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The way He saw Her

I take a deep breath and look around. S is crying. N is crying. Someone who’s name I don’t know is crying. I’m trying to wipe away the tears from my face. Everyone around me is looking slightly dazed, slightly confused. I breathe out, feeling as if there are too many people around me, join N outside as he is enjoying a cigarette. It feels almost as if we have played ourselves, or watched something so intense that it feels as if we have played. S is expressing how she felt that she was watching something private, something which she was not supposed to watch. I’m trying to find some kinds of words for it, and N is doing the same. We give up pretty quickly.

Sometimes, you see something which hits you right in your gut.  It is often unexpected and you need time to process it. Take time to find a way in which you can express what it was, because no words seem to make it justice. Not only are the words insufficient, but how can we even describe something which is so intrinsically tactile? I know photographers makes attempts, and some makes darn good ones. But it is still not the same. That is why it has taken this long to write this.

I had only seen a couple of videos with Naka Akira. Plenty of photos. But for me, none of then had really captured me, they were not luring me into the shadows of what he does so brilliantly. Beautiful rope that is for sure, but it had not left me with a lingering sensation. It had felt distanced.
That is why, when Naka and Iroha sat down on stage, I was not prepared. I was not prepared for the way in which he sat, not behind her as we usually see, but slightly off center in front of her, carefully seeking her gaze, meeting it and boom. A chill down my spine. I know that kind of look. It is one where my partner is not focussed on what I’m wearing, or what tie they will use or the next transition. It is one in which they see me, who I am. My desires, my longings, my weaknesses and my strengths. I wish I could explain this in any other way than this projecting my own feelings and experiences, but it is rather hard. That moment when he caught her eyes, she met his and looked away slightly before looking back, that is also when they caught me as an audience. This is a conversation that happens through the gaze, through the eyes and staying aware of what they express.

As he tied her into his signature highhanded gote, there was a calmness to it all. A stillness, placing her where he wants her to be and there is a different kind of objectification that usually does not appeal to me. I guess I am quite oversaturated with objectification of female bodies, how ever beautiful they are. What was not seen in many of the photos as well as being hard to detect in the few videos, is that Naka Akira’s gaze is so strong you can feel it in the audience, even if his complete focus is on Iroha. Raising her to standing up, he ties her legs tightly together and she could technically stand up (there is enough space) but she is leaning her whole body into the ropes. Iroha-style. Every single moment can be a photography of Norio, but this is different, because it is live and she meets his gaze everyonce in a while, before looking away again. As he continues to tie more and more ropes he is slowly revealing her. This is not the classical ‘slowly sliding the kimono over the shoulders’ move at the beginning of the performance that we have gotten so used to, it is much more methodical, not calculated but slower. Portions of vulnerability dished out and I can’t stop watching, while still feeling more and more like an invader.

He gagged her, slowly, with cloth, several of them, three in fact. When the last cloth went over her mouth, there was no way she could do anything but whimper.

As the performance went on, he tied her into a twisted facedown suspension, legs high, her beauty and strength exposed. He sits, looks at her again, she is breathing and processing. Hair getting tied. A flogger comes out and he hits her. The louder she gets, the more he push through the hit of the flogger. Harder and harder as you heard him breathing out every time the flogger hit down upon her.. She starts sobbing, and when she does, he is right next to her, holding her face in his hands, and suddenly, it does not feel like its about them anymore. Naka san had mentioned his mentor, Nureki, who has passed away just a couple of weeks earlier. This was him and Iroha paying homage to him, a farewell.

During the Q&A that followed it became quite clear how fond he is of what we would call a Showa period style of rope. Akira Naka does not work with carabiners or rings, he uses rope and bamboo as points of suspension as he feels the clash of metal and rope is not compatible. In an interview that followed, he was himself left wondering of why we see his style as ‘old’ or ‘historical’, it would not be a category he would use, he just feels that he ties rope and that is it. The ties are all harder on the partners’ body than even the most difficult ones showed by many other Japanese Masters. The focus is on the model, exposing her (it is almost always a her) and they are about creating angles, exposing and pulling the suffering out to be seen. Not flashy and fast, but slow and steady, a gradual build up that becomes meditative, a different type of flow and fluidity that does not seek speed at all. He is not always overtly close to his model, but always there, always present. Naka has the ability to sit back and watch, just watch, and seeing his partners inner experience unravelling. If there is something I learned from this, it was to take even more time, to dare to take a couple of steps back.
When Iroha later was asked how it was for her to show that kind of emotion on stage she answered that the audience does not matter. “You can see us but we cannot see you” , that their world is just their own. That is what we were witnessing, the world they created through the rope and through the eyes, and it was what made me cry. The way they saw each other, and the way the paid homage to someone who had just passed away.

Thank you Naka-san and Iroha-san. I will always be grateful for those moments that you share.

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LFARJB 2011- Saturday

Ooopsie daisy. I found this the other day. 2012’s festival is soon coming up. I’m not sure I have anything from the Sunday or Monday written down anywhere, but I think it will have to be a ‘perhaps, maybe’ kind of thing.

