ANOTHER POEM IN OUR GUIDED TOUR THROUGH ZERO GRAVITY
FREE FAIR TERRITORY
This is an example of a poem where I indulge in somewhat naughty word play and lower myself into sexual innuendo (just joking with you: I like puns and wordplay and hidden sexual jokes, so it’s not really a “lowering” at all as far as I’m concerned).
The poem was originally published in a magazine called Itch devoted to poetry, writing and the visual arts. It was actually a magnificent glossy publication –but sadly, folded as a print publication and now only exists as lower profile online version of its former self.
The poem plays with the idea of exploration, using geographical exploration as a metaphor for sexual exploration. But, as everyone knows — especially everyone living in Africa — exploration historically led to colonization — to possession achieved through the exertion of power. Thinking of maps — and the maps imposed on Africa by the colonial powers — I naturally had to have the woman in the poem heavily tattooed, which is kind of apt since Itch was also geared towards the visual arts. The woman is read like a map (and to suggest “natural” lines of enquiry, I made her tattoos snakes and ladders: snakes because they are inevitably sexual images apart from natural creatures and ladders to suggest climbing, and also stockings (as in ladders in stockings — a bit of fetishism for the reader a bit out of the ordinary).