stayed with it, even though we were
far beyond what we knew, we rose
into the grain of the cloud, even though we were
frightened, the air hollow, even though
nothing grew there, even though it is a
place from which no one has ever come back.

Sharon Olds

We were a galaxy exploding into a million pieces, creating a whole new world, as we crashed against each other on the soft surface of his mattress, a cloud in the darkness, our bodies finally falling together like rain.

Emme Rollins
Dear Rockstar

great sex

June 6, 2020

To feel aroused is to feel alive. Having great sex is like taking in huge lungfuls of fresh air, essential to your body, essential to your health, and essential to your life.

Fiona Thrust
Naked and Sexual

…the Cueva de la Pileta in Andalucia, Spain. There, we’ll push into one of its huge, damp, cool cathedral-halls of fractured rock, where the darkness and the vastness of empty space seem to press themselves tightly against your skin, close and clawed and ancient. We know that there were people here, some 20,000 years ago. They left their millstones and their axe-heads; they left walls blackened with soot from fires that went out eons ago, leaving traces across a chasm of time that could swallow up the entirety of recorded history four times over. They left the bodies of their dead. And they left marks on the walls. The people who lived in this cave 20,000 years ago, people who lived lives it’s impossible for us to even imagine, are still trying to talk to us.

Sam Kriss
What the caves are trying to tell us

The first time was so exciting and amazing. I couldn’t wait to get down there and it was even better than I ever expected. It was so warm, soft, comforting, delicious, smooth, wet… Her reactions turned me on so much. Truly unbelievable. — Gail, 27

Suzannah Weiss
12 Women Share What It Was Like to Hook Up With Another Woman for the First Time

Singing in the shower

June 6, 2020

Music was my first love. I grew up surrounded by music: my father practicing various violin pieces six, seven, eight hours a day; my grandfather playing his cello, viola or violin for similar amounts of time; and my grandmother, a fervent, intense soprano, living deeply in the past by recreating her roles as the innocent Butterfly, or the poor seamstress Mimi. Freakin’ iconic, I tell you, boys & girls. So is it any wonder, I tend to sing in the shower?

Bright, skillful, melodic songs – some of my own compositions, too. Sheer virtuosity, the performances, marred slightly by the cascading water and the sound of the power shower.

And yet my girls describe my brilliant performances as sounding like a dying cat in the nighttime! Can you believe that?

‘You’re not so much idiosyncratic, as preposterous,’ says one. ‘To be fair,’ says the other, ‘you sound a bit like Sinatra after a night of heavy drinking – horrendously godawful!’

Well, you soon learn who your true friends are, don’t you?

Pair of tone deaf critics –