Thanks to the Sacred Collective podcast here is the audio from Maria French’s event, “Sex and X-ianity: A new theology of sexual ethics beyond purity cults”, which was took place at Corner Coffee in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 9th, 2020. The event was MC’ed by Brandon Meland, with music by Andriana Lehr, poetry by Chris Fletcher, and a talk given by Maria French.
Once again, my colleague Maria Francesca French invited me to be part of an event she hosted called “Sex & X-Ianity” – she asked me to participate by reading my poetry for the spoken word portion of the event. The event was centered around the incredibly damaging effects of purity cult(ure) within certain forms of Christianity, like Evangelicalism. Here are the pieces I wrote and read along with some photos from the event. Greetings and thank-you… I would like to invite all of you to a place not too far away, a small one-bedroom apartment dimly lit by candlelight, an open bottle of Beaujolais and a Leonard Cohen record playing quietly. While you are sitting alone looking out the window as the snow is falling and you wonder how you got to this place in your life, who would want to hear your story, share your bed, find comfort in your arms? "A crisis of faith - when you seriously question whether what you believe, how you see, what you're committed to is actually true - is a good thing. It's not pleasant. It hurts. The ground goes wobbly. You may be reaching for sleeping pills or alcohol or a lover to get you from 2 to 4:30 a.m. each night.” ~ Kent Annan, Author That Year He took lovers that year Like brilliant novels Reading part way through Without finishing Before starting with the next He wanted nothing But a new page to turn Until he forgot what he was reading
Riddles She desired a poem A portrait of a man... Who could have sex with her soul While tasting her thoughts As she read books to him wearing only the breeze a man... Who could unravel riddles with his tongue As he watched her words turn into moans She desired a poem "A morning of awkwardness is far better than a night of loneliness." ~ Hank Moody Waif Narrow hips Small breasts The waif walked into the bar Ordered a tequila without training wheels Sat down and shot it Turned to me And asked, “who the hell are you?” I replied, “no one.” As I winked and whispered, “Your eyes have smitten me.” She snickered and said, “I thought it was my ass? Whatever it is buy me a drink.” “Sure, for now it’s gin and tomorrow is already here.” “Fuck tomorrow and maybe you later” she yelled for the whole bar to hear over the din Okay I said, “blow jobs are like fist bumps now - let’s drink to that.”
"Intellectual, imaginative, romantic, emotional. This is what gives sex its surprising textures, its subtle transformations, its aphrodisiac elements. Sex loses all its power and magic when it becomes explicit, mechanical, overdone, when it becomes a mechanistic obsession. It becomes a bore. You are shrinking your world of sensations. You are withering it, starving it, draining its blood. If you nourished your sexual life with all the excitements and adventures which love injects into sensuality, you would be the most potent human being in the world. The source of sexual power is curiosity, passion. You are watching its little flame die of asphyxiation. Sex does not thrive on monotony. Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all of the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine." ~ Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Volume 3; 1939-1944
"My reputation as a ladies’ man was a joke that caused me to laugh bitterly through the ten thousand nights I spent alone.” ~ Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing Inconvenience Sex dripping from bathroom walls Gin stained hearts Smoke filled dreams You start out ragged And end up halfway distinguished Smelling like a secondhand store Wearing ripped black nylons Smoking Lucky Strikes Looking across the bar For inconvenience To wash loneliness away for the night Pouring pain out of a low ball into an empty stare
Ink We write stories On our bodies In ink only our eyes can see In a language only we understand Exhausting our imaginations Until the last word In our flesh is carved With silence and prowess Indistinguishable lines from one to the other Fluidity of writhing Crashing waves Reverberating thunder Wild eyes illuminated with phosphorous Contorting fetishes in secret wells Deep reservoirs of unknown pleasure Stories to loud to be silenced by fear I will sleep with you We will be without borders Surrendered wills to prophetic tantric trances Closer and closer and closer Acquiescence Then again close On the tingling edge of climax Then the shaking and violent release Of the storm clouds over the valley Fermented grapes aged with alchemy A sweet river of ecstasy dripping from the vine Onto waiting lips and open mouth Quiet sighs and worn moans Soft rain on cotton sheets damp with sweat Washing the night out of opened doors With eyes closed the story is written The ink is dry Our bodies lost on unknown skies
“I will remember your small room, the feel of you, the light in the window, your records, your books, our morning coffee, our noon’s, our nights, our bodies spilled together, sleeping, the tiny flowing currents, immediate and forever. Your leg, my leg, your arm, my arm, your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again." ~ Charles Bukowski My Lover Perfume and Passion Naked poetry on blank sheets of desire As love falls like mist on skin While the morning light awakes Rising over entangled bodies Wrapped in magic Spellbound in love Warmed by words, fragrance and desire Oh, lover How long ago was forever Before the day you walked in the door As yesterday faded beyond the horizon I Love You I love you With candlelight Soft music and wine Tender kisses Sighs beneath the weight of the world Six degrees away from eternity Lift me up to your eyes Erase yesterday with your smile Curl up next to me Against the night Until daylight Refreshed in your presence An angel singing Turning tears into warm spring rain Resurrecting love Excavating hope The blooming of forever I love you
At the beginning of the evening Maria asked if I would create a poem in real time as the event was unfolding and then read it at the end of the event. This is what was created. After our shared stories Purity past Yearning for connection After the lies our parents and pastors told us Fear of desire Virgin tears on pillows Embodied/sexual/ethics Inside/outside/beyond marriage and labels “Nuns run bald through Vatican halls, pregnant, pleading immaculate conception.” Fucking the mind While the body remains untouched Desire dripping kindness Fucking/masturbating/ethical orgasms Sinful acts Without context Without relationships What about the fucking judgement of others Use your body when you do it Tell/experience/taste Feel your sex stories Outside of power constructs Counter cultural bodies Dancing their truth to power