Why I Wrote A Sexy NSFW Poem About Brexit

Let's talk about Brex, baby – or not. There are few (if any!) subjects guaranteed to kill the mood like Brexit: a long and drawn-out process involving crusty politicians, peppered with inscrutable language. If someone started chatting you up with talk about the backstop, Schengen or the Common Agricultural Policy, you would (we hope) run a mile.
But one 26-year-old has taken it upon herself to spice up the mind-numbingly tedious process. Elise Wouters, a writer and poet from Belgium who currently lives in London, has penned a NSFW poem in protest at her treatment as an EU citizen in the UK during these unpredictable times. (It's still unclear what will happen to these 3.7m people in the event of a no-deal Brexit.)
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The poem, "A Brexit Flirtation", name-checks Fifty Shades, asks Boris to "lock me up" (rather her than us), and alludes to the potential "Atlantic flirtations" which the UK has to look forward to. In short: it's one of the most original takes on Brexit that you're likely to find. (Watch Wouters perform it in the clip above and read the full text below.)
"Along with 3.5 million Europeans from the continent living in the UK, I wasn’t allowed to vote in the referendum, nor can I take part in any potential upcoming elections," she explained to Refinery29. "I felt disenfranchised, and felt compelled to share my experience from the sidelines in a different way: poetry as punk."
Wouters believes that "it’s important that artists can challenge, empower, inspire and advocate through what they create" during times of turmoil. "Art has the power to offer a little slice of love, compassion, dissent or much-needed escapism. Poetry and humour are especially amazing tools for doing that, and a tongue-in-cheek attitude allows you to get away with so much more."
Wouters didn't use sexual innuendo to pique the interest of undersexed politicos – most of her writing explores desire and sexuality, she says, so "this erotic/ironic flirtation was the perfect approach for me to tackle Brexit. The sadomasochist tendencies of Leave campaigners provided a great source of inspiration as well."
After the referendum, Wouters noticed that a lot of the rhetoric surrounding Brexit was "loaded with potential double meanings", so she started playing around with the language. "May’s 'strong and stable' sounded like a mate in the middle of a messy break-up proudly declaring that they’re absolutely fine, while you know they’re kidding themselves and were just sobbing in the bathroom a minute ago."
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Wouters can't believe that "the last two years have led to this mad last-minute scramble" and is hoping the UK doesn't "crash out without a deal". She will eventually have to apply for the settled status scheme to stay in the country. "The word choice of 'apply' is troubling because it suggests you can be rejected," she says. "When I first moved here for university aged 17, I never thought I’d one day be questioning if, or trying to prove why, I still belong in this country I call home."
She took care not to portray herself as a victim in the poem, and says she "can sympathise with the Leave voters" who felt they'd been "left behind" by government. "Looking at Britain’s levels of homelessness, increasing poverty and unemployment, I worry about the impact of Brexit on vulnerable people who are already struggling."
A Brexit Flirtation
Give me a hard Brexit,
I want a Brussels on its knees Brexit,
Keen on a fifty shades of please Brexit,
A lock me up, Boris, and throw away the keys Brexit.
They say tensions are mounting,
I’m up for the pound taking a pounding,
No longer Europe’s little tease Brexit,
Maybe we should see other nations,
Quite like the sound of some Atlantic flirtations,
Only need the odd Spanish vacation,
I’m ready for my next exotic squeeze Brexit.
I’ll tighten my borders, my own needs come first,
The fruits of your cheap labour no longer quench my thirst,
My article 50 lies spread-eagled on the table,
I swear, after this break-up, I’ll be strong and stable.
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I’ll subsidise with little white lies,
Rule Britannia with bedroom eyes,
I’ll have my cake and eat yours too,
As long as you know there’s no jumping this queue.
So darling, auf wiedersehen, gracias, merci,
Our free trade was first rate,
But I’m sure there’s plenty more fish in the sea.
But then, it’s 4am, I’m staring at old texts,
I’m missing your French kisses; I’m wondering what is next,
The only thing I know is that I can’t quite call it quits,
Hey Europe babe, miss you, let’s be friends with benefits.
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