On the Saturday, 2nd day of the festival, our little group of rope lovers all fell asleep on the train in the morning when going to Resistance Gallery. We got there a bit late (again) and by then, the schedule for the day had already been subjected to a reshuffle. The Japanese team were jet lagged and needed some rest, so others stepped in and did their classes or classes on other topics. I must admit I was terribly bad at keeping check on what went on during the day time, as it flew by so very quickly. Wykd Dave did his class on tension while Esinem held a beginners class upstairs, which went on during the day. I found myself walking around, looking at what was happening as well as relaxing. My two friends, one who has just only recently started to explore rope, went in very enthusiastically with all of his energy to learn as much as possible, and for others I offered myself up to be a demo-bottom. After a couple of intense weeks previously to the festival, with a lot of tying, I was quite happy to just kick back and relax. The mezzanine got very warm very quickly. That weekend was  sunny and very warm, and while we were  inside with ropes, the sun heated the building. A fan will probably be appropriate for next year, as people who walked down the stairs from the mezzanine were sweating like they had just been in a sauna. Rope can indeed get you flustered.

As a side-note, for the organizers, during the Saturday, the information was better displayed then on Sunday. Although the chalk-board worked as well as it could, those who arrived later during the day found it a bit confusing to find all the information. All in all, the festival was busier than ever, with more amazing rope going on, but for next year, the challenge will be to develop the organisation of the festival itself and focus on the small things which makes it even better for the visitors. One lecture which was very engaging and I would say vital, was Esinem’s talk on nerve injury. He was joined doing this by Wykd Dave. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this talk, and yet, I make sure I always try to listen as if it was the first time hearing it. Give the document a read if you yet have not done so, do this regardless if you bottom or top with rope, that is my advice. To no surprise, the Q&A section of this talk was buzzing, and had to continue even if Esinem had to leave to continue doing the beginners classes upstairs. Due to different reasons, I did not have time to stop and sit down to listen to talk and demo on Hojojutsu by Strange Love. During the day, Esinem performed with Ika. Previous to the show, he had written:

Whilst most have been busy practising their shows, I have been busy not practising.  In part this is due to logistics, as my model does not arrive till Friday, but it is also a case of attempting to practice what I preach. In other words, I believe passion wins over emotionless precision every time.  Anyway, if I properly get into a rope scene, I become lost in it and there is no way I would ever manage to follow a rehearsed set. So, I have decided to “let The Force be with me” and rely on the connection with Ika to guide me.  It remains to see whether I can make the grade as a rope Jedi or will crash and burn …either way, I plan to keep it real!

A

And keeping it real he did. While I missed the beginning of the performance, a friend of mine did a recap. Esinem started with a floorbased  ichi-nawa session, very distinct to his style. You can see it here. Up close, fully embracing Ika, playing with balance  moving her back and forth, off balance, utilising all of the small nuances that are so important to kinbaku. Ika was then tied into a TK and a futo momo, partially suspended sideways and had wax dripped over her body. It was at this point I came into the room, and to my surprise, the soundtrack was one from the operas,  and

other classical pieces. An interesting contrast to the music that you usually hear in rope performances. What followed, I saw Esinem demonstrate how it is possible to make the untying seamless from the tying, and in the end, Ika was rather wobbly legged and had to be helped off stage.

The evenings’ performances started off with something really special. Yui Namiko . I first met this shy firecracker in Berlin a week earlier, where she was Kinoko’s model. During that week I slept at Schwelle7 and got to see her both in practice as a bottom, as well as on her own, + a performance for the crowd at the playparty in Berlin. All left me rather….flustered, as her presence and passion is somewhat out of the ordinary. Tiny, smiley and though as nails, determined as no other. In London, Yui entered the stage with dimmed lights carrying a large candle, dressed in a kimono with several layers of sheer fabrics and cotton ropes tied around her body as decorations. Her performance cannot be described in any other way but as a demonstration of her love of ropes. First, it evoked a sense of loss, sorrow and mourning within me and I thought that the candle represented someone close who was with her anymore, but after thinking more about this, I decided to revise this notion and instead focus on the story she told us with her body, without having some kind of  imagined ghost from the past lingering in my imagination. If there was any loss, it was her loosing herself completely into the ropes, with acrobatics and movement very rarely seen. She peeled layers of layers of clothing off her body, and the striptease aspect was heavily ingrained with the way in which she stripped herself raw, revealing layers of herself through the ropes. Every movement was deliberate, as an illustration of specific feeling; a story written and told with the body, all for art.  To say it was a night of wax-candles it not to exaggerate. Yui herself lit candles that were tied into a bundle of and traced it over her body,and there was no way of escaping this, no way to stop watching (not that you wanted). She drew all of us in, as she poured the wax over herself whilst still being suspended.  The candles burned close to her body, the drips  of wax falling into her face, into her hair. Yui held us in a tight grip from start to finish and afterwards, when she left the stage on shaky legs, she had the whole crowd in the palm of her hand, standing and cheering her name. When she peaked out from the balcony back stage area she was meet with even more cheers. If it wasn’t that she had given us all, we would probably would have asked for an encore.

The next performance was from one of the Peer Rope London crew, Will Hunt, who tied the wonderful Rabbitbunnie and Zahara. This was something completely else. Will Hunt was the guy dressed in black who had caught an innocent lady, Rabbitbunnie, who was prim and proper in a pussy bow blouse and a pencil skirt. Hunt is not someone who hesitate to pull a punch, and the tempo went from 0 to 100 in less than 30 seconds.

