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by SophiaMP 

Posted: 21 January 2015
Word Count: 138
Summary: This poem is about rape and sexual assault. I was attempting to apply feeling and emotion to something more tangible, in this case a female's body.

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Fleshy thighs
Lie uncovered
Speckled with
Spots of cold.
Rotund and firm
Seen by all
Standing tall
Indeed the cleavage
We look
Oh yes
Between is the best.
Outside the fabric.
Inside the skin.
Choices make
Things difficult sometimes.
Bra straps twang.
We smell the tang
Of cum and booze.
The gavel bangs.
Black and tight.
Out at night.
The fault lies
On the slut inside.
And if you touch
The tangible skin,
It’s there.
Mine, surely?
And watch the flesh
Rise in bumps.
Still mine,
I’m warmer.
Collar pulled tight
Ready to fight
The eyes
On those thighs.
And yes
I have every desire
To set fire
To the ice beneath.
Indeed we will
When the pallid skin
Is shown.
Because we can.
Lengthen the leather
Button the collar
You might be lucky.

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 20:59 on 29 January 2015  Report this post
Hello Sophia, and welcome to the group. This group tends to go through quiet and busy spells, and this is a busy one. I'll  post a comment as soon as I can -  in a few days.


James Graham at 20:16 on 31 January 2015  Report this post
This is your first poem in the group and I have to confess I’m having problems with it. It’s nothing to do with the kind of subject you’re writing about – it’s not that kind of problem at all. Nor is it to do with your verse-writing skills.

I began, mistakenly I think, by looking for a narrative, a continuous ‘story’ taking us through an experience of sexual assault from start to finish, with all the wrenching and terrifying effects on the victim. But it doesn’t seem to be a continuous account, more a series of verses looking in different ways at a woman’s thoughts and feelings about her body and about a violation of it. Some individual verses stand out, e.g.
Black and tight.
Out at night.
The fault lies
On the slut inside.

This is a very concise and incisive comment on the all-too-common male tendency to blame women. ‘She was asking for it’. These are lines which speak to me very directly. But there are some verses too that really puzzle me, especially:
Outside the fabric.
Inside the skin.
Choices make
Things difficult sometimes.

I can’t say much about this because I really don’t understand it. Also, I’m not sure where you’re going with the last half-dozen or so verses.With some misgivings, the woman seems to be consenting. Is that what you mean?

Now, I hope you won’t be discouraged in any way by this comment. It’s something that happens from time to time: instead of my posting a definitive critique - because I don't yet feel on safe ground - a better way to treat the poem is through having a conversation about it. Feedback from you and feedback from me again. So it would be interesting if you would explain a little more of your thinking behind the poem, so that I’m not coming at it from entirely the wrong angle. I look forward to hearing from you.


Bazz at 20:46 on 31 January 2015  Report this post
Hello Sophia, welcome to the group.
This is a very stark and emotive poem, like James I had a little trouble with how it progressed towards the end. I think the first eight stanzas have a clear narrative, or at least a connection, after that I'm not really clear how everything connects. There are a few jarring lines like "the gavel bangs" which seem to jump outisde the moment in a way that isn't clear. 
Also, when the poem switches to "we", as in "we" look "we" smell", I wasn't sure how to interpret this within the poem. Who is we? The victim and the assailant? With the nature of their thoughts, It seemed a little confusing.
This is a very interesting, raw, piece, and there are some great passages, could it be a little tighter, a little clearer?

FelixBenson at 22:32 on 31 January 2015  Report this post
Hi Sophia
I just read your poem with interest. 
This is a difficult subject to tackle, well done, it's not easy to confront certain topics, but what came across was an interesting structure. Your poem focuses on fragments - be they images or feelings or points of view. There is a great strength in this given how investigations in certain cases might focus on specific details, or specific parts of a person's body, the clothes of a victim etc. It's a sort of compartmentilsation and your poem does suggest  that disassociation of the victim from their own experience/body that this sort of compartmentilsed approach can generate.

