by Barney Harper

Practice the sound of the letter N
by reading while naked, kissing soft necks, waking at noon, eating nine of them, nuzzling a belly, nabbing the last one, napping on a work day, revelling in naughtiness, guarding needs, necking negronis, being neither nor t’other.

Rehearse your O
by opting out, welcoming oddness, offing constraints, oopsing your fuckits, owning your youness, ousting your duties, okaying desires, fuelling your oomph, oiling your openness, destroying obediences and obliterating oughts.

Feel the way your tongue presses
to the roof of your mouth
the way your lips close in to a pout
as if to kiss. This,
is how it feels
to love yourself.

’22 Rituals for Holding on to Self’, written and read by Barney Harper
Barney Harper

Barney Harper is a London-based poet and essayist. She was shortlisted for the Hysteria Writing Prize and has been published in Token Magazine, Ekphrastic Review, Huffington Post, The Mighty, and the anthology Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned from Pop Songs. She has had various other pieces published in books, magazines and the web (sometimes under different names) and her writing has been translated into other languages and, recently, put to music.

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