With somewhat of a new take on the damsel in distress, set to music by She Wants Revenge, Hunt was rather terrifying and Rabbitbunnee played the damsel so very convincing, demonstrating a growing panic, but also screaming her lungs out, resisting, trying to get away from the brutal Hunt.  He tied her into a TK while tossing her around, and if Esinem previously had played with balance with Ika, the way in which Hunt had Rabbittbunnie like a rag doll was a much more  extreme example of this. While it looked rough and aggressive, it was also controlled. This kind of physicality also came through when he started to ripping the blouse open, tearing her skirt up, flipping her forwards across his knee to tie her leg. Rather than him moving,he kept her moving around him, like a cat playing with a mouse; catch and release.

As his frenetic aggression started to make her submit physically, we suddenly were all surprised as he brought out Zahara, covered up by a trench coat. As he uncovered her, he showed her off. She was already tied into a tight 3 rope Takate Kote, he smiled, and giggle rippled through the audience.I laughed, because it made me feel a bit like the classic cooking show; “Here is the one I made earlier!” but with a much darker undertone obviously. This damsel was completely different to Rabbitbunnes’, as she had surrendered completely to his will, completely letting go into the ropes, showing no sign of struggle.  They all looked at each other for a moment, him grinning, Zahara completely calm and centred, Rabbitbunne on the ground, struggling to breathe slowly after her ordeal.

He quickly the attached a suspension line to the TK, and suspends her face down, in a very sharp angle so that she is almost diving down, before it is evened out.  The only points of suspension at this point is the TK and one ankle and this is how the suspension remains; yes, Zahara is a tough one. Securing the points, Will then took out wax candles, and a lighter run by gas.

He lit it with another huge grin and for the second time made the audience giggle. Zahara turned into a chandelier, watching down upon her co-prisoner. As Zahara came down, he positioned them next to each other and started untying. During this time, Rabbitbunnie sought to get the attention from her, to wake her up, to make her realise what situation she was in. But Zahara were lost, in the ropes, perhaps the Stockholm syndrome. A favourite moment of mine during this show were these still seconds, captured so beautifully in this photo.

These contrasts, with Rabbitbunnie’s desperation, wanting to escape his aggression and Zahara’s stillness, acceptance of her predicament, showed us a classic story about the damsels in distress, with signposts that were still rather wonderfully kitsch in its portrayal of the bad guy; add then also excellent rope work, showmanship, control and technical skills. Speaking of technical skills, the untying of the two damsels were done in a tandem, right hand working on untying one of the TK’s, left hand on the other, never relinquishing his control over the situation. support, or attention from Zahara, who was completely still.

The next performer was  Pedro & Karina.  Tying with no music what so ever, only a history being told by a voice in a microphone, we heard of Karina, who had disgraced her family and thus had to be punished by being exhibited, tied up on public display. The story, narrated by the excellent Mac added much of the feel.  Pedro, dressed in black with the classical black glasses embodied a type of kinbakushi we rarely see in this day of  age; the distant shadow. All the focus here was on her exposed body that made us into the ultimate voyeurs, the exposure and the intention of the humiliation of being on display, tied up. We did not get the flashy, fast rope, nor explosive transitions, but instead a slow build up of a situation, a scene, also illustrated by the changing of the setting of the light which marked the passing of yet another day. We get very used of seeing a specific type of rope here, and have often quite rigid ideas about what it should be like, that it gets easy to forget where it comes from and different expressions of it. It has not always been the kind of ‘connected’ experience that we like to push it, there are other factors there, playing with shame, but furthermore, also playing with a total kind of objectification, in which the object is the female body being tied up for display, and the subject of the rope artist is the person enabling this. If looking at rope and forgetting about the history, the background, and much of its present use, and denying these specific pornographies which are still very much alive and kicking, if we remove this, we would commit some serious cultural appropriation. Pornography or not, rope is multifacetted, and through Pedro’s historical reminder which was also very beautiful and technically excellent and innovative.

Next up on stage were Wykd Dave and Clover. The calm of the previous performance was gone, this was a performance with a lot of sadism, adrenaline and insanely beautiful bottoming. The way in which Clover totally surrenders into the ropes is rather extraordinary. Suited up, Dave cut the dress off Clover, and started tying her into a sidesuspension, , moving into a futo momo, using a lot of wax as well as a couple of cane strokes. Clover always look remarkable in rope, and my friend noted how Dave controlled each and every part of the performance, even when they bowed to the audience. You can find a video of the performance here.

Max and Tina came on stage next. This is a couple who have tied only with each other for more than 10 years. He does not tie anyone else and she is not tied by anyone else. Seeing them work together thus become very personal, intimate. The first thing you note is the focus of Max. His eyes, firmly fixed on Tina sent chills down my spine, in a good way one might add, and probably down Tina’s as well.

 The drums pushed this performance very much.  Tina was tied into a beautiful, slick face down suspension with both of her legs in futo momo’s which more or less had become the new black of this festival, a tie which featured a lot both in private play as well as on stage. But still, the way in which it featured in this performance made it really beautiful and unique.
Attaching clamps with bells on that then were slapped off with the help of a towel, Max followed the tradition of the evening, which was really about a lot of sadomasochism. There was a different pace here though, slow, controlled, almost settled way of moving, with outbursts of energy. Tina herself looking very strong and beautiful in the ropes, working not against, but with the ropes. Tied into a tough guyaku ebi (face down suspension) with both of the legs in futo momo’s it was a performance which was truly memorable.

And I’m sorry dear readers. But this is as much as I will write about the festival 2012.  The post is more than one year old now, and it is time to let it go. Time for new adventures. But this has really been nostalgic.

See you on the flipside.


