A servant’s prayer by Lee Harrington

from “On Starry Thighs: Sacred and Sensual Poetry” with author’s permission

You lay
languidly back
as I lay out our course
nervous of what
you will think
of my tribute

Black latex
slides down
over each finger
snaps into place
as you look up
grant me a smile

Hands lube wet
palm to palm
in a lover’s prayer
as eye catches eye
and I stop
to stare

I take you in
as one finger at a time
you take me
into your cavern
your secret realms
breath by breath

Clench and release
you make room for me
in your life
I coach you
on taking me in
taking this path together

Each grunt
builds on the last
until at last
you open up
rosebud
blooming in my palm

Birthing goddess
welcoming god
I stop caring
as my hand rests
inside your root
and comes alive

Pulse to pulse
my fingers
reach up
caressing eternity
in your churning core
from the inside

Both of our heads
roll back
tears streaming
clenching down
in time
with my heart

Let me worship
this moment
of vulnerability
bowing low
your servant
before the sling

Your spark inside
explodes
before my eyes
each breath
an eternity
in the thunderous sky

You writhe
divinity unfurling
quaking in my hands
rain streaming
down both
of our flushed cheeks

I pull away
moment at a time
until you release me
trying so desperately
to hold onto
this moment

Open wide, inside
your starry thighs
I am stripped away
as my hands
tremble at the loss

Pet Corner: a_mara and Tinker

How long have you identified as a handler, pet, or both?

AM: I have been an owner for four years.

T:   Tinker has identified as a puppy for five years: a Big Doggo! Blue Heeler mix.


What makes you the happiest in your identity?

AM: I enjoy the sense of connection between Owner and pup. Sharing an extremely personal experience without expectation of reward. 

T: Tinker enjoys the sense of freedom she gets when she is in pup mode… and cuddles, lots and lots of cuddles.

What is your favorite activity?

AM &T:  Playtime, when we can get it. Life tends to get in the way. 

What rituals/protocols/items/gear helps you get into the right head-space?

AM &T:  Sharing the quiet, focused moments when putting on Tinker’s collar or hood before teaching, playtime, bedtime, etc. 

What is the hardest thing about being a handler/pet/both?

AM &T:  Communication, whether in human mode or pup mode.

What is something the biological pet/animal that you identify with does, that you wish you could do too? 

T: Shake off water after a shower… Tink gets dizzy.

Handler, if you could build a mini zoo of 3 favorite species of pets, what would they be and why? 

AM: Bears, great apes, and sheep. Bears because they are noble, sociable, and very protective of their families. Great Apes, for their emotional socialization and their ability to think around a problem. Sheep, because they are species that my puppy can herd around and can be fed to the former.

What advice would you like to pass on to new handlers or pets?

AM &T:  Communication is very important. It’s difficult but only because it is that important. Communication is the building block of any relationship. 

What learning resources have you found most beneficial?

AM &T:  Search engines are wonderful things when you can’t speak or don’t feel comfortable enough with another person to talk to but the information you gather doesn’t mean anything until you can sort out what you like by actually, physically going to experience it. Going to as many educational seminars/classes as possible on the subject. Not being afraid to ask questions, the only wrong question is the one you didn’t ask. 

a_mara (she/her) and Tinker (puppy)

Bar Louie…A Tale of Strangers by Kinky Whovian

Our first meeting was over a cocktail at Bar Louie (RIP). She came from the swinger world, and I came from the kinky netherworld.  Apparently my world piqued her curiosity, as she quickly asked me about a kinky fantasy I’d like to try, and this is what I shared:

One day, I will say to you, “You will receive a package at your door, but you must wait to open it. At 6 pm sharp, take the contents (lingerie, skimpy dress, flipflops, and GPS coordinates), change into the clothes and input the coordinates into your maps app.

Do not delay.  I have calculated that you will arrive at 7pm SHARP with an hour of sunlight left to illuminate your progress. Park at the bottom of the hill and make your way up the trail. You’ll know when you have arrived.  Do not bother texting me; I will know you are there.”

Our first meeting was over a cocktail at Bar Louie (RIP). She came from the swinger world, and I came from the kinky netherworld.  Apparently my world piqued her curiosity, as she quickly asked me about a kinky fantasy I’d like to try, and this is what I shared:

One day, I will say to you, “You will receive a package at your door, but you must wait to open it. At 6 pm sharp, take the contents (lingerie, skimpy dress, flipflops, and GPS coordinates), change into the clothes and input the coordinates into your maps app. Do not delay.  I have calculated that you will arrive at 7pm SHARP with an hour of sunlight left to illuminate your progress. Park at the bottom of the hill and make your way up the trail. You’ll know when you have arrived.  Do not bother texting me; I will know you are there.”

