Even men I respect say, that you can't say anything these days. Gone are the times of flirty eyes at the bus stop or across the bar in this age of "me too". And I did think I enjoyed at the time old men giving my fifteen-year-old legs-for-miles the eye. But some of that culture is ready to be crucified and to die. Remember that age of pre-"me too"? when the most common porn search term on your dial-up internet was "teen" and that schoolgirl photo would take a titillatingly long time to load? It was that time before we were shamed if we did and shamed if we didn't what a time to navigate budding sexuality where expressing your own desires was called depravity. We grew up from polly-pocket princesses in those my little pony years nineties girls with scrunchie hair ties at ten we wanted to be Britney Spears. Don't give away too much innocence was so cherry pie sweet like Leeloo in The Fifth Element the perfect dumb sexy babe re-born half naked full of all the world's power. It seems cute. But then I recall visceral nostalgia that hum of the Acorn computers in the IT room with that pervy teacher the smell from the Home-Ec corridor permeating thoughts. How that loud girl the one who later was excluded for her lewdness retelling how she lost her virginity with shameless equanimity to some much older guy. There was a rate load of blood she said with yorkshire aplomb so he stuck her in't bath so she wouldn't stain the carpet Leeloo wouldn't do that such a vulgar screw No one rang social services That was how it was before "me too". I still think of Britney as the epitome of those days queen of the nineties babes but she was a girl interrupted coming of age under all those constraints be innocent be sexual submit to the gaze. Her eyes now on her Instagram tell of loss, tell of silence enforced. Still her father has the right to set her parameters on what she can say and who she can be. Let us nineties babes own our own destinies Let Britney be free.
I'm hearing recently from indignant men that it's not a question at all of perverted masculinity. Behold, the gaslighting giant stomping over the chalk-outline sketch of our map of shared experience Watch him, pour scorn on this flickering candle of feminine unity, but it refuses to be extinguished there's no killing sorority, solidarity like you can kill the female body. It's a question of bad human beings, he says. Individual people. Leave men out of it, you sexists, he says. But I recall, it wasn't a woman whose footsteps followed me home from the club the sweat rising from my body exultant after a night of dancing celebrating youth and sensuality under the stars. How dare I? Feel myself sexy, for me? He had to remind me how weak I should be. It wasn't a woman, who pushed me into that doorway and octopus arms, hairy arms, gorilla arms, that wanted to show me how subservient I should be- no, unfair to compare to those creatures who did me no harm It wasn't a woman's arms It was man's arms It was a man's strength that held me in place to punish me for daring to exist for myself for not doing as expected for his feeling rejected. And of course you're not all to blame, for when I was waiting for a midnight underground train. you're not all the guy who came up behind me, reached up my skirt while showing me his dick like a proud toddler with a new magic trick. I guess it was kind of funny, I tried to tell myself. But why then, did I cry in bed for hours like he'd taken all of my power And left me with shame? I wanted to rid myself of my body which other people, none of them women, had been trying to help themselves to since I was a child. So we've been adding these feelings to a tapestry of experience women weaving these words that the dead can no longer say, a tapestry of testimony is a heavy shroud to wear every day we know it happened to her, and it could happen to us. but they say, and the conviction rates show, that it's not a big deal and what we should consider is how this makes men feel.
There's something triumphal In penetrating forbidden space Breaching the spiked metal barrier Urban warrior In this world where nothing comes free One day some rich man will try to sell us back the air we breathe But just for today feel free. The balmy, calming first spring's breath on the summit of this old quarry cliff my feet carelessly dangle I feel myself entangle with every rooftop the sunlight touches below.