Languages of rope

Backlogs finally being posted here. Have not felt like writing that much nor have had the time. But am now looking forward to put up some of the backlogs as well as perhaps starting to write on other stuff. Hopefully, I will be able to move away from the complete rope focus in some time a head and find my way back to some of the queer politics. 

Nawakiri Shin, a dear friend of mine, translated something I wrote a while ago into  into Chinese and put it on his website. Sooner or later this is going to make me big-headed, but for now I mostly feel very happy and honoured about seeing my writing being spread to a completely different audience.
You can read it here if you are interested in Chinese, the original English one a bit further down in this post. But first I would like to muse a bit on language..

It is strange though, how passions can transgress any written or spoken language; tying with someone who does not speak the languages I know have never been a problem. But when it comes down to speaking, writing, exchange of words, it gets trickier. There is so much knowledge out there, so much love for what we do, but language barriers sometimes prevents the sharing of this. But people like Shin or NuitDeTokyo, as well as internet and technology, is slowly changing this. Because you know what? I think we want to interact, in one way or another. We want to know more, feel more, live more to varying degrees.

Language can also be about privilege. Who can speak what, which language is favoured and how does it act towards those who do not speak? In opening up and making sure that many voices are heard, listened to and interacted with, we can destabilise defaults and connect with each other.

Comparing rope as a language to the written or spoken word, I can sometimes find that one has more possibilities than the other, but they are not mutually exclusive. We need to do more rope, to listen more to each other, let images inspire but also words and actions of those who we admire. Rope is a language of the body, neither neutral or always objective, but always evolving and ever changing. I want to be the same, to strive not for perfection or becoming ‘better’, not a goal orientated vision of what we can do with ourselves, our bodies and our minds, but one in which we seek to understand each other more, respect and admire and learn because of learning itself. The journey you know?

Time for me to stop rambling. Thank you for reading. And thank you Nawakiri Shin for translating, FrenchLibertine for being an awesome rope partner, and Jenis for taking the wonderful photos:

I was tying with French Libertine again, but it was a different occasion than usual. Jenis had kindly offered to take some photos and even kinder was Esinem, who let us work in his wonderful studio. I wanted to do some floorwork, and some partials, as I felt ready to move like that with rope again, focussing less on the technical. And to be honest, it was great spending the Valentines with people I adore, and doing stuff which is great. Before I got there, sitting on the bus, I had an idea in my head about creating something visual in the same time as getting really close. To work in that studio also added tons of feeling to it, with its decor and the tatami flooring. If you have never heard the sound of rope and tatami, I can only try to describe it.
Rope for me will always be more than just yarn. It has so many specific properties, and when you find the perfect rope and tying together with someone, nothing is as good as exploring all the elements of it. You know that sound when you snap a coil open? How it sounds when it passes through your hands? The creaks when it is pulled tightly, the sound when it reacts to its own tension. When you have rope and bodies over a tatami mat, or wooden floor, it is like an orchestra. Kneeling on the tatami mat, that is the slow tap on the stand which the conductor do to signal that we are about to start. The conductor, her body, and the bodies of the orchestra; the rope bottom, the environment around them. Then, we have the overture, slowly building something up, the strings working, the bass setting a baseline and a first inkling of a perhaps reoccuring tune; the sound which characterises not just the overture, but how the whole piece will move you.

After having kneeled on the floor, my tapping on the stand consisted of focussing on a point just above the shoulders, watching first if there was any tension, then my right palm between her shoulders, to feel. In those moments, I had captured her attention, allowing her to rest into the tunes, her feeding the notes back to me. A slow shudder, she took a deep breath; in and out. And I could not help but to prolong that moment, you know the moment when the conductor has tapped in for attention and up to the point she lowers their hands to mark the beginning of the overture. No hurry, just anticipation. I took a deep breathe in, as I pulled the first rope towards me, and unsnap the coil is next to her ear. She shudders at the sound, that very Pavlovian response. The first rope is felt, before it even touched her skin. And then it did. Traced over her shoulder, then over her chest. A simple TK, tying it with tactility, not forgetting about technique but working more on tempo and what is underneath the ropes and in them, rather than the ropes themselves.

Her body provided me with cues, like a lead violinist and her string, the conductor conducts but also moves with that lead, the almost extravagant body language of the lead violinist, so that the rest of the strings can follow. But then, looking at the pictures from the session, when I finalised the TK with a wrap between the breasts, I was looking at the rope, rather than her. I actually did not realise I was doing that. On one level I can really understand why and where it comes from; having that focus on the ropes the last couple of months makes you look at the ropes more than the person. I’m slowly coming out of that headspace, and looking forward to it. All along while tying, the rope moved across the tatami, across her body, the rest of the music piece came out, intense sounds and small thumps.Having finished the TK, I continued towards creating the visual element. Tying her leg, tightly, but not really resisting the urge to close my mouth around her knee. The French Libertine let out a small whimper.
As I continued a quite simple partial, I kind of forgot the camera, but kept focus on my rope-bottom, and the vision in front of me. Watching the photos, I think I have now learned one thing; get my arse out of the way. Not being used to creating visual images for someone who takes photos, I did what I usually do; being very close, moving around a lot. That does not really work, if one wants to create images with a focus on the rope bottom and the rope.

Having finished the leg tie, I then did some rope in the face, as well as pulling the other leg backwards, making the partial more demanding. And when we had finished I remembered how much I love tying like this. There will be more to come. But if there is someone with a camera, I’ll just have to remember to be every now and again step away.


