Loving me is difficult

September 2, 2019

Loving me is difficult.
Because sometimes
I shed my skin too quickly
Trying to forget what it feels like
To be held by the brown callous palms
Of uncles, friends and strangers.

My new skin never remembers
The coolness of your touch
On the parts of my body where you need maps and lights to navigate safely.

Loving me is difficult
Because sometimes
When it hurts too much to become
I wear masculinity like a cloak
And refuse to leave enough room for you in the spaces between my fingers

I forget the taste of your mouth
And allow bitterness to drip from my lips
The kind of bitterness that tastes like hate

Loving me is difficult
Because sometimes
I ask you not to say “I love you”
Afraid that it will sound a lot like
The first one I ever heard
I will be 8 again, trapped beneath the taste of sweat and disgust.

I forget, that your I love yous
Sound like caresses and taste like nectar.

Loving me is difficult
Because sometimes
I package my anger and grief neatly
And hide it in my sternum
Waiting for it to become potent enough to poison you

I haven’t learned how to stop eating my emotions.
Or how to stop throwing them up on your lovely blue dress.

Loving me is difficult
Because sometimes
When you kiss me
I slip marriage into your mouth
And refuse to perform the Heimlich
When it becomes lodged in your throat

I forget that you choose me every day
And choosing me in a wedding dress won’t change a thing.

Loving me is difficult
Because sometimes
I forget to see the world in you

I forget that your pupils are galaxies
And you are wind.

Loving me is difficult
Because…
I am still learning to not pick at my wounds.

Charli Cleland

A Case File

August 6, 2019

She explained how she had blown
off the legs of her father with his own shotgun and,

with the help of her bruised and weeping
mother, dragged him out back behind the barn, heard

the cows moving in the stays, as they
lumbered toward the pig pen, five hogs waiting

with eyes like dinner plates. They could
smell the bleeding. Her father was nothing but moans

and whimpers spreading ribbons of
red in the snow. Over the fence they threw him

then walked back to the house. I looked
back once, she said. Mama gripped my shoulder, turned

me back toward the mudroom and told me
there was no reason to worry, he weren’t coming.

The way they both strode tall, accomplished, regal
down the red carpet father had left for them.

The last kindness he’d done them, their eyes shining
through the early silver morning.

Dawson Steeber

Except this time, it is not about forgiveness.
This time, it is about how the worst part
of me fantasizes about actually physically
hurting you. I have imagined awarding you
with the prestigious title of First Person
I Have Ever Punched In The Face. I have
dreamt of kicking you, pulling out fistfuls
of your hair, as if violence is the patron saint
of healing — cause damage to heal damage.
The dirtiest of my heart enjoys picturing you
alone. Wilted. Soaking in a bathtub of nails.
Swallowing one for each grievance against me.
I wonder when I will stop writing about you.
Perhaps, when I finally accept the truth —
that you are just as powerless as I am.
You cannot undevelop the photograph.
You cannot untangle the knots.

Sierra DeMulder

Use Me

July 29, 2018

I want you to use me
Abuse me
Refuse me
I want you to hate me
Penetrate me
Sedate me
I want you to hurt me
Convert me
Pervert me

Jacob Andrew

WHAT THE BODY DOES

June 17, 2018

Our son plays a German child in Hansel and Gretel
and dances with a girl dressed in braids and a pinafore
once in Act 1 and once in Act 2 but when they do the show
twice on a Saturday, sometimes she falls
the third or fourth dance.
Later her mother tells me she has cystic fibrosis
but she doesn’t want him to know.
When I was 12,
there was a girl on our 8th grade cheerleading squad
whose muscles snapped like a rubber band
when she tried to straighten her arms
so I tried to hold them for her
like a violin. She had a limp
and couldn’t do the jumps so we put her
in the back row. She had blonde hair though
and a big house where we spent the night
sitting on our sleeping bags in the basement,
rubbing the plastic threads
of the red and white pompoms together
until they curled. We pretended we didn’t see
the girls on the walls, naked women in cheap frames.
He must have cut them out of magazines
but the way they look now
in the blue room of memory
is like paintings, their skin pink and thick.
I see him at the kitchen table
after his daughter has left for school,
dipping his brush in the paint and sliding it
like a hand over their breasts which some of them
hold in their hands like gifts, and they’re perfect, circle
of nipple in circle of flesh. He likes the clean lines
of their legs, how the muscles lie neatly along the bones.
Later when I no longer knew her
I read about him in the paper. They had a day care
in that house where I slept
under the kitchen and heard him open
the refrigerator at night and felt the light go on
and the pressure of the low arches of his feet
on the linoleum. And of course he touched them,
the young girls in their flat chests
with their arms they could hold up straight.
He was heavy so when he stepped
the ceiling sank a little and I wondered
if the other girls saw but I thought
they were sleeping, I could hear their soft breaths
like a metronome. His daughter was broken
and the basement the kind with fake wood
panelling and orange carpet with bits of food
caught in the shag and stains from the dogs
and maybe he hoped the girls
would help and he didn’t think of us
or maybe he hung them there so we would know
what he wanted.
Today I am 41 years old. I know that man
was wrong and I think of how it felt
to be young and sleep beneath
the cross of a painted woman.
I know, also, that he loved his daughter.
He came downstairs that night with her mother
carrying bowls of chips and plastic cups of punch,
and I could see it, the kindness that flooded him
so when he walked he spilled a little,
and he was ashamed like she was
of what the body does.

