'Blueprint for the Cyborg Portal', by Bobuq Sayed

What do the brothels of the future look like?

part 1

you anticipate
queerness like
people prepare
for the apocalypse.

consult the evacuation plan
gather nonperishables
quieten the children
linger in the smell of dusk
scan the horizon for omens

people will soon forget what
you once needed to survive
page corners fold inwards
selecting, encasing, historicising

this suspicion you have
of gender non-conformity
recognises the threat
of transgression, but
misplaces the danger

stone-washed denim grows
taut beneath sticky palms
that disguise your arousal
the body unmoving now
rendered obsolete.

part 2

late one melancholic night
face plastered by decay
you fall quietly into the
solicitation of a machine

the mistress instructs not to
gender the provider but you
cannot help but see an old
lover in the slim figure
of its sleek red wetness

a sex bot, smart on top,
versatile with your kinks
they promise you surrender,
augmentation, immersion
annihilation with pleasure

of course, once the illusion expires
you sink back onto the bed with a
measured sigh, guilty like a boy
caught in the frenzy of pornography,
nostalgia slipping away

this avatar, somebody,
anybody, they elicit an ache
in the roots of your cock, a
call to prayer from legions
of submerged desire,

your compulsion for flesh
suddenly consumed by the
copper-sheathed circuits
of the modern-day deity

feather light, they flip your body
and cleave you open at the hips
devouring your ineptitude

part 3

the brink of dawn outlines
muscled breasts and
bulging softness, where
moisture drips out of a
shallow opening between
fantasy and horror

your body quivers
with exhaustion, numb
to pain and sensation,
though it keeps coming,
like a deluge of indulgence

to avoid their glassy eyes,
you scroll mindlessly, while
they engineer wire agents to
subdivide patches of your skin
and claim you for the state

your chemical receptors
enter the mainframe
your breathing quickens
your endurance strengthens
and your sex becomes designer

as usual, cum is your cue to leave
walls streaked with perspiration
not dark enough to hide the shame

you exit onto the street below,
disoriented by the anonymity,
but you are not going anywhere
what you paid for, you will pay back
the love of a stranger is never free.

This poem responds to Mx.Red, a queer utopian augmented reality experience at the Festival of Live Art that questions the material and sexual consequences of imploding the gender binary. Drawing from the post-humanist and queer Utopian critical frameworks of Donna Harraway and José Esteban Muñoz, the poem extends the visual language of Mx.Red into the textual metaphor of sexual futurity.

Bobuq Sayed is a writer, artist and agitator of the Afghan diaspora. They co-edit Archer Magazine, founded the QTPOC activist collective Colour Tongues and are a member of the performance collective, Embittered Swish. They have written for Overland, Kill Your Darlings and VICE, and performed at the Emerging Writers’ Festival, Melbourne Writers Festival, Village Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival and Alterity Collective’s Rituals.

Image: Sam Wong, 2018

Mx.Red is presented at Footscray Community Arts Centre as part of the Festival of Live Art: fola.com.au.