Thirsty

I’m in a bit of a emotionally weird place right now. Have done some writing that is rather disjointed, but hey, I’ll put it here anyway. Some of it relates to what is happening now and is written by other wonderful writers, some is just stuff I needed to get out of the system.

Cold Tiles

‘Can I join you?’

Can we ever get close enough, comfortable enough with each other? You only asked that first question then. I ask myself the other questions now. Ask myself why I must be heard or seen to feel like I exist.

But that time, when I nodded and you entered the shower, I did not see anything else but you. Slightly shivering shoulders, face down, the small bathroom filling up with steam. I love the way he touch my body, with such care and devotion. Lathering my body with shower lotion, front and back. He kneeled and I put my foot on his knee, allowing him to soap it in. Then the other leg. Then showering it all off. All with the same devotion. Same care.

We exist in our bubble in this bathroom, in our shower. We exist and feel in this water because that is the only thing we can do, because that is where our bodies push us, our minds knowing without rationalising anything.

At first my fingers force their way into your mouth, then my whole fist. It can rest there, fill up that willing orifice of yours, you are still kneeling in the shower. The stream of water hits your face and you are hulking, both from the water that tricks its way up your nose and from my fingers that gently tickle the back of your throat. I remove my hand, move the shower head closer to your face and you try so hard to not loose your breath. You try so hard. The breathe that is left I steal through a kiss, try to suck as much oxygen from you as I can. It makes you dizzy, especially as I pull you up on your feet, press you against the tiled wall, press your face against the cold surface with one hand in your neck. You shiver and moan, I press. With my other hand, I trace the bones of your spine, the water is still showering across my back. It is a landscape, marked by valleys, muscles, smooth tanned skin, that skin with all that it contains. I can’t get enough of your skin, cannot dig deep enough into it.

I rest my hand at his lower back a minute or so, just at the curve of his ass. His buttocks tense first, then relaxing, pressing the ass against my hip I laugh quietly, pull his head back, force him to arch even more. Whisper in his ear something about how cold the tiles of the wall are, how easy it is to slam his body into that wall until it is not fun anymore. He moans, and then draws in his breath quickly, as my finger slowly slides into his arse. I don’t need a strap on to fuck this man, I don’t need my femme cock at all, it is in my head anyway, and the feeling of his arse around my finger make me want more. More of him. All him. Want to fill him, like a tide, want to fill him until he nearly drowns and I will have to kiss him to life again.
He arches his back now without me having to pull his head back, and his face fits so well against the tiles, I’m pressing him into the wall, pressing it, distorting it against the surface as I fuck his arse, grind my crotch against his arse, slow but hard, his hands trying supporting his weight by resting against the wall. It is like I have told him to puts his hands above his head, to surrender completely. But I have not uttered those words. I fuck his arse until I come. 1 finger. Two fingers. Three fingers. He shivers, not just his shoulders, but the whole of him. Kiss his back, I tell him I love him. That he did well. That he needs a shower. The water is still warm, the steam in the room has erased any possibility to see yourself in the mirror.
I step out of the shower, tell him to kneel, remove the shower head from the stand. Turn it to cold. He screams first when the ice cold water hits him. The whimpers. 30 seconds of ice cold water. His body must feel like it is burning from the cold. The human body can mistake cold for heat, the feeling of it becomes the same, a burning sensation.

I turn off the shower. ‘Stay there’. Don’t move. He is curled up, his hands resting on his neck. I want to watch him here. Watch the lines of his body, his shaking hands. Never want this to end, the lines of beauty. The lines of his tattoo, the sword of Jeanne D’arc. The crown on top of the sword, the lillies on the side. A masterpiece on his skin. He is cold though, his thin, lean body gets colder than most people. I quickly take one or two pictures, then wrap him up in a huge towel. Walk him to the bed, hug him until he has stopped shivering, then push his face down between my legs. When I come, I think about me inside of him, about his face against the white tiles, the arch of his back. The skin. He can always join me in the shower.

I am still inside you

Love

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so a simple phrase like ‘maybe we should just be friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love. “

Neil Gaiman

How can I say if thy voice is beautiful.
I only know that it pierces
and makes me tremble like a leaf
and tears me into rags and pieces.

What do I know of thy skin and thy limbs.
It only shakes me that they are thine,
so that for me there is no sleep or rest,
till they are mine.

Karin Boye

 

So Thirsty

I’m flicking through memories in my mind. Can’t sleep. Yet again. So I’m thinking about that night. He was working late in the bar, I had picked up my computer, walked from his apartment to the bar and sit down for a glass of white wine and some writing.
In the corner of my eye I see him at work. I love it. His posture is different, he moves with such grace and ease. We acknowledge each other with a smile, no more no less for now. I have promised him and myself to not interrupt him. A promise I could never break, his work is far too important to him, this is his domain, and to be honest, to see him doing it is far too pleasing.

The first time I said I loved him, it came from nowhere; the words fell from my lips as I untied his long slim frame, releasing his limbs from his first suspension ever. We stood in the middle of the biggest square in the capital of Sweden and we were doing a rope flash mob. The sun made the square act like a pot on a pan, the sweat ran down my forehead and made my eyes sore. Thirsty stood on his knees, I untied the TK with my face buried in his hair. It had a strong smell of hairspray. It always does. There, in that moment, the words fell accidentally but perfectly from my lips: “I love you”. Tried to swallow the words back, rewind them into my moth, those words are dangerous, not neutral but can instead be full of expectations, those three words lack restraint and control, and they come from the heart, that aching heart.