In this city's ancient graveyard: "He died with the full assurance of hope" Hope, so tentative, like the moment the setting sun lights raindrops up gold what a fragile whimsy to be etched with such stony and grave permanence how can one be so sure? I know I am nothing but the surface area the oberfläche of my skin most sensitive and forgotten of the organs trembling, it takes in the nuanced tones of the breeze the whispers of distance between things keeping out the whole world. And yet skin, it's a barrier in more ways than one You remember: soft legs in short shorts in Parisian sun. He's there, I'm here nothing to fear. Yet the burning persistence of lustful desire the space you create the shapes you create combinations of endless legs that enthrall angles which triangulate desire. You remember: how he followed you off the metro Desired to beg, to buy, to steal entry to your innerfläche if that is indeed a word. Then I'm nothing, those eyes don't see me. Every cell becomes deconstructed and reconstructed as fantasy. But isn't that the shape of desire? Fluid and slipping through fingers It goes au delà des choses Like delicate fingers stretching to caress piano keys. This hybrid language is how words fall to me in spring rain but they say I'm a child of this northern town yet I've never felt the breath within the belly of this earth or metal bending to my whim This city shapes me damp seeps into my hips bending my hope flattening it beneath its anvil. And this love I crave. Can it not negate or corrupt my inner temple sanctum? Can it be women as goddesses chanting a mantra? Can it be something heated to extremes that I pour to fill up the surface area of my inner world Can we use the alchemy of our bodies to create fire without burning me up?
You are an intrepid explorer of distant planets and perspective tricks let me lie on my back hugged by the earth and cradle your cool star in my palm. But you are so very far, and even if I was to find you resplendent in a bioluminescent cave of your imagination we can't step outside can't bear this world's blistering radiation. It burns, like a toxic sea, like a cup of tea that burned through degrees of chemically-induced travels through space. And if I could, I'd travel to see the mirages you see in the fountains of illusion so blue. You close your eyes to wish the past anew Even the hologram would do. If only your planet could bend the fabric of spacetime and bring it back to you. And when I open my mouth to offer words of comfort you can't hear because you're travelling through space I only hope your dreams are calm the radar ping in your spaceship The beeping of the hospital alarm. The toxins leave your body and when you return to this place again this disappointing reality that you've already had an overdose of, I just wish I could craft you a little world in miniature out of clay maybe a place with less pain.
Midnight, the city was still like it was painted by oils stored in the attic of a hermit and come to life. I was walking home from her house a night of watching a horror series, I wondered if I was the ghost. We both know what it's like she and I Haunting isn't seeing the face of a ghoul behind you in a bathroom mirror it's in re-treading the streets where they were but five years, eight years later wondering who is the one still alive Haunting's more in what you don't see Non-apparitions. And I walked past the still train station Just one departure remaining for tonight Just a cloud of my breath in sight in case I doubted I was alive. Past the funeral director's in the industrial sector funeralcare, they call it How germanic, to make of it a composite noun. The garage door is an industrial elevator a metal concertina how it must slide to invite the dead neatly inside Hexentreppe, the Germans call that, witch's steps. When I'm dead put me away somewhere that looks like it's at least trying to resemble a church and not a self-storage facility. Strange how the trees are so strong in this city, thrusting up through tarmac and smog a hundred years old. They must be plumbing deep wells beneath, finding something pure in this place. And you see that the yellow line at the edge is painted right over a weed Yellow yolk ragwort re-primed by Alice's mad queen. You feel your head spinning The gods are really trying hard today to crack this head open like an egg.
Picture the scene, the men’s rights group are sat around the table, eating steak, the manliest food a man can eat. Jordan Peterson watches approvingly from a framed portrait on the mantlepiece. Adam says something in his shrew-faced manner. It’s about women, it always is.
Almost all the problems come down to women really. All of them know this. Mark knows he’s better than the rest of them, but even if he does have Marlon Brando eyes its the dead stare behind them that somehow puts women off.
He must figure out how to trick them. He has read all the pick up artists’ guides and has notebooks of his own from rationally and creepily observing social and sexual interactions between the males and females.
