Poetry by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2022
Poetry by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2022
Poetry by Mikala Mikrut, Copyright 2022
You pleasure women when it’s convenient for you
When it leads to what you really want
When she’s done at your will
But I required your trust
Which you never bothered to earn
Weaponizing your incompetence so I could never hold you accountable
You asked about my past
And never bothered to connect
That telling you was one thing
But letting anyone have any control over my body
Is something that has never happened since
It may be in defense
It may be in self preservation
Either way my subconscious knows you weren’t worthy
No one has been
They want to squeeze with no intent to please
And that’s fine
But they can’t claim that they’ll ever be as close to me as my abuser
Because he stole the only thing I didn’t know could be stolen
I’ve never trusted anyone since
And maybe it’s for the best
I haven’t been more hurt
I don’t know if I’d be able to survive it again
To lose everything
By trying to keep peace
No good deed goes unpunished
And ever since then
I’ve only been punished
For being a child
So I grew up fast
Responsible and dependable
And now the pain has numbed to the point that I hurt the people who thought I trusted them
They’re hurt because they never knew me in the first place
Seeing me as a saint when in reality I’m a coward hiding behind my good deeds
If I give back enough in the world
I think maybe
The world will offer me back a little piece of my innocence
But I know
I find myself in little moments with him
But he’s not mine
And I know he probably never will be
So when he leaves
I simply have to be grateful for the slivers of myself he gave back
Splinters of the oak I once was
I suppose at least I have something
When others have nothing
So I’ll be grateful
And frame the splinters among the good memories
As the haunting waits for him to leave
When it’s finally time to consume the rest of me
I may be bound to a destination of darkness
But I can’t be afraid to live
Even if that is my fate
I must endure the journey regardless
And I’ll try to not let it be tainted by pride
But it’s starting to get exhausting
To be okay
All the time
I will be okay
And it is fine
But sometimes I’d like to be asked first
If I’m available for the rant
Ready for the burden
Reciprocal to the expectations about to be bestowed upon me
I like to think I meet them
Most of the time
But I’m tired none the less
And I don’t want you to worry your pretty head
Because you wouldn’t be able to handle me the as I handle you
I thrive in selflessness in a way I have yet to see anyone else do
It’s all I know
An addiction to keep myself safe
Engrained in me from protecting my protectors
I failed once
And I will not fail again
I don’t have enough people to lose this time
So I have no choice but to keep it together
And I’m too weak to question if that’s for them
Because if it is for me
It’ll be the only thing in my entire life I do for myself
About The Author: Mikala Mikrut is a regular contributor to Tony Ward’s blog. To access additional articles by Mikala Mikrut, click here: https://tonywarderotica.com/mikala-mikrut-im-recyclable/
Text by Milan Burnett. All Rights Reserved.
Photographs by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022
Major Arcana Number 6.
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Ruling Planet: Mercury
Depiction based on the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, published in December, 1909. Illustrated
by Pamela Colman Smith.
Most commonly depicted by a man and a woman, standing completely nude in a setting reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, we have the sixth card in traditional tarot. The Lovers. The woman stands naked in front of an apple tree, wrapped with a snake, representing the temptations of worldly thoughts and behaviors. The man, also naked, stands across from her, with a scorched tree of flames behind him, representing the burning passions of life and love. Above the two individuals in this card, the Sun shines behind an angel-like figure, who seems to emerge from a cloud, representing the presence of Divine Spirit, or the Universe. Whether it be a business partnership, or a relationship (A relationship normally being the case), a major soulmate connection brought together by the Divine is at play when the Lovers card makes an appearance. This card can also indicate an important choice needing to be made, one with lasting effects over time.
If an individual is inquiring about a particular relationship, and the Lovers card appears, it is a strong indicator that there is much more than a mere crush, or surface level attraction. An intense, passionate, spiritual bond is in the works. The perfect union of two balanced, harmonious spirits with shared values and beliefs, coming together as one. A true soulmate. Considering the man and woman are both fully naked in original depictions, this card also indicates raw, open and honest communication. The two figures in this card are in their most vulnerable states, allowing for complete transparency between one another. Pulling this card is a sign that a fulfilling relationship, or partnership, is on the horizon straight from the Divine. This will be built not on infatuation, but from genuine love, respect, moral values, honesty, and trust.
Though the Lovers card is heavily regarded in love, the appearance of this card can also signify that one’s values and beliefs are being tested, and it is time to make a decision. Good or bad decisions are subjective, so it is time to decide what core values mean the most to you, stay true to them, and make choices accordingly. Being true to yourself in any circumstance is guaranteed to breed the best results. However, temptation is always nearby, waiting to prey on the weak willed. This is represented by the snake in the apple tree behind the naked woman on this card. She gazes upwards to the angel-like figure for guidance. Pulling the Lovers card brings a message of choosing yourself and doing what is best for you morally to obtain harmony and balance. Trust in yourself, your values, and the divine timing of the Universe, as it will never lead you astray.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR : Milan is originally from New York, now residing in Philadelphia. Aspiring model and real estate broker. Free thinker. Humanitarian by nature. Spiritual revolutionary in the making. To access previous articles by Milan Burnett, click here: https://tonywarderotica.com/milan-burnett-my-thoughts-about-sex/
Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2022
Censorship Rears its Ugly Head in Virginia
Tonight, June 14, 2022, I got a publication disapproval notice for the June issue of ‘Rolling Stone.’ A very good friend recently gave me a subscription and this was my first issue on that subscription.
