Finding the Vulva on a Beach
Latin-wise, as vagina, I am sheath, made
for holding life. I am
an oyster shell, made for children to cup, hollow to hollow,
against their ears. To press into hands of their own giants,
to say, Listen, and have one towering pillar of grey and rules
abandon sense for an instant and say, Yes. The ocean resides here.
They pretend they hear the sea; the miracle of blood rushing
through head is not miracle enough.
Latin-wise, I am scabbard. Men slip swords into me.
Name me to possess me. Name me as they wish I would function –
that I would function only as this.
I, addressed as vagina, am entered. I hold humanity, its desires.
Cup, sheath, scabbard, defined
by aspects others find useful. They have rushed past
and discarded parts that hold my pleasure, left those treasures scattered
on the beach. My needs, only a breakwater
to those who want what’s beyond, drift, unchartered,
unnamed. I am object. Cup, sheath, scabbard. I hold them.
Stories are wound around my lips. Vulva,
where all the sin of man is concentrated.
They want the cup, the scabbard, sheath but
not the part where I see God as someone prays in tongues at my temple doors.
Mistral winds bring honest syllables across ebb and flow
and salt and bone. Tide-strewn, I am erotic;
the rough kiss of my outer shell doesn’t dissuade
true pilgrims from wanting to pry me softly, softly
open, suck the meat inside. Find (with inquisitive fingers),
and tongue, widdershins, my pearl.
They find me finger-slip smooth inside, a prize
for salt-stained lips, and sanded brow to press into.
I am vulva, from volvere – to roll, to wrap
around. See how that action is not passive? To wrap around.
Like the roll of water as ocean spreads wisdom on shore, or how I
envelop myself in my own thundering prayers and hurl, curl, roll around
whoever of those kneeling priests and priestesses I choose.
Europe at War
Two guys have set up
a small table outside the offy, alchemied
battered crates into thrones on which they perch, torsos bent
over a backgammon board.
The scent of weed lingers. It is impossible
to go a day without breathing it in.
Our neighbours hack wisteria-clad walls, trying to bare brick to the sun.
Their speakers blast Tom Waits.
In between our garden and theirs, the landlord, with
notions of a grand barbeque stand, has
partially dismantled a bomb shelter. Ivy crests
what remains. Its legs and empty face oversee
its redbrick guts, spilt so carefully, lain in hope
as a new foundation for what will come.
It must be spring.
George Parker is a writer and performer. They’re Disabled and Queer Artist of the Year 2022. They co-founded Queer Stage Revolution, host Cabinet of Curiosities podcast, co-host Rebel Riot Poetry, and produce Cabaret of Curiosities. Their performance history includes The V&A Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, Manchester Pride, Pride in London, Fashion Week, and IDAHOBIT. They were a featured artist at 16 Days of Activism…, and a H&T slam winner. Their work appears in Mslexia, The F-Word, Financial Times, Arachne Press, The Feminist Library, Sufi Journal, and more. Their novel was published by Reconnecting Rainbows Press. They’ve secured Arts Council funding to complete their second novel. https://www.agparker.co.uk/