Laura Read

Picking up threads of skin

November 5, 2017

strapon2

5th November

A grim September Monster gobbled me up and shat me out in this cold, inhospitable November. That’s how it feels at any rate.

Brexit apparently will lead this ‘green and pleasant land’ into the black chaos of Lovecraftian doom; but before that dire fate overtakes us we must witness many MPs laid low because of their rampant misogyny. So much knee touching in the corridors of power. It’s almost as bad as the newspaper industry – and that’s saying something!

But, of course, our Parliament is a fantasy. The bizarreness of the events there, while mirroring the society surrounding it, should not surprise – pederasty, incest, all the convolutions of lust, all the varieties of betrayal are there in those dark corridors of power. The poor innocent suffering ravishment in her office after drinky-poos with the boss will, we are assured, become a thing of the past. And the heart-numbing, brain-toppling solution to this serial fiddling will be provided by the people who couldn’t be trusted to sort their own expenses! Yes, that’s right. Our jolly old MPs.

I would respectfully suggest now, that any male Member of Parliament prone to an inflation of lust when in the presence of a female / male person, simply doesn’t go there. Instead they should adopt the masturbatory obsession of Alex Portnoy. It’s safer for all concerned:

“Through a world of matted handkerchiefs and crumpled Kleenex and stained pajamas, I moved my raw and swollen penis, perpetually in dread that my loathsomeness would be discovered by someone stealing upon me just as I was in the frenzy of dropping my load. Nevertheless, I was wholly incapable of keeping my paws from my dong once it started to climb up my belly. In the middle of class I would raise a hand to be excused, rush down the corridor to the lavatory, and with ten or fifteen savage strokes, beat off standing up into a urinal. At the Saturday afternoon movie I would leave my friends to go off to the candy machine – and wind up in a distant balcony seat, squirting my seed into the empty wrapper from a Mounds bar.”

(Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth)

You get the picture? We as a nation can put up with MPs who frenziedly whack off in a bathroom. But we cannot endure their perverse, self-absorbed obsession for unwanted knee feeling, groping and whatever else goes on after a couple of vodka martinis – abuse of position or power by these lechers and political vagabonds verges on the criminal, and should be stopped immediately.

Firing squad at the ready…

And today is Guy Fawkes day. We can set fire to our raggedy-arse, petrol-soaked Guy which bears an uncanny resemblance to Jeremy Corbin – but not by design. Originally it was modeled on that hero of democratic principle, Jean-Claude Junker. Somehow our Guy’s features morphed into those of JC – probably after his criticism of Nigella’s Turkish Eggs recipe on his ‘special’ Gogglebox show…?

