6: Jonny Budd
6: Charlotte Bunney
6: Jack Cooper
It is a surprise to be desired.
I had never understood or expected beauty, so,
now I have blossomed sleek and excessive
like an orchid’s corolla,
I take what others give to me
and ruined men fall from my hands like ripe fruit
to lie rotting on the ground.
Sex is ceremony, a ritual
of feigned innocence, and earnestness.
I clear myself with water, rub oil into skin.
Quiet eyes watch men twist and struggle
at the sight of limbs to crack open
so slim and smooth.
Pleasure is radical, a rebellion.
They snatch for caresses like beggars
rubbing buttercups into open wounds to make them blister.
They are offered outlines ‘til I am teased open
like tulips at sunrise.
Savour that pain.
Understand that I am willing to suffer for you,
Lines in italics are paraphrased from Emilé Zola’s ‘Nana’
6: Nick Smart
6: Sarah Spencer