Here is what comes next:  When you get to the top of the trail, you find a tree with a chain wrapped around a sturdy limb. You feel exposed and vulnerable in your skimpy dress when you spy me dressed to the nines. “Remove my necktie,” I instruct before taking it from you to cover your eyes. Having robbed you of your sight, I instruct you to present your wrists for binding.  The solid click of the cuffs closing continues to echo in your ears as I hoist them up, locking them to the chain. I unsheathe the rather large and SHARP knife strapped to my belt and proceed to cut off your dress, revealing the cotton bra and panties underneath. I carefully run the knife up and down your exposed flesh and watch the goosebumps rise up and lay siege to your skin. I grab your hair and pull your head back before deftly cutting off your bra and panties so I can revel in the way the soft twilight caresses your naked body. I deploy my arsenal of toys –  floggers, canes, violet wand, vampire gloves, wartenberg wheels, nipple clamps, and vibrators. Like Mozart to the harpsichord, I play your body with passion and precision, composing music made of gasps, whimpers, moans, and other gratifying noises.  Using my tools, I shape them into a symphony of pain and pleasure, culminating in an explosive orgasm.

Your head is bowed, your breathing is heavy, and I unlock the carabiner and gently lower your arms down in front of you. I free you from your blindfold so I can look deep in your eyes to bring you back to me.  The scent of rose petals greet you when I lead you through the door of a nearby cabin. I softly kiss your wrists when I uncuff them before lowering you into the warm water of a waiting bath.   You luxuriate in the feel of my fingers on your scalp as I wash your hair and wonder at the play of candlelight in the water drops as I rinse the sweat off your glistening skin.  You know that next I will lead you to the bed where I will ravage you… and make you my own.

As I spoke these words, her eyes grew wide, her breath deepened, she absentmindedly stroked my arm… and I knew then that she would be mine.

Written by Kinky Whovian

COMMUNITY FLAG: Rubber Flag

There are lots of flags to represent a range of kinks which include LGBT+ people but also include cisgender heterosexuals.  Of these, the Rubber Pride Flag is one of the most popular and well established, dating from 1994. It also symbolizes latex fetish. Rubber Fetishists are a subsection of the BDSM community in which the focus is on latex and rubber rather than leather. They tend to be forgotten by Leatherpeople but in a time of unity we hope to honor Rubber people as well!

Rubber Flag

The Rubber/Latex pride flag features a black, red and yellow chevron on a black background. A marvel piece of fetish history, the flag was designed by Peter Talos and Scott Moats, as a means to “identify like-minded men and it reflects the sensory, sensual and mental passion for rubber”.  The colors of the rubber flag have meaning. Each hand picked to represent every rubber-lover, Talos and Moats describe the color choices as “Black represents lust for the look and feel for shiny black rubber,” the red symbolizes “our blood passion for rubber and rubbermen,” while yellow highlights “our drive for intense rubber play and fantasies.” It also features a literal kink… for obvious reasons. 

Dear Miss Velvet…

Dear Miss Velvet – “I am a cis-het woman in a relationship with a man for about a year.  Our sex life has never been ideal, but of late, it has been pretty much nonexistent.  A friend of mine recently happened upon my partner’s secret account on Fet.  When I asked about it, he told me he is entitled to his secrets and refuses to discuss or even acknowledge it, even as he has deleted the account and presumably signed up for a new one. I feel like if he would talk to me about it, it could improve our relationship, both emotionally and sexually. I’m wondering if the interests listed in his account would explain why he seems to have no interest in touching me as well as what else he might be hiding.  I’m wondering if I am actually the kind of woman he wants to be with.  What do I do?” – Sincerely, Hurting in Hurst


Dear Hurting in Hurst,

There is a difference between privacy and secrets.  We are all entitled to privacy in our relationships, but secrets are harmful.  They affect the relationship without one party understanding, and they rob the unwitting party of informed consent to be in the relationship.  Of particular interest in your case is that this is not actually a secret anymore, since you know about it, but he still refuses to acknowledge or discuss it.  You say your sex life is suffering and you question his attraction to you, but he refuses to have the discussion to either ease your mind or confirm your suspicions.  Allowing your partner to remain in pain when you have the key to soothe them is selfish and unloving.  

Perhaps more serious is the erosion of trust you have in your partner.  Without trust, your relationship is no longer a solid source of support through which you grow and flourish, but instead becomes a source of doubt, suspicion, fear, anxiety, and even depression.  Intimacy suffers and coping behaviors – be they distancing, controlling, or bad habits – can be harmful to both you and the relationship. 