“When I was younger I made it a rule never to take strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast – ”

Winston Churchill allegedly said this to king George VI. However, he probably never did – despite all the quotes on the internet and the posters produced by a hundred and one different companies attributing this statement to Churchill. Which makes it an example of Fake History, I guess…

#

Ideas abound. A wrecked, ravaged bed this morning. I see the shoulderblades of women, enjoy breakfast after lovemaking, Pepsi and Coke in the refrigerator, fresh brewed coffee on the table, freezing rain in the window. There exists a large lyrical love of the surface of this world within me –

But enough. I have work to do. A bed to make with clean sheets…

The memory returned: she was fourteen, locked in a room with Bill Vinson, a twenty-year-old, still hanging out at high school parties. She’d told her mother that she had gone to her friend Jamie’s house and Jamie had told her parents they were going to the movies. There was liquor and Bill was cute and he was talking to her about the band Molly Hatchet and soon they were in a room, her shirt undone. Then it went bad. She was too small to fight it off. She cried and asked him to stop but her head was spinning from the booze. To make things even more horrid, when he was done, someone popped out of the closet and snapped pictures of her on the bed. She never did figure out who took the photos for the room was dark and the flash popped three times, brightening the walls for each wretched moment, Bill and the mystery guy snickering. They left her there in tears. She managed to get out and get home, her mother finding out days later when Erin confessed she was worried about pregnancy. It turned out she was lucky.

The Repairman
Jen Conley

Although Carter assumes that most pornography is reactionary because it serves “to reinforce the prevailing system of values and ideas in a given society,” she envisions the possibility of a “moral pornographer” who would use the genre “as a critique of current relations between the sexes.” As a critic, the moral pornographer would “penetrate to the heart of the contempt for women that distorts our culture.” As a visionary hoping to transform society and human nature, such a person would create “a world of absolute sexual licence for all the genders” (Sadeian Woman). Carter acknowledges Sade’s misogyny- his fantasies of “woman-monsters” and his “hatred of the mothering function”- but she commends Sade “for claiming rights of free sexuality for women, and in installing women as beings of power in his imaginary world (Sadeian Woman). Sade invented women who suffer, most notably the innocent and always abused Justine, but he also invented women who cause suffering, such as Justine’s sexually aggressive whip-wielding sister, Juliette. Sade believed ‘it would only be through the medium of sexual violence that women might heal themselves of their socially inflicted scars, in a praxis of destruction and sacrilege” (Sadeian Woman). Asking that we “give the old monster his due,” Carter asserts that Sade put pornography in the service of women, or, perhaps, allowed it to be invaded by an ideology not inimical to women” (Sadeian Woman). Initial reviews were positive, but as the feminist antipornography movement gained momentum in England and North America, The Sadeian Woman was denounced by Andrea Dworkin as ‘a pseudo feminist literary essay.

Robin Ann Sheets
Pornography, Fairy Tales and Feminism: Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber

witch-outline

Diary 5th March

There was a woman who lived alone at the end of Walton Drive. Her house was beside the “danger point” (its name came from the red and white sign in the centre of the road that read DANGER). Beyond the sign there was no more road, just a wilderness of trees and shrubs, nettles and brambles. A veritable jungle where kids could turn wild and play. And where the woman often walked alone on a winter’s evening.

‘She’s a witch,’ Susan said. ‘She goes down there at night and makes spells.’

‘She gave Maureen warts for cheeking her,’ Linda claimed.

The girls seemed convinced, but we boys were less certain. A witch? Did such things really exist?

One Sunday afternoon we were playing football in the road near the ‘point’ and Alan kicked the ball into the woman’s front garden. Little Billy went off to get it when the front door opened and the woman came out.

Standing in the road we could see they were talking, but couldn’t hear what was being said. The woman, tall and skinny, was dressed all in black, as usual. She wore thick black mascara round her eyes and mauve lipstick on her mouth, and she had silver rings on all her fingers – including her thumbs. We were surprised when Billy tossed the ball back to us, and followed the woman into her house.

Billy reappeared an hour or so later. His face was very flushed –as if he’d been running.

‘What did she want?’ Alan asked him.

‘She gave me a biscuit and a glass of orange juice,’ Billy said.

‘But you were gone ages.’

Billy’s eyes became suddenly cautious. He glanced to right and left. ‘She took my shorts down,’ he said quietly. ‘She touched my “you know what”…’

‘Your cock?’ Alan said. ‘She touched that? I don’t believe you!’

‘Well she did, see. Honest, she did.’

‘You’re a liar Billy. You’re making it all up.’

‘She told me to come back next Sunday when she had more time. She’d do something extra nice.’

‘Rubbish,’ Alan decided. ‘Boy’s gone sick in the head…’

Later, in Angela’s back garden, Linda told Billy not to go back. ‘She’s a witch,’ she said. ‘Witches hate little boys. She’s probably got this sharp pair of scissors to cut your thing off. She’s more than likely got a collection of boys willies in a glass jar, and uses them in her spells.’