The word feminist is uttered. Adam did it by accident. It always triggers an allergic reaction in Braxton, he starts to change colour, the anger and fury are familiar to his womenfolk, all of whom have abandoned him long ago. It’s too much for his heart. He goes into cardiac arrest on the floor. Jim Shalt leaps to the rescue and starts to do chest compressions, he wants to get into heaven after all even if he was too judgemental for all the conventional churches.
He has a special relationship with God. He knows he is doing God’s work, others just wouldn’t understand it. Things have got dark in the men’s rights club recently. Mark feels a twinge of excitement as the life goes out of Braxton’s eyes, he’s not felt that in a while. Did watching too much bdsm and snuff porn deaden his emotions? He wonders if he’s a psychopath. Recently, killing is all that can get him really aroused.
Braxton sputters and a shred of roast beef shoots out and besmirches the JP portrait, Adam quickly runs to wipe it clean with a sponge. One must keep a tidy house. It’s one of the twelve rules. Respect JP. His benevolent fatherly gaze seems to suggest approval.
Mark knows he should be the leader of the men’s rights group. One day he’ll write an anti-feminist manifesto. Braxton is no longer a worthy leader, he demonstrates too much irrationality and emotion, its bringing down their credibility. So is Shalt with his ridiculous faith, its less rational than a woman on her period.
But the overthrow will have to wait. For now he is still useful. He does not want to be a beta male, the meritocracy is real, he knows it. Everyone who has power in the world deserves to be there. That is the natural order. Things are the way the are and that is right and just. The oppressed deserve to be there and the rich deserve to be there. Capitalism is good. You have to be ruthless to get to the top, dog eat dog. That’s why he got a scholarship. It doesn’t matter that his parents paid the other eighty percent of the fees. It still counts. His sister was an idiot, but he is a genius, but of course, with her female brain and inability to comprehend transitive logic what did you expect? It’s biology.
Braxton has a plan to make them wealthy, and its already underway. Once they have money they will have influence, they will be mighty alphas. All women want is the dollar, then they’ll be on their knees with their hand firmly tied behind their backs.
Braxton recovers his composure and staggers to the mantlepiece to bring a wooden box to show the group. A silence falls in the room as it is placed on the table. A strange musty smell emanates from it as he opens the lid. This is what he and Mark have been doing in secret.
It contains what look like shrivelled sun dried tomatoes. Shalt knows about this but not every part. These are the clitorises harvested from Braxton’s whores. It’s not mutilation. It’s modification. It will save these women and allow them to enter the kingdom of heaven, we are doing the Lord’s work, thinks Shalt, They will lose the incentive to have non-productive sinful congress. They will regain their morality. Yes, we are doing good.
If the rich deserve to be there, how does that explain how we are all such losers though? wonders Mark. It’s easy to see why Adam is pretty much a janitor with his shrew face. Still, life is SO much easier for women. I bet Artemis just flirted her way into that job.
Despite appearing the most asexual person you could picture, this is a trick of Adam’s too. Showing students to their room who come from authoritarian states is a good way to get out your natural urges and help them realise their potential as women. They didn’t say no. Does it matter that they had a poor grasp of English and probably thought he was someone important they mustn’t say no to or they would be ejected from the university and sent home?
Women should be naturally submissive, and they always want it really. They love being dominated. Even if they don’t know they want it, they want it. Most rapes are made up after the event when they regret it. Real rapes are so rare really they’re almost extinct. Then women use rape as a tool to attack men! When they wanted it! Straight white men have it the worst in the world now. Because of feminists.
But they’re fighting back. Witch doctors and millionaire perverts with special sexual interests will pay big money for these pointless organs. Is the female orgasm even real anyway? They’re doing them a favour, and with money comes power. Two birds, one stone. Put the women in their place and they’ll be wet for the power.
Braxton and Mark haven’t told the others about the snuff films, these were the real moneymakers. Those women loved to be dominated. They died happy. The smell of decomposing body parts in his bedroom had started to disconcert his housemates. Everyone wondered why he’d been asked to move for that reason despite not appearing a particularly unhygienic person.