If he had written to me, I would encourage him to have a frank conversation with you; his honesty would help to begin to repair that trust.  For you, I would recommend you approach him again with a clear intent to understand what’s going on with him rather than with an accusatory tone.  If he still maintains his tight-lipped stance, perhaps instead of wondering if you are the partner he wants, it is time to start asking yourself if he is the partner you want.

Dear Miss Velvet Steele (she/her)

LEATHER EDUCATION: Leather Care by KinkyIrishCowboy

When living a leather lifestyle, it’s obvious that leather care is a very important part of our community.  We all want to look nice in our leather items whether it is just our boots, jackets or in our formal leathers.  There isn’t one set in stone way on how you should care for your leather items. Those of us who have dedicated our time to doing this for our community are called bootblacks.  All our community bootblacks step up and volunteer time to assist us in keeping our leathers looking great.  What gets overlooked sometimes is that any one can take basic care of leather items – all it takes is a little know-how and some basic supplies.

With a little know how, you can take something like this and turn it into this (see boots below)!                                

All it takes is some soap, conditioner and some polish.   There are many brands of polish and conditioners out there.  Most you can buy on Amazon or directly from the company, but there are some members of our community that also make soaps and conditioners.  I love supporting our local bootblacks in this regard.

The standard soaps that most people use are either saddle soap or glycerin soap.  Saddle soap typically comes in a tin or in liquid form.  Conditioners come in an oil form or a cream.  When it comes to polish, this product is typically only used on boots. The choice between the brands and types of products we use are a personal choice of the person who owns the item or the individual taking care of the item if the owner doesn’t have a preference.   There are some brands that people don’t like the smell of or they may prefer the smell of a particular brand.  As a general rule, I always ask the owner if they have a preference when it comes to what brands I use. 

To start a basic kit all you really need is saddle soap or glycerin soap, a conditioner like Huberd’s or Obenauf’s, some cotton rags (t-shirts work great), and some black and neutral polish, a brush to buff with and a brush to apply the polish unless you want to use your hands.  You can even use latex/non-latex gloves if you prefer.  Then you need something to store it in and a small tool box works great for that. 

Leather care is not just for clothes and boots.  You can use the knowledge on almost any leather item.  I have worked on everything from toys to motorcycle saddlebags and everything in between. You would use the same types of products with the exception of polish.  For example a saddle bag can be cleaned with glycerin or saddle soap and can be conditioned as well. 

Keeping all this in mind, there are some leather items that require special care. One example is reptile.  In situations where you are dealing with a special care item, definitely reach out to a seasoned bootblack for step-by-step instructions on how to handle such leather.
If you are interested in learning more, Titans of the Midwest have created the Kink U brand and they have a great bootblack series on YouTube that was done by bootblacks from all over. Click here to watch one of their episodes. 

The best rule of thumb is if you are unsure of what to do, then ask for help.   Anyone can do basic leather care.  It is almost a guarantee that someone you know is either a bootblack or knows one.  The best part is that most of us are willing to help some who wants to learn even if it is for private use. Even seasoned bootblacks have questions from time to time and we reach out to each other.  So when you have questions, remember that your friendly neighborhood bootblack is only a phone call or Fetlife message away.

JANUARY 2020 NLA-DALLAS PROGRAM: Alistair LeatherHiraeth

At the January program following the General Meeting, we were introduced to the 2020 European Family Bootblack, Alistair aka LeatherHiraeth, who had stayed up quite late to present to us from the UK.  With a camera trained on his face and one on his work, Alistair walked us through some techniques for keeping our boots shined while also telling us a bit about himself and his journey.

Raised in a rural area of Wales, Alistair was taught early how to care for his boots.  His father, a Royal Navy man, made sure his son knew how to spit shine and also how to use a unique technique he called hot spoons.  As he was coming into his own, Alistair yearned for something he couldn’t name until he discovered Leather.  He read about it avidly and discovered DK Leather and the UK KRuel Leather Family, which he petitioned to join 7 years ago.  He was accepted into the fold and given the name Hiraeth, a Welsh word that means “a yearning to belong, a homesickness; for a place, an idea, an emotion or people.”  

During the presentation, Alistair’s words flowed easily, with occasional additions by his Master DK Leather, as his hands worked fluidly and ceaselessly on his boots.  He had some boots he had stripped with acetone and subsequently thoroughly cleaned.  When asked how to tell they were clean, he said smell was the best indicator that the acetone (or ethyl alcohol) was gone.  He showed a variety of conditioners and commented on what he thought of each one, with his favorite smelling one being Wren’s Dubbin. 