Back into the bar. It is a weekday, a slow evening and when he pass by my table we exchange some words. Speaking to him in that context is almost like a game, trying to make the lust and the love sound and look as neutral as possible. Resisting throwing him against the wall; resisting kissing him until we scream breathlessness into each others mouths; resisting touching his lower lip. I wont do anything now, just smile, look into his eyes, detecting a reaction deep in there, a flush of desire and submission.

He refuse to serve someone due to them being too drunk. A little while later he decide to close early as the evening is really slow. I can remain sitting at my table, sipping the wine, writing, watching him going through the closing procedures. He is relaxed, a happiness I can easily detect. The soundsystem is playing Billie Holliday and Nina Simone, and the bar is completely empty. He walks past, stroke my neck and I catch his hand. We don’t really know how to dance but move to the music together, dancing to the husky voice of Billie, he drowns into my body, I can hear his breathe in my ear and I kiss him softly on the lips. A little while later, he follows me back to his apartment door, there is a couple of more things to finish and I need to sleep. He walks back, I open the balcony door and see him striding slowly through the park. Thirsty is sleeping at his primary partner’s place tonight, but even if the bed is empty I am not lonely. He has filled my arms, my heart.

Loved enough-lost enough

Having loved enough and lost enough,
I’m no longer searching
just opening,

no longer trying to make sense of pain
but trying to be a soft and sturdy home
in which real things can land.

These are the irritations
that rub into a pearl.

So we can talk for a while
but then we must listen,
the way rocks listen to the sea.

And we can churn at all that goes wrong
but then we must lay all distractions
down and water every living seed.

And yes, on nights like tonight
I too feel alone. But seldom do I
face it squarely enough
to see that it’s a door
into the endless breath
that has no breather,
into the surf that human
shells call God.

Mark Nepo


Apollo-abstract patterns of fear

The morning had started fairly awesome; my mouth around your cock, choking and gasping but still sucking, eyes watering, out of breath but not out of touch. I can feel you, the whole of you in my mouth, every twitch, every movement. The tip of the condom tickles the back of my throat, teasing the gag reflex but I don’t care. I just want you, the whole of you in me, filling empty orifices, causing breathlessness, dizziness. It is still morning and it feels like my mind is only slowly catching up with what my body does, what it feels. This is something I had been thinking about doing, we had even spoken about our mutual love of the activity, but as my mouth moves over your cock I’m not thinking. There is only a doing. Soft sheets are sliding against my skin, your hand finds its way to my neck, gripping and pushing, and I listen and follow, delaying every breath according to the tempo of movement you seem to prefer. Sometimes I think I smile, as much as it is possible to smile with the mouth full of cock.
At some point you ask me to stand up, and while looking into my eyes you close your hands around my throat and ask me if you think I’ll make it. I understand what you mean, try to wank you without loosing the grip and trying to not pay any attention to the buzz and the fuzz making it hard to focus, try to wank you off to the point of you coming before your hands tighten even more around my throat. And I look into your eyes as I wank you until you come and I feel your come over me.
I feel again, I feel myself, I feel desired, I feel desire, I feel something waking up again. I feel you, feel those sharp nails that you dig into my flesh, millimeter for millimeter, I’m finding myself responding to every single touch with a sense of electricity, that your hand will strike or hold me down at any given moment. And still, central to all of this: trust. The trust which makes it possible for me to lose myself into the scenarios you are talking about, to fall in to whatever concoction of fantasy mixed with reality with a hint of sordid filth and depravity.
That became very clear when you held the gun in your hand and suddenly shouted at me, something about staying still or lying down on the floor; I cannot remember very clearly. I sat in the chair at the desk and I only remember how my whole body went heavy. I wanted to obey, but in the discord between sitting in someone’s’ bedroom on a swivel-chair and the shift or your movement made it impossible for me to act, the boundaries of fantasy, reality and fear muddled. But still, everything stopped then and there, like I was nothing more than that which you hunt. And you do scare me; push me out from where I am the keeper of my own safety, in control and within the comfort zone of my own mind. That place, the place of fear, is not really dark at all, people tend to speak of it as such, but I can only see it so bright, as bright as that searchlight on your gun. A sense of an enlarged ribcage, it is easier to breathe and easier to focus on the exact moment of now. That is the place of fear; a enlarged room within my ribcage; bright and brutal.

Then there was another time, another place, and your persona was the Apollo which I had dared to try to seduce. The blood of Apollo’s victims, tasting sweet, feeling sticky, your chains covered in red, your face very still, eyes focused. Pushing myself against you I knew probably of the consequences which I were willing to face and quite frankly longed for. I just craved it, just craved for you to tear into my flesh as if there was nothing stopping you. And afterwards, my back looked like an abstract painting.

Your claws are writing
a completion of scratched surfaces
I can hardly speak two languages- a fast disintegration
of everything I think I know
but the writing of abstract patters
red and sore
that is a language I understand


Knife and punch

For the second week in a row, last Friday had some play that left me breathless, both literally and figuratively speaking.  This was some knifeplay which for me is always has been very challenging.

B is someone who, together with his partner L have turned into two very dear friends whose friendship I treasure immensely. Not only are they both deliciously hedonistic and perverted, but to sit down and speak to any of them means engaging in interesting and stimulating conversations. And oh, B is totally nutters as well, making comedy-domming into an artform while L always snaps incredible photographies.

