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Kinky Poem of the Week: The World’s Guide to Beginning

Mon, Jul 8, 2013

Books, Pop Culture

You may recall that a month or so back, we were in New York City to receive an IPPY Award for our latest book, 150 Shades of Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink. While there, we met  Marty McConnell, silver medalist in the poetry category for her collection Wine for a Shotgun. When the poetry winners were each asked to perform a poem, we braced ourselves for the kind of spoken word poetry slam stuff typically found in grad school basement coffee shops. But Marty’s poem blew us away.

After asking the crowd, “We’re all adults here, right?” she recited the last poem in her collection — an ode to the body and all the kinky things you can do with it — with the perfect blend of performance and restraint. And now, Marty has kindly agreed to let us post the entire poem here so you can enjoy it, too (be sure to check out her video performance of it above, too!):

The World’s Guide to Beginning by Marty McConnell

I was born in the obscene genius
of the club. I was a chemical
hero. Slick as a greasy encyclopedia,
I strutted like a bullfighter. I learned kink

is another word for survival. learned to love
the body more for what it can do
than for what it is. how did you get this far
without knowing lust is disaster’s

good cousin, what flickers when the rest
has been burned down and blown
away? there will be a quiz.

here’s another story: I was born.
I was adored. I am in charge. I need you
to tie me down, now. call it love,
this intimate vine. this gift

of the mother. gift of the neighbor,
the uncle, gift of the whip. the dildo.
lying was my first language. I am not

ashamed. touch is not reversible. one
cannot be un-touched. are you
uncomfortable? good. then it’s begun.

go ahead and cry. to break
is to be sanctified. to find in the body
a safehouse where all your monsters
get to be raucous, bring the audience

to their feet calling what. what.
dig at the shame places. your gutter
of a cunt. your crowbar of a cock.
say the words, say fuck and wheelbarrow

and voluptuary until it all sounds
like amen, amen, amen, amen, amen,
amen, amen, amen. why despise

your own wiring? it was desire
that made you; however twisted
the originating bed, your beginning

was ferocious. quiz: what’s the difference
between a lie and a myth. answer:
the storyteller’s intention. example: I
am more bear than fruit. more leather

than lion. legend says I opened my mouth
and the world rolled out. the brine
of saliva, browbone splitting into branch,
to root. and from the cheeks, the sweetest

meat, the man, the woman, the lost
androgynous other. example: in our myth, Atlas
is a hermaphrodite. a dancer. bearded lady

in a g-string in a cage above the dance floor.
fact: there are gods who love us,
and they want us to fuck. have I earned

another story? to emerge, a world
must learn itself, then flood,
then burn. unfurl your ugly
like fists inside another’s

body. step into a skin familiar
as your mother’s bed, and
as spurned. something in you
stands up. it is like light,

or a crime. it is alive.
your turn.

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