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Just before love : poetry, politics, resistance and feminism

avril 1, 2019

Poetry is resistance. Poetry is action, a weapon with no wounds, « a lightening that digs in the reality » (Alexis Nouss). In the obscure times that deny humanity and in the current times of neo-puritanism and censorship, poetry offers a shelter. For women, poetry opens doors and windows and paves a powerful and safe way to fight patriarcat. Safe really? Not always. Mandelstam himself once wrote : « There is always war in poetry ». Erotic poetry, which I conceive and use as a way to invade the territory of eros and sex and to share it with others, with lovers, may still, or again, be considered as pornographic — which it may be, in its noblest sense — and discarded as « bad ».

Recently, in Geneva, Patricia Terrapon, an artist, chose to include one of my poems to her installation in a group exhibition entitled « Preliminaries ». I had written this poem upon her request, and the poem was also chosen as a highlight by New River Press and included in their 2018-2019 prestigious Yearbook. The night of the opening, on March 7, a man (named Michel, I don’t know more about him) and some others complained so loudly about the pornography of the poem in a space where children could be walking by that the scandalous poem had to be removed from the exhibition. It was later reinstalled and read in public on the night of the finissage, on March 31st. Michel and his friends did not show up.

Please enjoy the beauty of Just Before Love below.

And let’s argue : all kids even the most protected do at a certain age watch pornography on internet. Psychologists often say that they should be warned, explained, told that this is not what eros is all about, that sex is also about love, esthetics and transcendence. Now, what is better than a poem to open the windows of imagination and to switch from pornography to eros ?

Furthermore, I claim that for women to occupy as subjects and not merely as objects the territory of eroticism is a way to break stereotypes and to gain more freedom. As it says on the back cover of my poetry collection IVORY HONEY (New River Press, 2018), I also set out to encourage men to recognise that their sexual organ is to give pleasure and make life, though not necessarily together. Pleasure and life – wouldn’t that be a change from the idea that men have about themselves – the eternal predators? The expression of sexual desire by women — in particular, but not only, in poetry — is one path towards the abolition of this deleterious predator-victim relationship between men and women, one path towards more equality, harmony, love; towards sharing and caring and JOY.


Just Before Love

Just before love
He likes to smoke a joint
Then he looks at me
And wants me to play
With my eyes and my smile
As if I were to go
Far away with another
As if I were to dance

Just before love
He likes to watch girls
While touching his balls
And then he looks at me
At my mouth at my lips
Ajar and wet and pink
Playing with my tongue
And my fingers in my mouth

Just before love
He likes me to sniff
From neck to ass
Along his vertebrae
His axilla and to kiss
And to sniff him all over
As if I were an addict
And needs to feel the need

Just before love
His nipples erect
His hair on his thighs
He likes me to ignore
Just for a while then adore
That he is all erect
Erection everywhere
Now show me your tits

© Patricia Terrapon, Sur les traces de Messaline

Just before love
He touches himself
And likes me to Watch
And let me know
I can do it myself
You know look at me
You from below
From everlasting snow

Just before love
Lick it all up
You know, there
Deep in the rainforest
And your tongue everywhere
Let me let me let me
Grasp and strangle
And drown in your night

Just before love
Close your eyes close the world
Comes the night comes the sky
Come, come baby come
Then leave me alone
Alone with myself
Unwillingly and slow
Waiting for death

And after love
Let me let me let me

… and dance again

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