Undeterred by this warning (or anything else) Billy returned to the witch house the following Sunday.

What went on there? I’ve no idea, and Billy didn’t say when he reappeared later in the day. Alan kept on at him, but Billy stayed stumm.

Linda asked him, ‘Did she touch it again?’

He wouldn’t answer.

Whatever happened, happened, and would remain a secret between Billy and the witch.

Then – perhaps almost a year later – I was walking with Billy through the churchyard one Saturday afternoon. We were talking about the future – the far future. All the technological changes that might take place. How we might each of us end up with our own personal robot to do all the household chores. And flying cars, of course. We’d each have one of those. And we’d be able to chose the sex of our children…boy or girl.

‘D’you really believe that?’ Billy asked.

‘Why not?’

‘The witch,’ he said, then hesitated.

‘What about her,’ I prompted.

‘She said if I tell about her, she’ll know it. Said she’d transform me into a girl, if I ever said anything about her…’

‘That’s nonsense, Billy. She’s not a real witch. She can’t do anything like that!’

‘Says you,’ he said. ‘I’ve seen some of the things she can do.’

‘When?’

‘I go to her house sometimes. I keep it secret, like. She doesn’t want anyone to know.’

‘So what does she do?’

‘I can’t tell,’ Billy said. ‘I can’t ever say…’

And that was that. Billy’s secret remained secret. And to the best of my knowledge he never ever mentioned the witch again. But often I’ve wondered exactly what it was he’d witnessed at the witch house that frightened him into permanent silence!

And was the experience real or an hallucination?

Did our witch put some narcotic substance, a small amount of peyote for instance, in his orange juice? A drug induced hallucination would be sufficient to confuse…

To terrify.

I imagine them both somewhere between taboo and transgression in her dark house: Billy experiencing the exhilarating sensations of her hands and her body; she over-stepping society’s limits with her unrestrained sexual license.

And beyond the sexual frenzy, the fear!

Following a sip of her ‘special’ orange juice. Her conjuration made horrifyingly potent. Candles and darkness; smoke and mirrors…

Or was it all just a lie? Make-believe…?

Yes, I often wonder what ultimately became of our Billy.

abuse

The internet abounds in simplistic definitions of BDSM versus abuse. Usually these definitions have been written to justify BDSM – which ultimately is consensual whereas abuse is not.

For my part I’d stress (along with Elie Wiesel) that we should never “see” a person as an abstraction. Instead we should “see” them as a universe: each with their own secrets, their own treasures – and each with their own sources of anguish and desire. We should also be able to “see” when a particular individual’s desire for pain / punishment / humiliation is out of control.

If you recognise mental aberration in a BDSM Sub, is it then abuse to forefill that Sub’s most keenly expressed desires?

‘Hurt me more, piss on me, shit on me, fist me…Make me bleed.’

The worse part about anything self-destructive, is its intimacy. And a Sub, too closely enmeshed in strong violent desires, is like a drug addict desperate for a fresh fix; their fantasies become more like an illness…they are unable or unwilling to turn away from them because it feels as if they are killing a part of themselves in the process.

Is pandering to their desires / fantasies abusive or no?

Well, I think it becomes abuse the moment the Dom recognises these addictions for what they are. An illness. And in satisfying the Sub’s intense need for extremes of experience, a fine line is being crossed.

Likewise, those sadistic Doms who know their Sub / victim will not use their “safeword” despite the severity of the treatment being dished out – are they abusers? So much freak and nastiness abruptly released on some poor Sub / victim…

Is that abuse or no?

I think yes, that’s feckin’ abuse. The Dom is abusing their position, and their power over the Sub.

Personally, I’m involved with people who play bondage “games”. Mild kink is the order of the day. Rarely anything too heavy. That said, I know people who incorporate knives into their “play” – I think it too dangerous – and I know others who engage in “needle play”…which, again, is not for me.

BDSM then, is about “acceptability”. If you ain’t comfortable with it, don’t do it. It’s also about respect – for yourself and for your partner / partners. It is also very much about consent and communication – Communicate, communicate, communicate!

The games me and mine play are rigorously planned and choreographed down to the last little detail. And if there’s anything – anything at all – that a participant isn’t happy with, then it doesn’t happen. Risk management is all important. BDSM play should NEVER result in actual physical or emotional harm to any individual.

If it does, then that, boys and girls, is abuse!