At the party where all the ‘drama’ happened between me and Electronic Doll there was also other things going on. Such as B not believing me when I told him that the knife I gave him for B’day indeed was non-Freudian. I.E me presenting him with a knife did was not my way of saying that I wished him to do the stab-stab-stab thing or something similar. But as I said, B did not me believe me at all.

My relationship to knifes is troubled. There is a phobia, stemming from cutting myself by accident quite badly as a kid, and a control-issue that I have managed to direct in towards one single phobia. The result can be somewhat severe, which also makes it really hard for me to play with knifes, since there has been occasions when I’ve fainted due to knives being waved around. But there has also been a couple of good playtimes, as well as sadly, a bad one where someone broke my trust and then being proud over doing so…

At the first party there was first the knife and then the rough body play. And as I was lying down on the floor, my mind is still raising when he traces the blade over my body, then using the whole knife to make me even more aware of it being there. I trust this man immensely so I even if I’m jumpy and slightly antsy, I remain on the floor, trying to not breathe to fast, trying to take it all in, knowing the blade is right there in his hand, that he is moving it around, aiming it at me, flipping it, letting it dance in his hands. And he make me understand that he knows how to handle it, not just holding the knife but giving it life.  That knowledge is more frightening than the proprieties of the knife it self. And I guess this is where my fear lies, because a knife cutting vegetables in a kitchen is not the same as the knife in the hands of someone.  I hardly trust my own hands with a knife, knowing that it is likely that I will cut myself at some point. Its easy to do, no doubt about it. But then the element of someone who knows how to handle it, the knife is really out of your hands. Out of your control.

But after all of that there is still more, and that is the punching game. Now, if I would describe rough body play versus some of the other less direct, more tool in hand play like flogging, there are some distinct differences. First of all, while the sensations from slapping and flogging and the like can actually be very pleasurable,  it is not really that for me with punches. A punch is very intense, a fist in your side leaves you breathless and it is so much more likely that you will try to shield your own body. The thing is, that kind of intensity is enough on its own. It does not need to be pleasurable, because there is the fear there, the anticipation, the way that you have to poise your body, prepare, and then you react, your instinct tells you to protect your self, and you try but in the same time you don’t want it to stop.  And when B wrap a chain around his fist, stares at me, oddly smiling with eyes that pierce straight through me, I only have time to think ‘God, I must be to twisted for my own good’ before I’m so far away. He is adding pressure on to places on my chest that unexpectedly make it hard for me to breathe. I don’t know why, but I am lying on my back,  and I don’t want it to end, in the same way as I want it to stop but still don’t. That conflict, arising from the well- known self-preservation as well as the desire to still feel it, to still feel it all.

A week later and we are attending the lovely rubber-party at a friends place, some more of the action that went on you can read here. Lets just say it was one of the most debauched events this year. Latex definitely bring out something special in people.

B and L are here again, L dressed as the most beautiful rubber doll you could ever imagine and B wearing latex apron and kilt. Early on in the evening B shows me with a big grin that he brought the knife I gave him, and I by then have a feeling that it will not matter what I say, the knife will always be seen as Freudian. After some other shenanigans during the evening we start to play. And this time it is the reverse, first punch and then knife. His trademark glee in the eyes, as he holds me by the throat, tightening his grip and then simulating a movement, making it look like he is visually ripping my throat with his bare hands. And because of the pressure, the preciseness  and the speed, I don’t have much time to think, except when he slows it down, allowing me to think but only because he is building the fear up. After more rough play, I’m already a shivering heap of sensitive nerve-endings and breathing heavily. And I don’t even know how I know that the knife has come out. I don’t even know that it has not, because he leads me to believe it as. Slowly playing around with it over my body, and it feels like every nerve in my body is going to pop. I’m sitting up, this I remember, and I think the ‘knife’ came close to my face, and that is when I loose it. But as quickly as it comes, B notice it, stops and hold me, and I can control it nowadays, I can take a hold of the panic attack and return to the life relatively quickly, especially when I know that everything is safe. We sit for a while, L comes over and we talk. We talk about everything and nothing, and about how happy we are that we all know eachother, that there is a chosen family of us in this crazy town.

And I kind of don’t want to stop there. I really don’t because I know that if one falls off the horse, you should get up again, especially if you happen to like it.  And I happen to like the thought to work on my knife-phobia and get off on it. Not so much sexually, but for the adrenaline, for the rush and for the fear, that is controlled and administered by skilful hands. So instead not jumping on the horse again, I asked if we could do some more, but with me lying down, and I got what I asked for, but now he actually used the knife. Again, tracing it, simulating stabbing and cutting, mixing the speed of this and in general, again, being very frightening. I remembered breathing, most of all, kept it in the back of my head. It was only when he went for the hands, the fingers that I could not do it, with flashbacks to when I cut myself as very young. He changed the focus, and by the time he was done, I was dwelling so deep in the adrenaline subspace that I almost thought I would not return.

I did. And I still maintain, that the knife was not intended to be a Freudian slip of a gift. Somehow though, I don’t think that L and B believe me.

