The future is as sterile as a robot’s loincloth.
I drown my hands in sanitizer until they pucker.

Where this soapbox tree germinates, I collect
my germs and make a fountain of them.

Because yellow is yarrow and soot, and the future,
I’ve learned, is no suture. Because where I’m from,
these kisses are infections. Because dirt’s

ammunition against discipline, the blood fills
my clean mouth with dismay. Am I surprised —
Hollywood still assumes we are all the bastard

children of the same evil dictator? That phosgene
and mustard will rack our titanium Maoist husks
until some white man with slanty eyes rescues us

from our mealy, pliant selves? Am I to wear Dior,
wrap my mouth in bloody tulle, before kneeling,
bending to kiss a mouth dirtied by Pantone 136?

No fucking thanks. Because where I’m from,
these kisses are infractions. Darlings, let’s rewrite
the script. Let’s hijack the narrative, steer

the story ourselves. There’d be a heist, a battle.
Audre Lorde would write the script. My leading
man would be Bruce. We’d earn our happy ending.

Instead, they give me 1981. 2012. Quantum quasars,
new dystopia—plutonium wars. We’re not in Polanski’s
Chinatown anymore. Yet we still have the same bowl

haircuts. Bangs, big bang, a city of fetid promise, new
minor galaxy where we cannot touch. Instead our skin
is rust and metal. It gratifies the technophile in all of us.

Sally Wen Mao

a region half-bewitched

April 16, 2020

I could tell I was at the gateway of a region half-bewitched through the piling-up of unbroken time-accumulations; a region where old, strange things have had a chance to grow and linger because they have never been stirred up.

H P Lovecraft
The Whisperer in Darkness

What is desire? Desire is a restaurant. Desire is watching you eat. Desire is pouring wine for you. Desire is looking at the menu and wondering what it would be like to kiss you. Desire is the surprise of your skin. Look – in between us now are the props of ordinary life – glasses, knives, cloths, Time has been here before. History has had you – and me too. My hand has brushed against yours for centuries. The props change, but not this. Not this single naked wanting you.

Jeanette Winterson
The White Room

As a child, I used to sneak into my mother’s room and try on her things; nothing gave me more of a thrill than rifling through her drawers. My most coveted items were tucked away – a veritable treasure trove of hidden silken garments: camisoles, teddies, bras that I would stuff with tissues.

I’d try them on and, dripping with a decadent feast of femininity, top off the look with her costume jewellery. I’d then roll around on her bed, pretending I was Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

I loved the way these delicate items – the ultimate embodiment of womanhood – felt when they rested softly against my skin. But because they were deemed to be of a sexual nature, they were restricted to the adult world: 18+, closed doors and, for the most part, unseen, with the exception of that ­special someone (or, awkwardly in this case, my dad).

So while children are encouraged to play dress-ups with clothes from their parents’ youth – back then, it was musty ’70s velour, taffeta bridesmaids’ dresses and shorter-than-short ’60s miniskirts – they aren’t generally encouraged to venture into lingerie drawers. My mum caught me perusing hers on so many occasions that she must have known she was raising a little deviant.

At 13, while grocery shopping, I spotted a maroon G-string for $8.99 in the aisle next to the socks and feminine-­hygiene products. The bad fluorescent lights did nothing to deter my desire. I mustered up the courage to ask my mum to buy it for me. Asking turned to quivering-lipped begging and she relented on one condition: “You’re not to wear it out of the house. Imagine if you fell over wearing it at school!”

When I got home, I ripped off the tags and pulled the G-string over my thighs. Its thin straps hugged my hips and created a dramatic curvature accentuating my already-ample behind. At the time, I did swim-squad training eight times a week, so most mornings and afternoons my butt was already exposed. But this G-string was just that little bit more obscene: 10 centimetres of sin, cut to exaggerate the feminine ‘asset’.

I never wanted to wear full-bottom briefs again.

Alyssa Kitt Hanley
Lingerie and kink: Alyssa Kitt on dress ups, stripping, burlesque and kink clubs

Joan of Arc

April 16, 2020

Joan of Arc was not stuck at the cross-roads, either by rejecting all the paths like Tolstoy, or by accepting them all like Nietzsche. She chose a path, and went down it like a thunderbolt. Yet Joan, when I came to think of her, had in her all that was true either in Tolstoy or Nietzsche, all that was even tolerable in either of them. I thought of all that is noble in Tolstoy, the pleasure in plain things, especially in plain pity, the actualities of the earth, the reverence for the poor, the dignity of the bowed back. Joan of Arc had all that and with this great addition, that she endured poverty as well as admiring it; whereas Tolstoy is only a typical aristocrat trying to find out its secret. And then I thought of all that was brave and proud and pathetic in poor Nietzsche, and his mutiny against the emptiness and timidity of our time. I thought of his cry for the ecstatic equilibrium of danger, his hunger for the rush of great horses, his cry to arms. Well, Joan of Arc had all that, and again with this difference, that she did not praise fighting, but fought. We KNOW that she was not afraid of an army, while Nietzsche, for all we know, was afraid of a cow. Tolstoy only praised the peasant; she was the peasant. Nietzsche only praised the warrior; she was the warrior. She beat them both at their own antagonistic ideals; she was more gentle than the one, more violent than the other. Yet she was a perfectly practical person who did something, while they are wild speculators who do nothing. It was impossible that the thought should not cross my mind that she and her faith had perhaps some secret of moral unity and utility that has been lost. And with that thought came a larger one, and the colossal figure of her Master had also crossed the theatre of my thoughts.

G.K. Chesterton
Orthodoxy

Concentrate on sex

April 16, 2020

Today I received a telephone call. A voice said, ‘It is fine. But leave out the poetry and descriptions of anything but sex. Concentrate on sex.’

Anais Nin
Delta of Venus