July 18, 2019

You are the knife I turn inside myself; that is love. That, my dear, is love.”

Franz Kafka
Letters to Milena

all worked up

July 14, 2019

But I think getting a girl all worked up is the same thing as doing the other thing, and then I was thinking, there has to be a first time and it was important to me that it would be the real thing, and I was in love with him, with my head, my mouth, and further down.

Irmgard Keun
The Artificial Silk Girl
Trans. Kathie von Ankum

our bodies speak

July 13, 2019

Secrets are my currency: I deal in them for a living. The secrets of desire, of what people really want,  and of what they fear the most.  The secrets of why love is difficult,  sex complicated, living painful and death so close and yet placed far away. Why are pleasure and punishment closely related? How do our bodies speak? Why do we make ourselves ill? Why do you want to fail? Why is pleasure hard to bear?

Hanif Kureishi
Something to tell you

Good morning, Sunday

June 30, 2019


June 29, 2019


Even longing has its dusky scent,
a musk of faded yellows, blossoms

once tight bright buds, sun and summer leaning
nonchalant on window sills

or seated at a small round table, a porcelain demitasse
casting blue shadows on white linen,

you walking towards me across, perhaps,
an ancient piazza, stones worn by the hurried feet

of lovers who also dreamed of rushing
into waiting arms.

Janet Lee Butler

Poetry is the lonely, radical, precious expression of a single life. The singularity of the unique human soul who must cry out. Because of love, because of wounds, because of injustice, because of hunger, because of exile and migration, because of dispossession of every kind, because we have lost someone we love and cannot bear that loss, because night comes on and we are alone.

Anne Michaels
Infinite Gradation

I don’t mind getting naked or seeing you naked.
I don’t mind talking about sex or having sex
or never having sex. I don’t mind my body
or your body with mine. I don’t mind
your sweaty palms, your chapped lips,
your dirty tongue. I don’t mind
your noisy music, your crappy poetry,
your soiled shoes and ugly handwriting.
I don’t mind 2ams and late night
phone calls, stolen kisses and white lies.
I don’t mind your half-eaten donut,
frozen teabags and sticky hair.
I want your toothbrush’s head
leaning towards mine. I want
your 4am back massage.
Cup my breasts and don’t say
they’re small. I already know that.
Kiss me once and kiss me more.
Pretend what we’re doing is illegal.
It’s always good to be caught
with our mouths tied together
like handcuffs. Dry your cheeks
and make me bleed.
Crave me.
Crave me.
Crave me.

in the name of intimacy

Vile Romance

June 22, 2019

I am naked on someone else’s bed, bearing my
soul with my heart ripped out from its cage and

beating, beating, beating in my hands. I wonder
what it feels like to be loved, so I open my mouth.

as if the answer is yes. I wait as if there is an

answer at all. My nakedness is a concept, like
if I am naked enough then maybe our love will

last forever. But there is no answer, no response.
Things don’t work the way they are supposed to,

and love isn’t love if you have to bribe somebody
with a concept that won’t last. After he kisses me,

I put on my clothes; I don’t put my heart back
where it belongs. I give it to him, all red, all bleeding.

Two weeks later, he texts me saying that all the red
was ruining his clothes.

Keren Chelsea

The lure

June 22, 2019

She feels the lure of sitting with a good book, a big thick one of the kind that leave an impression stronger and realer than life itself.

Hanne Ørstavik

Phone sex

June 20, 2019

We’re on the phone and he says I just came

hard over you. I’m by the window,

not just clothed but cardiganed – though

he doesn’t know – and I realise

the mug of tea in my hand was a mistake:
this conversation’s bridge

too far. He’s got this voice, see – like treacle

over gravel, like vowels pulled up

at the pit-head and consonants whipped

like the blue sparks under a train. He’s

six foot two, six hundred miles away

and I’m weak for his filthy vocabulary.


The day’s failed. The light’s gone creamy,

smudged – the edges of the glasses dulled

as they dry on the board, my tea

gone cold in its chipped mug – I’ve been holding it

halfway to my face, listening shocked

and still as though to a break-in at the house

next door. But there’s only him saying oh

baby, fuck – and I look up, past the scrubbed

windowsill with its pile of books,

past the drying-green poles, their slung line

beaded with pegs. Above the woods, a flank

of rain is gathering, bruise-black: it draws up

in front of the sun like a limousine.


In a minute, I’ll watch it take the hill, undo

the road’s chaste sash, the fancy up-dos

of the trees all tossed, all loosed. You’re the

best, he says, in his hot, burned-sugar voice,

and I hear that he’s tired from work – perhaps

he wants a cigarette – yes, he’ll light one when I’ve left

and feel the fist of that old need unclenching,

too. I want to say I love you, but I don’t.

The rain is all around me now, it’s swallowing

the houses whole. It’s really going for it

out here I say, almost without meaning to –

you should see. It’s really coming down hard.

Claire Askew