What is a little harder to follow is when the poem travels between different poeints of view - from a particular woman to women generally, then to external points of view - the judge's gavel etc. I think you are exploring a wide scope -from an exploration of experience to a sense of solidarity with victims....plus a desire to explore how  sexual assault can be perceived (and the effects of that perception). However, I think that might be too wide a scope to do justice to your themes....and to really bring our the strength of the poem you might consider sticking to one point of view. Poetry often thrives in the particular rather then the multiple, which means you could have a number of potential poems here - all very interesting (one woman's view of assault, how other women feel about how sexual assault is policed/investigated, the judge's view et cetera).  If you're keen on playing around with what your poem can do,it's well worth having a go at re-editing,and seeing what works, and I'd certainly be interested to read other drafts of this one.

Best, Kirsty


SophiaMP at 09:39 on 02 February 2015  Report this post
Thank you all so much for your comments.  Yes, my idea was to make the narrative rather jumpy and unclear, because I felt that, that reflected the idea that often, a victim cn feel as though they haven't been raped, because they have "consented" through the clothes they wear, through actions they thought could have been provocative eccentera.  In this verse you picked out 
Outside the fabric.
Inside the skin.
Choices make
Things difficult sometimes.
I hoped to present the idea of the rapist influencing the victim and making it think it was her fault.  "Choices make things, fiddicult sometimes" is supposed to, and perhaps ineffectively, convey how the victim might feel that because they chose to wear what they're wearing, this means that their life has been made difficult because of it. It's a sort of extension of the victim blaming I attempted to explore. 

Kirsty:  Thank you!  Your comment really helped me because I see that you understood what I was going for, but found its execution in some ways ineffective.  I will definitely see about editing it and perhaps exploring one theme instead of the multiple explored.  Personally, I do enjoy having a jumpy narrative, but obviously if it confuses the reader than the purpose of the narrative, in this case to reflect a victim's confusion, is lost which makes my personal like of it irrelevant, because it doesn't work.  Thank you for pointing that out to me!  

Best, Sophia.  

SophiaMP at 22:13 on 02 February 2015  Report this post
Oh and Bazz, thank you so much for your comment too!  The "we" in the poem refers to society as a whole.  The  poem is meant to be in the eyes of the general public, expressing our subconscious or conscious views on women.  

James Graham at 19:33 on 03 February 2015  Report this post
Hi Sophia – From Kirsty’s excellent comment and your reply I see that I was slow on the uptake when I first read your poem. A failure of imagination there. (Mine, not yours.)  Now, I see much more clearly what you are trying to achieve. If you wish to follow Kirsty’s suggestions and either maintain a single point of view, or write separate poems showing different views – e.g. victim, another woman, a general ‘public’ voice – the results would be interesting. It can be very productive to experiment,  producing alternative versions of the same idea. I’ve sometimes found after doing this that I look at one of the versions and know right away that it’s better than the others.

Apart from these experiments, now that I understand it better I wonder if the poem can be made to work better without drastic change. It might be possible to avoid misunderstanding on the part of readers just by making a few changes here and there, and leaving the rest intact. You don’t want to lose the deliberately ‘broken’ effect you set out to achieve, because it reflects the victim’s experience. Maybe this will seem too simple a solution, but it might  help to find another way to express in verse that the lines
Choices make
Things difficult sometimes

mean what you say in your explanation: ‘ the victim might feel that because they chose to wear what they're wearing, this means that their life has been made difficult because of it.’ ‘Outside the fabric/ Inside the skin’ is a bit obscure and not the best way of conveying that thought. Even if you needed an extra four lines it might bring out better this key idea of the poem. You make the point very clearly again in your comment: ‘a victim can feel as though they haven't been raped, because they have "consented" through the clothes they wear, through actions they thought could have been provocative’. Would the addition of a few lines make sure the poem conveys this just as clearly?

A very small extra point: the word ‘Indeed’ in the third stanza seems wrong. It’s a connective but I’m not sure a connection is needed here. Just ‘The cleavage’?

The concept of the poem is very interesting. As Kirsty says, the subject is not easy to confront – but  important and well worth working on until you have a result that you’re satisfied with.


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