Des de Moor

Water of Europe Performance Poems 1996
In 1996 I did a number of gigs as a performance poet and have occassionally included poetry in my set since then.
Des de Moor

Strangely enough, I found this subject easier to write about as poetry than as song, and it was fun to mess around with poetic forms. This piece was inspired partially by Patience Agbabi and Kellan Farshea, and the first section recalls a genuine conversation I had online.
If love is an art, it's a case
Of something more precious than leisure.
This world is a serious place
And sex can be serious pleasure.
Are You serious? he says.
Are You serious? A question over the Internet
From Vancouver, as far west as you can get,
Where leaves on unfamiliar trees are already browning
In chilly winds.
Are You serious about owning, training and controlling
A slave, Sir?
My Master passed away a year ago and more:
i will no longer hear His key turn in the door.
The PCP got Him in the end, Sir.
He smoked cigars and put them out on me, Sir,
Until i was peppered with His burns.
And now the seasons slowly turn
And my skin heals, Sir,
And memories are my only permanent scars
And like lost property unclaimed i wait
While the shelf is cleared around, Sir,
Hoping to be found, Sir.
And, oh, a slave should not complain but my loss,
My loss, my loneliness is vast.
Might You be the one to take me home at last?
Are You serious Sir?
If a picture of love is a scene
That's more than at first it appears,
What we say may be not what we mean
Nor our sorrow the sole cause of tears.
Bite that bloody pillow, he says.
I've got neighbours, you know,
With ears glued to glasses on the wall
And fingers poised at telephones,
Hearing only slaps of crop loop's fat and unforgiving blows
That hack at tender flesh and hard peaks of bones
And gasps and choking sobs and half-swallowed moans
And the sound of sweat pouring.
And me, I'm fighting,
As each sharp crack arcs synapses like sparks
And pain that first seemed such an old familiar friend
Now shouts and batters at the walls
Of brain
And begs that it should end.
I should shout Stop! or call my name
And you would stop
But I would have lost my battle with the pain
And somewhere deep inside I'm laughing still
For joy.
A fairground rollercoaster whoop, a soaring kite
Shout, a schoolboy snigger at perverse conspiracy,
A broken-out smile laugh at a friend's delight,
A mocking fuckyou laugh from sadomasochist and sodomite
That in this mean and narrow world we're in
I'll let such splendid cruelty stripe my tender skin
Knowing you love me.
That laugh rings out over the angry hubbub of chafed nerves
As dull washes of endorphins flood forbidden zones
But all the neighbours hear
Is cracks and moans.
When love's an exchange that we use
To end up with more than we start with,
The big things are easy to lose
And the smallest the hardest to part with.
"Please don't. Please don't. Please don't," he says. "No more.
"Enough. Not that. I beg you stop." I rise
To stand above his body on the floor
And crouch, and cup his chin, and fix his eyes,
Past flickering lids and lashes, reach to find
Through sockets smudged with sparse reluctant tears
And pupils wide as arseholes of the mind,
The place where passions hide, and hopes, and fears,
And strengths he never knew he had, and there
Inside dark secret rooms he shakes and cowers
More naked still than when I stripped him bare
Brushed with harsh intimacies of my powers
He shivers like a wound, tender and dazed,
Gently I coax a last resolve to face
One final trial before he sinks amazed
Into the sweet reward of my embrace.
Only a little thing, but giving's tough:
The runner's final sprint, the show's last song.
Only a little thing, but still enough
To make us heroes, brave and proud and strong.
He finds one tiny spark and clasps it tight
And takes its warmth, then opens up his hand
And smiles. I say, "You've done so well tonight".
He whispers, "Thank you, sir." And then I stand.

If love is an art, it's a case
Of something more precious than leisure
This world is a serious place
And sex can be serious pleasure.

Written: Deptford, London, June 1996 and January 1997

Des de Moor
© Copyright Des de Moor 1997


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