It was disapproved for “Material that contains nudity. The showing (human or cartoon) of the male or female genitals, pubic area, female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of the areola, or male or female buttocks with less than a full opaque covering of the anus.”
I photographed nudes starting in the 1960s for more than forty years. I’ve seen countless female breasts. Seeing one now is somehow going to cause me harm? And note that it’s only seeing female breasts that will hopelessly corrupt me! I can see topless photos of Vladimir Putin day in and day out. Men have nipples and areolae, too!
I remember seeing an article years ago featuring a number of closeup photos of nipples, challenging the reader to identify which were male and which were female. It was impossible to tell. As I recall, one or two weren’t even human.
Sexual discrimination is illegal, so how does the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) get away with having such a blatantly sexist policy? Are we living in some restrictive theocracy. Will the VDOC next impose Sharia Law?
The magazine was also disapproved for “Material that depicts, describes, or promotes gang bylaws, initiations, organizational structure, codes or other gang-related activity or association.”
I’m a 75 year old white man. I’m going to join a gang??? Wonder if there’s one called ‘Hell’s Geezers?’ Is there a southwest Virginia chapter?
The man who signed the disapproval is the ‘OM’ the same man who recently disapproved ‘The Week’, my weekly news magazine, for showing gang symbols. Fairly new on that job, I think. Maybe he should consider relocating to Iran. There are probably many jobs open there for censors.
‘Rolling Stone’ contains important political articles and stories about culture. It is often quoted in other media. It is a highly influential journal that I’ve been reading since the 1960s and often features cutting edge photography.
I plan to contact Rolling Stone’s legal people. Maybe they would like to slap the VDOC down for ignoring the US Constitution. The US Supreme Court has held that freedom of the press contains the right to read. Censorship is unconstitutional! It must be stopped wherever it rears its slimy, reeking head!
About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read Bob Shell’s, first essay on civil war, click here: https://tonywarderotica.com/bob-shell-my-photographic-philosophy/
A Career as a Female Photographer
My mother was a professional model, I preferred to be on the other side of the camera. I was given my first camera at age 12 and haven’t put it down since. I was fortunate to observe and work with many great photographers through my mothers connections. I choose to be a commercial photographer because it was a creative field that I could make a living and be an independent woman.
After studying commercial photography at college I landed my first full time job in Switzerland as a staff photographer for a pharmaceutical company. What a trip that was! They were very traditional and had been using the same equipment since World War II. This seemed like an opportunity to introduce them to quicker, easier equipment and techniques. But they were not open to any new ideas. And I got the feeling that in an all male work environment they were not interested in learning from a woman. How could a young 20 year old American woman be able to teach them anything? It was a male dominated business and for the most part still is, though now there are many prominent Woman photographers that have made their mark in the commercial photography industry, like Annie Leibowitz, Ellen von Unwerth, Daniela Federici, Sarah Moon and so many more past and current commercial and fine art female photographers.
This work experience in Switzerland put me on the path to learn how female photographers handled the predominately male work force. So I headed to NYC but It wasn’t easy trying to get hired to be an assistant to a female photographer, they all had men working for them. And who doesn’t like to be around young strong handsome men? My first attempts at interviewing for an assistant position were all ejections. So I had a new plan, I was going to dress like a man (wearing a tub top under my baggy t-shirt and I cut my hair short) very androgynous and calling myself Charlie. That didn’t work either, I think they knew I was a woman. Now in our transgender climate, maybe it would be much easier. Plan B, I decided to hype up the fact that I was a woman and marched into Annie Leibowitz’s studio in my black & white poke dot “power suite” of course it was a skirt and jacket, very 1980’s Joan Collins. Leibovitz thought I was crazy arriving at the interview in clothes that I clearly could not lug heavy equipment or crawl around rigging lights and gear. But it worked, I had a freelance gig with a female photographer, and the best in the world in the 1990’s. I was assisting all over NYC and Philly and ended up working for a very talented untrained Spanish female photographer. One day she wigged out and didn’t show up for work. The clients asked me if I would do the photography. It was my lucky break and I worked for them for the next 7yrs. I was officially a working photographer with my own studio and getting new clients every month. To this day I pride myself on negotiating like a man, no emotion, all business and use my feminine style when meeting clients. Of course I try to hire an all female staff. I still have my studio where I work and play everyday!
About The Author: Amanda Stevenson is a professional photographer having over 25 years of experience. Amanda uses her diligent nature and artistic vision to collaborate with her clients to display the still and video imagery in various publications and exhibitions around the world. To learn more about Amanda Stevenson photographic services, click here: https://amandastevensonphoto.com
Portraits of Amanda Stevenson by Tony Ward. Creative Direction by KVaughn,. Photographers assistant, Anthony Colagreco. Copyright 2022.