 


Pr0n, baby, it is all about Pr0n

 

 

During a talk at Stockholm Pride this summer, we where listening to a talk about the possibilities or rather apparently the inpossibilities of feminist pornography. Now, I don’t view a lot of pr0n, simply because I’m not very interested in the expressions and most of the time find hot things in other places, even if they are not intended to be anything erotic. I’m sorry but I guess that is how I am wired. What I am interested in is different erotic expressions amongst people, and with that comes certain discussions that I do know are reoccurring and sometimes really frustrating.
There is doublebind and a difficulty when it comes to porn and feminist theory. Not because there is something inherently problematic about porn itself, but because it has been made in to being so problematic. It does not matter if you come from a rightwing nutplace like the one below

or if it is a rethoric coming from what is framed as a feminist, because they can both frame pornography as something pwetti evööööööl. It turns men into murderers, women into wanton sluts or depraved victims and wrecks families, lives and it is also the ultimate expression of the patriarchal society in which we live. I.E porn, according to some, is the blueprint of the oppression of women in our society. Etc. Etc. I could go on forever and ever on the massive effects that pornography is supposed to have on mankind. Yeah, that is MANkind, because it is the man who can never separate fantasy from reality, who can’t control himself, who turns into broken rapists and sadists (the bad kind).

I can’t say I’m totally positive towards the sex industries, but that is in the same way as I am not totally positive towards many other industries. We are not perfect human beings, we can’t really claim that everything is alright, fine and dandy, because hey, I make a choice and if I make a choice that must automatically be good, right? Not really, but my point here is to discuss the implications of a possible feminist pornography. The project ‘Dirty Diaries’ from Sweden was filmed with mobile cameras, and with another approach than what porn production usually has. Furthermore, it was also given funding from the Swedish State (which many saw as proof of how twisted the Swedish society had become, funny enough…). Now, I’ve seen bits and bobs and for me it did not do anything, sexually, but I found the approach being interesting. With a mobile camera filming and the participants being a very active part of the creation, the lines between the viewer and the viewed became blurred. By turning voyeurism and exhibitionism on it’s head, I think there is a lot that can be done, especially if it is for someone else than the viewer. This is already in full throttle  with the masses of amateur porn that is produced each and every day by people shagging away in front of the camera.

The thing then is, for whom is pornography produced and why? Usually, the answer is something like, “People who want to get off on watching other peeps shag”. Now, I can fully understand that it is how it is defined, because definitions are important to us, especially in the West with our obsessions of taxonomy here and there and everywhere. But is not definition to narrow? Does it not exclude all of those who do amateur pornography for themselves, for their own private pleasure? Or those who view it with other perspectives than the hands-down-pants intention? There is of course a question of art here, if art is a part of all of this, and also a question of value.
I think many people would say that ‘The Swing’ is different from the picture from the CCTV with the creep who is harassing women. And I would agree.

 

The Swing, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

 

I’m going to touch on the issue of consent first actually, just because it is a simple but still important bit. The painting depict a playing couple, whereas the CCTV image is, as far as I know, a man who clearly don’t respect women’s boundaries. A sexist pig indeed.
Second of all, I think I’m far more impressed by the work of Fragonard, simply because it is such a beautiful painting. I’m talking workmanship here now, the craft of an artist versus the developed technology which enables the act of the Peeping Tom to be caught on camera. The intention of one of these images is that it is an object d’art and the other is a candid image never meant be put on show or hung up in a gallery.

But to get back on track, or back to the pornography. There is also a thing about what the intention behind an image is. What reactions does The Swing conjure, and how do you feel when looking at the Peeping Tom?
First of all, the reaction to the Swing and Peeping Tom are contextual and situational. They depend on what society we live in, what kind of norms we have, so once in a time, the painting was erotic. It showed skirts, it showed nature and people enjoying themselves, it showed stockings, legs and hints of something more. And yes, the Peeping Tom-idiot can also be seen as erotic, although I personally have a problem with sexualizing images like the above.
In what I am going to say now, is not that we should not take responsibility, but that it is possible to shift the focus of struggles. Feminist pornography is used as a way of escaping the problem, by phrasing it slightly differently, it is supposed to be something completely else. In the discussion at Pride, a member of the panel started to connect art and feminist porn, like they are interchangeable and that pornography has to be art in order to be (feminist) pornography. I don’t know how many turns this logic can take, but it does certainly create a scary binary,  where pornography has to show something special, something specific, as if it would be responsible for for what the viewer might see.
Here is some news: you can’t control the viewer. You can adapt and work with different ways of influencing the viewer, in the same way as Fragonard works with his composition or in the same way as a CCTV erotic image can make us feel a bit uneasy, but I repeat, it is not possible to control the viewer. Just  about anyone can pick up any kind of pornographic movie and it would not matter what the intentions were of the producer. What is possible to control is the conditions that the people on the set work are subjected to, to push for safe sex practices whenever possible.  And this is where the focus needs to be.

I am a sex-positive feminist and don’t see anything inherently bad in connecting sex and money, but my beef is where the focus is and who holds positions of power. This connected with us living in a patriarchal society that does not help young people to shape their lust as well or learning how to take responsibility for ones fellows, in the same time as people choose to pinpoint blame on pornography, creates a really toxic situation.  And is really, really irresponsible and stupid. It is like bombarding someone with images, impressions, values, language, norms and feelings  but not giving them the tool to interpret and relate to them.

As a fan of queer pr0n, on many different levels, I believe that there is more to pr0n than exploitation and misery and I don’t really believe in feminist pr0n, but I don’t want to put the ones who are shagging on pedestal either.

But it is time to stop blaming the pr0n for everything, and turn the attention wider.