Friday, 5 December 2014

Regardless of Consent

I circled it, my truth,
like an opponent
that I doubted
I could beat; or, rather,

one I wanted to give in to,
but would make a show
of putting up a fight.
My truth protected me

when it most seemed to hurt;
when it most seemed I would be broken
my truth held me, with its teeth
beside my ear, biting off

the final consonant of 'slut',
and you could call the noise
I made a sob, could call this
degradation, but

I have seen people,
bound and helpless,
smile with sanctity
I never saw in church,

and I have sat in cafes
looking out onto the street
and feeling Buddha-level love
for every passing face I see

because the night before,
somebody beat me up
the way I like it, and
- how long will this be legal?

Physical or verbal abuse
(regardless if consensual)
is only forbidden on video now,
along with

(and, oh, what I could write about those, 

and as to
penetration by any object
associated with violence
- do love beads count? I mean,

I know they're not exactly weapons-grade,
but when I thought that they'd got stuck...
well, that was scarier than being choked
between a lover's thighs) but

when you enclose desire, things tend
to creep: what cannot be seen
can become harder to imagine,
to explain; once an image in motion

is prohibited, the still frame
becomes suspect, once a photo
is forbidden, illustration
seems transgressive, and when

all image is off-limits
then the words which conjure images
speak threat
and must be censored.

And, yes, there are times
when we agree safe limits
to such violence: but the limit
is consent: informed,

enthusiastic - from the Greek
en theos, meaning
'full of God', and really
there is no better description

of this blessing which will never let me go,
this love which only seems like violence from outside,
this truth I circled, circled, circled
for so long, until the knowledge

that what I thought single combat
was instead a mosh pit carnival, 
a battle royal, a free-for-all,
that I was not alone:

this, you disown,
regardless of consent. 
Three words, that's all:
but all the difference

between defending and denying our existence. 

           *           *          *

So, if you're the kind of person who likes my work - and I'm going to assume you are, since you're reading this blog - you'll already be aware of the ludicrous new regulations on online pornography in the UK. As you'll have gathered from one or two of my poems, I enjoy being dominated and, well, beaten up, frankly, in a safe, consensual setting, so the idea that the government has essentially, at a stroke, declared quite a lot of my sex life illegal is a little worrying. Sure, right now it's technically only illegal in the arena of video-on-demand porn produced in the UK, but it's a slippery slope, y'know? And for me, the scariest part of the legislation is 'physical and verbal abuse' being illegal regardless of whether or not those involved consent. This seems, to me, to carry worrying echoes of 'Operation Spanner' and the bad old days of the 1980s. Anyway, I've been wanting to get my thoughts about this thing down poetically, and this is a first, very rough attempt at that. It's going to need knocking into shape later; hopefully it'll take to that as well as I do.

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