Then Mark brought out his final most impressive creation. A necklace made of shrivelled penises. This was a custom request for a rich pervert on the Dark Web. He’d harvested them from men he’d fucked in toilets. Homosexuals are anomalies anyway and serve no biological function and therefore no purpose. But it’s not gay if you are only doing it cos you can’t get a woman.
Jim Shalt faints. He can’t take any more. The others know that with this million dollars they will be rich. Holt wakes up and mutters a prayer to the holy Father, the others nod in the most manly way they can at the portrait of JP. Adam has to try to do this several times til he gets it right. It’s not easy for him, but he tries. He doesn’t want to disappoint JP. Peterson looks back at them with his admirable rationality and for a second they think they see the fatherly love they all crave in his eyes.
The elephants are trooping stoically round the drapery concealing your filthy bedchamber but I don't mind cigarette stained mottled wallpaper This place is a crippled b n b run into disrepair by smoke-soaked desperate lonely men. maybe the wiring is dodgy and I'm here alone for the first time the peace of three sedatives the tide of cocaine-clenched intense waves receding and laying bare a drenched shore of sea glass and lesser spotted treasures. we dont need luxury but why is the the world ordered by principles of cruelty and exploitation maybe the bedsit has a lingering aroma of despair but your few outré possessions that ancient dresser we hauled from the other side of town I opened it tonight and found a treasure chest greater than that of Jeff Bezos' grotesque wealth How they reduce human life and love To exploitable commodities That's not love Love is the richness of smelling Your old band t-shirts Choosing one to wear and reclining in this bedsit hovel Cocooned in blankets awaiting your return. They think we have no power we're rats to use or mites to crush if we don't comply But they will never know how this feels to gorge on love alone we'll find the depths of our souls In a cavern of blue-john stones. fuck it, marry me.
Seven years and you only come to me in flashes like a sucker punch to the gut. Jumping at my own shadow. Seven years feels like yesterday, they say safety behind cliché Yet it's been time enough to birth two new universes to release the string theory of the parallel world where you're still alive to let those futile threads slip from my grip It's been time enough for a new cartography to be drawn up on my face tracing a map: despair valley bittersweet crest seven years of tidal emotion like a river carrying immovable boulders downstream an inch a year. If it feels like yesterday why are things decomposing around me? petals flying from end-of-summer poppies Even the last living thing to embrace you with benevolent indifference to share your living warmth has disease crawling up inside her. They didn't notice the inward hollowing Til pestilence had overcome her. It takes an act of violence to draw attention. Will they choose the axe or the chainsaw? Lend some romance to destruction? Will people come to gape then? To see the spectacle of mighty beauty fallen. When it's time for the seven decades maple To reveal her rings of time to the world? Headphones in, hood up how easy it was to avoid the gaze of others when you were alive you ceased to exist in plain sight. But they sure came to gawp when you left behind your human trunk They laid it carefully in a walnut box. Then they walked away and forgot, Not all of them, and for sure not me. Maybe you're the last one who would understand how I can mourn a tree? Because as the leaves budded each year It whispered to me a comforting susurration and I knew you wanted me to persevere. It will be turned into sawdust Like they turned you to ashes And there'll be nothing left to see.
Concentric circles in whirlpools like train wheels sparking and shrieking can't stop jaw clenching I've spent all day falling hurtling through watery countryside into despair. Rock doves on this train platform once were sweet, rosy, caged darlings taken from the cliff face and tamed to accept gentle caresses then cast out, estranged from their nest, their cliff crest to be scorned winged-vermin you declare then unworthy fit only for purging. And if I'm your love still even with wings torn and battered by dereliction reach out and hold me before the abyss rises to greet me maybe it's too much to ask to be stable after all, we're in love with how the sea changes, with sharp rocks and danger. Is it denying you freedom, to want you to lean on? Will you be preoccupied with feathery plumage of fussing semantics so that you don't see me to save me from falling?