I read ‘Jenny Kiss’d Me’ written by Leigh Hunt at school. Something about it struck my fancy and stayed with me — perhaps the value assigned to a throwaway thing like a kiss. Recently in the wake of #metoo India I’d been thinking a lot about the violence we visit upon each other. I was quite shaken and triggered since most of us Indian women have experienced sexual abuse in some form or the other. It seems to find us at all ages and spaces — for me mostly private spaces, from people I have loved.
I have also been reading Carmen Maria Machado’s book ‘Her Body and Other Parties’. I love how she depicts sexuality so vividly, rendering queerness commonplace yet not devoid of complexity. She’s depicted relationships with abuse and love all tangled up together which was exactly how I myself had experienced it. Her women also felt very real to me. So I was hankering for a positive expression of sex, specifically female sexuality and hey we all know great oral is something to be grateful for. I think I was also craving apple pie. Jenny dropped into my head one day and I wrote a queer version of it.
This is the original:
Jenny kiss’d me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
Say that health and wealth have missed me,
Say I’m growing old, but add
Jenny kiss’d me.
This is mine:
Jenny lick’d me when we met
Kneeling by my cunt she breathed in;
Time, it seemed, had stopped and yet
The oven beeped a twenty past ten!
Say apple crumble, sweet and tart
Salt, she asked, has your skin missed me
Said yes my darling, every part
Jenny kiss’d me.