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DARK ARTS – Paul LaTorre

on March 18 | in Poetry, Spoken Word | by | with No Comments

Paul LaTorre is a poet, activist and educator who teaches at Bloomfield College in NJ. Blending pop culture with advocacy for various forms of trauma including abuse, disorder, and mental health issues, his aim is to create dark poems with a sense of levity. Paul’s work has been published in Zeitgeist, Drunk Monkeys, Narrative Northeast, BLINK and has been featured on the DREAM Act’s ‘voices’ portal. His chapbook of poetry, Disappearing Boy, was recently published by the 3 Mile Harbor Press.





This sex is not the type

with nails dug in

& marks on back—                         

it’s the type where you call them back

later that day     to ask if they got home okay.


It’s the kind you can’t    connect    

to consciousness

long enough

to muster words              either way.                    Silencio


Where you seem present           

but spectral hover above the bed                                Wingardium Leviosa

Like some Myrtle ghost of dissociate,

Polyjuice brewing            other’s face,

left hand gone    translucent                                                       Evanesco

& there’s no one there

to pull you through,

just apparition   of you…                vanishing                                                                            

So sure, you relent. . .                   

turn serious, black // riddikulus

shadow you       &    fold      in defense.


The girl I lost my virginity to        

raped me       twice                   

in my room.       


The door open.                                

In broad afternoon                        

& I know what you’ll say—                          “Men can’t be raped.”

It doesn’t work like that,             

anatomically, one must keep                      up

in order to penetrate,

but I am living

testament           contrary.


In some strange way,                    

I thought her rapaciousness praise—                     

that being ensnared by her        

could validate manliness,

someone wanting this chubby muggle kid

so much they’d tear through clothes,

objections & protection                spells;

she made me forget    myself.                                                                    Obliviate


This girl was sorceress—              

a contortionist, bending bodily frame

& brain                                 & I—no escape artist,                   

couldn’t conjure cloak of invisible,          

caught in grip of constrictor hips,

writhing wand while hex left lips—                                          Imperius


But what if doors are not Patronuses

to keep Death-eaters at bay

but rather portholes

to be entered // breached                                  

disarming spells                                                                Expelliarmus

you thought would help

you erase details:                                                           

the grey of the wallpaper,          

cold of sheets,                 

day of the week,                             

the snakes in her hair                     (red or green?)

that every impression impressed

can latch onto you           & sink fangs into. . .


I was caught between  

Nagini gaze         & some hard place,              Stupefy

escape became astral plane,      

trapped in chest;

bound to bed.


The second time,            

didn’t get to use protection.      

She woke me up & rode—

cackling as I said “NO”. . .                              (like it’s a joke)


I felt like that, though.                  

Any time I brought up my violation,

it was turned anecdote—“Shit, she could rape me any day,    ya know?”


Comedian Terry Crews was mocked

when he accused a man               of sexually abusing him.               


Imagine what I get. . .


Trauma’s not some stand-up      act,

see, when I’d confess—

felt so un-believed // repressed,              I stopped trying to.


& I know, our kind are due         

millenia negative back-karma;

Men are snakes—           dumb

& often venomous,       

wrapping prey in anaconda    vise;

We bar-hop carnage & force down limbs             

before digest, swallow whole through esophagus.


But I hadn’t fed on anyone.        I was just 17, a neolate.


“Man up, you must have wanted it.

Men.                     Always.                Consent.”                                                                                                                         



Fathom backing a stance              so radioactive;

Imagine dragons nesting              in multitudes                    

on top of you,   teething               fantastic beasts                               

consuming lock & key    as their mother did. . .

hung in the upside-down                                                                             Levicorpus


Rape is about power, not sex.   

A display of dominance.               


& She      who shall not be named            

lorded hers over me,         sorceress         left

hurriedly only to text the next day

& say she was carrying. 

It had to be mine.

That as a man, “you have to provide”.

& I wanted anything but that

to be true—to tether us. 


When asked by friends

why I wouldn’t raise my kid                         to be just like me,           

one devoid of empathy,                                                              

kind to breed                    

this raze & feast                              

& let all he holds dear                    be seized.


Only no seed formed in womb,                

fruitless as the lies she told—one more contortion act.


We slept together four times after that. . .


I know, I know.                                

I never should have let her back in                                                           Alohomora


Returning to scene means I was culpable,

not real victim—I must be extra //

stretching            truth      as all men do                                         Incendio

but when has intimacy ever        been clean?


Do we not all hold & hide our own Horcruxes?


At least now I can recognize a parseltongued

dragon mother when I see one.


& I’m not too fond of being called           

‘boy who survived’ because

there are many parts of me

which have not.


Azka-banning failed spells           

to break the bond                          

& lock that door—                                                    Colloportus                

casting out

those hoping

to keep you prisoner

pleading release                                      Relashio

stuck in state of half-awake //

bound like sleep paralysis—                                       

the body at rest

& arrest in one,                             Petrificus Totalis

even in midst of an act

as honest as consented sex,                      

It follows you    as Dementors do,

creaks of rusty bed   springs memory

& there you lay—a portkey,                        splayed,

conjuring logic why

perhaps now you crave        control

& see the macabre in all things. . .


No longer mesmerized,   

learned to recite


curses which bind                                                            Crucio

regardless of sex of aggressor

trying its best to slither   in,                                         

shedding skin

of every snake

that made you prey                                                                   Rennervate


& if they ever try again

to pry their way in,

simply point                      

& say                                                                                                            Avada Kedavra.


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