by Tobias Wray

Sex between men was illegal in parts of the UK
until 1982. These proceedings provide vibrant
and detailed evidence of the worlds of London’s
historical homosexuals.
The act, as seen from without: a carriage pulls up,
we get in, there’s a leaning in, thecurtainsdrawn.
The next day, armed guards. The aftermath:
the air gummed with our blood; we swing
for outlawry.
Up until 1861, all penetrative homosexual acts committed
were punishable by death. Then, hanging was replaced by life
imprisonment, and after the passage of the Labouchere
Amendment, by up to two years’ incarceration. Some chose
chemical castration. The animal-smell persists on
the surface
of a scoured body. Diagonal fit, [transdirectional
couplers have the benefit of perfect input/output
isolation;] We fuck ourselves full of holes, he...
like an angel. Are these men my fathers?
Oh, how the body persists. What legacy, what
long computation.
Hung for outlawry;
stood in the pillory; defamed.
To prove sodomy one needed
at least two eyewitnesses
and evidence of both penetration
and ejaculation. As a result 
most trials in the Proceedings
are for the lesser offence of
"assault with sodomitical
intent." [Full structure symmetry],
diagonal to the window,
or, as in poetry, bent over, his ass was like an apple
cut in half. The whole fruit bears no threat—it is
the sinister reveal of the interior flesh; the stem [pulls
through and out]; We are only awake on the inside, he…
Bathe the holes with promises, with future datesandtime: you
I will fill. You I will fling down, fling into, flee.
From then, what is known about behaviours
and attitudes within these communities
can be found mostly through trials
of blackmail. Otherwise, for all intents
and purposes,
this world did not exist.