by Motheo Mamabolo (they/she) | Edited by Janine Samuels (she/her)
Image via NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI
*Trigger warning: rape
“Let this tongue mould a new word.
A new, sweet pleasure.
An experience not yet known.”
My brows enjoy being stroked lightly by their delicate fingers when they kiss me. Their soft hands remind me of how I clench onto a cold glass of water to quench my thirst on a hot summer's day. I mumble into their ear, “Please don’t stop loving me the way you do,” as I melt into their lush breasts. “Please.” I beg them again.
But the begging.
It reminds me of something.
A plea - to stop.
Their breath distracts me from the recurring thought. The sweetness of their taste meets my own, it drowns me in a pleasure I’ve never met before, and together they sing softly to each other. My body, once battered, is now bruised with evidence of a love my mother wished for me.
My mother only wishes for my safety.
She tells me of the evil she prays away, the same kind of evil that visited her as a child, that I knew but could not tell her about.
She tells me,
“Nana. Fear the penis.
There was once a time I thought that pleasure would never find its way in between my thighs. So I always clench them tight when sweet pleasure exudes from the hands of a lover. Not so long ago my body would curl into a childs pose when a lover told me that my body was a temple to worship. My body didn’t believe it. My mind could not conceive this reality.
Sexual trauma once found it’s way into my pelvis. Every thrust seemed like a proclamation that you truly are the slut who deserved to be raped. While tears streamed down your face, your body replays that trauma while your new lover hovers over you like a dark cloud, that only wants to rain its sex onto you. You cannot see it.
Then this sweet moment arrives, my name enters the space.
Moaned, breaking the chain of thought into singing syllables.
They ask me,
How does it feel?
I let the force rain over my body, they respond to it,
“I love the way your body moves to pleasure.
Take it, it’s yours.”
They bring me back to my swaying hips, paying close attention
My deep breaths followed by the melodic beckoning for them to come closer.
Say it again.
Listening to what my body has asked for.
Naturally I open up. My flower reveals its own pink petalled lips.
Succulent enough to kiss.
“Can I kiss you?”
“Yes.” I say
“No. Not you. Her, right here.”
Running their wet fingers between the tenderness, I gasp my back up and meet their eyes. My own lips bitten by my teeth.
All I can do is give in.
I have learnt that no one teaches how to receive pleasure especially when trauma was once your lover. That relationship holds onto you, clinging to a version of yourself that you wish to shed. Like a toxic relationship it scolds you when you are deserving of a new dawn. It will not have it. It will have you.
Like the darkness the monster hides in itself
Trauma will be persistent in seeing you again.
Like an eager man after one good date
The darkness will demand to visit you unannounced.
Dissociating from my trauma meant, for a while, dissociating from my body. I was living in two places at once, floating between heaven and hell. Pain and pleasure. My body begged me to find her again, in a realm where the pain we have both felt could bind us together again. In this realm we would both seek pleasure from life. We would suck the pulp from life and replenish our waters. We would be pleased.
Learning about pleasure means understanding my pain and that it will never leave me. That this pain has made a home in my body. I asked myself, “Should I move?”. My ancestors answered that question for me.
This is our home. This is our place. Here is our sanctuary. We have birthed this vessel through blood and water. We have carried you with these hands.
Make room for pleasure.”
This is the message they have left in my dreams.
So I renovated instead. While the room is still finding its colour and the floors are being tiled neatly, I have learnt to sit comfortably in the unknowing. I do not know what this room will bring me. I do not know how pleasure will taste on my tongue. Or smell. Feel. Sound. I do not know how pleasure would look. But I know that this will be its home too and I will give birth to pleasure and give it a name that even my ancestors will dance and moan to.
My lover and I will bow to a temple
that knows its worth.
A temple in awe of itself.
A temple that has birthed both pain and joy.
In this temple we will both marvel at the altar
knees mounted into the ground
and heads bowed at the crown.
Born in the yellow and dry grassland of North West, Mafikeng, Motheo Mamabolo (they/she) found home to be a burning source of inspiration. The golden-yellow landscapes reminded her of desert oceans written about in Sumerian tales. She has always imagined that her homeland used to belong to Sumerian Gods, the Annunaki, who would roam and rule. This made her descendant.
Noticing her electric imagination, Motheo sought to find a home to house her many talents and nurture them to see what they may bloom. On this journey she has birthed poetry, plays, short films and think-pieces to name but a few. Now she mothers her creations and awaits the day she will be blessed to give birth to many more.