Discover more from Perverse
I hope you’ve had a good weekend! There’s not much I want to say this week, so I’ll simply hope that you enjoy these wonderful poems, and leave you with this lovely quote from Henry Miller’s Open Letter to Surrealists Everywhere:
“One only begins to comprehend when one begins to stop trying to know.”
Enjoy this week’s poems!
(FYI if you are reading this on a mobile phone, it may be best to turn the phone sideways. Some of the poems are displayed as images, so make sure you’ve clicked “show images” at the top of this mail. If you'd rather read these poems in a PDF you can do so here, in this archive of previous issues.)
with my hand inside of you / I let go
of it / the same way I had watched a woman / gently finger a canary’s nest
replacing the real eggs / with a couple of dummies
this is how far we were willing to go / even knowing
the body’s winged desire / to break down / whatever it takes inside of itself
our desire / to take whatever / to break down the self
was stronger / than the skin-thin membrane
of the featherlight condom / how we believed we were making space
in the body / instead of finding it
Once, an online lover told me
he wanted to wear me like a glove
puppet. Another showed me a picture
of rigid black handcuffs, said satin is better
under the fingers, lace better against the tongue.
I told him I prefer velvet and freedom
of movement. A woman wanted me
to take three trains so she could warm
almond oil in the well of her cupped hand,
push marzipan palms into the small
of my back, trace the bumps of my spine
with the pads of her fingers, swoop
thumbs over the sharp lines and popping
gristle of each scapula. Wanted me
to do the same for her, rub her body until
she is soft and singing, skin glistening.
Another asked me the diameter of my
areola, made a guess, offered a range,
and, tape taut and tickling, I measured
across the ripe peach plush.
City of Mouth
“At the same time, if the man indicates his desire for this act, he first refuses then, having protested, devotes himself to it” – Kama Sutra (trans. Alain Daniélou)
I watch him turn again at the invitation, here’s Dick
Whittington looking at London disdainfully,
not for a gold pavement, but Oh, look at you, you
losers, I’ll give you some genuine dick to suck,
city of pussy boys, city of mouth, city of mine.
Another dinner for the mayor, rows and rows of mouths,
the committees on drains, committees on prostitution,
gagging with the correct approach: they’ll have to refuse
whatever’s offered, but doing their job dictates
devotion to the task, once it’s been accepted.
Whittingtons were my ancestors: not famous Dick,
he had no descendants, but strapping farm boys ploughing
the soil on the fringes of London, feeding the mouths.
They gave of their fertility till they had to turn
towards the hungry city as it sucked them in.
The city belongs to the one who has awarded himself
the keys: the city of fleas and lumpy mattresses will be
open to his turning. Three more times Lord Mayor
up on the hill with the pussycat rubbing his leg, tail
erect, and his own ambition making him hard again.
“Non muore chi non é mai nato.” – Pier Paolo Pasolini
B Twinn (she/her) is a poet working on her first pamphlet. You can find her on X @btwinnpoetry.
Note on ‘plug’:
“In my work I am interested in exploring the power dynamics between ‘the body’ and ‘the self’; namely how, and where, these align or stray from one another. ‘plug’ attempts to present the body as a space that blurs the binaries between safety and danger, pleasure and pain, vulnerability and strength, and exposure and containment.”
Emma Filtness (she/her) is a queer, disabled lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University London. She primarily works across poetry and life writing, and particularly enjoys hybrid and experimental writing practices. Follow her on Twitter @em_filtness
Note on ‘Soft Play’:
“I adore and admire poets (particularly women and queer poets) who centre sex and/or the sensual in their collections, especially those who so frankly and tenderly address the body, pleasure, desire and the complexities of shame. I’d like to thank Richard Scott, here, who both writes and speaks beautifully about these. ‘Soft Play’ is my own personal response to these themes, as well as a contribution to bi visibility and a move towards sex-positive writing.”
Peter Daniels received a Creative Writing PhD at Goldsmiths with his third poetry collection, My Tin Watermelon (Salt, 2019). He translated Vladislav Khodasevich from Russian (Angel Classics, 2013), and wrote the obscene Ballad of Captain Rigby (Personal Pronoun, 2013).
Note on ‘City of Mouth’:
“One of the local cafes had lots of books lying around, and Daniélou’s translation of the Kama Sutra drew my attention. I was looking through the queer parts, as I would, and found a couple of extracts that I’ve used for poems including this one. The part about the Whittington family is true. (It’s said to be a bad translation, by the way!)”
J. Roycroft’s work has appeared in The Stinging Fly, Abridged, The Bare Hands Anthology, & The SHOp, amongst others. He lives and works in Dublin.
Note on ‘PASTORALE’:
“‘Pastorale’ is another poem, one of a series without portfolio, I find myself writing every now and again, all involving Pier Paolo Pasolini. The source of the obsession is clearer: the film, Theorem. The entire world is contained within that film, and this poem is another attempt to unpack a very small piece of it.”
Warren Czapa lives and works in London. His poems have been published by Magma, Poetry Bus, Burning House Press, Black Bough, Verve and Babel Tower Notice Board. His work has been longlisted for the Troubadour International Poetry Prize and commended in the Verve Festival Poetry competition. He recently completed an MA in Poetry at Royal Holloway University.
Note on ‘eel’:
“‘eel’ grew out of a workshop with Rachael Allen after I had mostly recovered from a serious illness. The tensions and confusions of the process were already feeling eel-like and the more I found out about eels, the stronger the association became. Originally, the poem was a pantoum to reflect recovery work’s repetitive nature, but eventually the eel had other ideas.”