Alistair shared a couple of techniques with the group, but the first one was a particularly unique way to achieve a hard high shine.  He uses a hot spoon.  He scoops some polish with a spoon and heats the bowl with a lighter, being careful not to light it on fire or heat it too hot so as not to change its chemical makeup.  Once the polish becomes liquid, he tips it gently bit by bit onto the boot, using the back of the spoon to fill in the dents and spread it.  When satisfied with the coverage, he sets it aside to harden.  Once hardened, he sprays it with water and brushes it out.  He repeats this process with progressively harder polishes and finishes by buffing it to a high shine.  

Alistair is fundraising to fulfill the goals he set out for his title year as European Bootblack 2020, and also for his travel fund to get himself and his fabulous support team to IML in 2021 to compete for the International Mr. Bootblack title.  To help support Alistair, check out https://www.getyourhandsdirty.co.uk/support-alistair/.  

If you are interested in learning more about Alistair and his Leather family, check out https://www.getyourhandsdirty.co.uk/ where you will also find info on all his favorite products. 

NLA-DALLAS MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – Malcolm!

Malcolm identifies himself as an in-charge person and defines Leather as the ideals in which he tries to live his life: Honesty, Loyalty, and Integrity. His first experience with Leather and the Leather community  was hanging out at his father’s store in Houston called Blackhawk Leather and working on their computers. Although he originally joined NLA-Dallas for the educational resources, he shares that what keeps him most involved is the people. “I have made so many life-long connections through NLA-Dallas. I couldn’t even begin to name them all.” Also self-described as a computer, TV, and video game enthusiast, he loves everything tech related. 

Often, he’s found in front of a computer or taking something apart with the tv on and running in the background. Speaking of video games, he says, “I enjoy a good story and being a part of it!” He feels that over the last few years NLA-Dallas has become a bit stagnant. In his observation, this happens in groups when ‘a change of blood’ is about to take place. He elaborates by stating, “it’s great to see so many fresh faces with exciting ideas step up and keep the organization alive.”  He feels that NLA-Dallas is on a good path and encourages them to keep it up with new and exciting ideas. If there’s something you want to do and are passionate about, speak up and let’s hear it!

Out of his top three kink passions, volunteering comes to the top of the list as evidenced by his early days in the community. He could be seen at a Committee Meeting on almost any night of the week until he learned how to find a healthy balance, which admittedly took a long time. He affectionately describes rough body play as another passion: enjoying the primal actions, getting close and feeling interactions and the energy created with your other. Lastly, Malcolm’s evil smirk comes out when talking of electric play, “I love a good reaction and zapping someone with electricity certainly applies!” His utmost memorable Leather experience was his first year as Beyond Vanilla Co-Director putting out those pop-up “fires” with the BV Team that always seem to happen at events. Watching everyone laughing and enjoying themselves influenced him the most. “It is a feeling and rush like no other,” says Malcolm. Thanks to his and the BV Team’s dedication, it’s a conference we all anticipate with lasting memories to cherish.

Malcolm (he/him)

Cold Branding with Ritz Kracker

Based out of San Antonio, we have seen him at many conventions vending whips and things of the like but today we are sitting down with Ritz Kracker of RK whips and talking about Cold Branding. Ritz, himself was introduced to this branding form about 6 years ago from a friend in Florida. He spent a considerable amount of time studying the skill and the science behind it before starting to do this type of branding and now considers himself a “3rd generation” cold brander. If he is set-up for the cold brands he says it takes about 5 minutes from start to finish and states “doing cold branding feels like I’m Voldemort. I get to put the dark mark on you.”

So clearly our first question was “what is cold branding?”

Cold branding started in the 70’s as a way to mark livestock that was less painful to them. It is a process of using a metal form that is placed in a freezing liquid made by dry ice and alcohol or by using liquid nitrogen and then placing against the skin for a certain amount of time. It was described as “at first, there isn’t really anything but cold; followed by a tingling “asleep” sensation; then a mild burn type feeling.  The duration of the brand is based on the usage of dry ice vs. liquid nitrogen, placement, genetic makeup, how hard the brand is pressed, and type of metal the brand is made of. For example: a Tin-type metal will retain the cold better and thus leave a longer lasting brand.

He will not do the cold brands where skin will touch skin (example: testicles or vagina because the skin will fold over onto itself.”  He does not rank it high on a pain scale as it is more of just an irritant but it can take up to 5 or 6 weeks to heal a harder brand. If it becomes a blister, you should not pop the blister and continue care as if it were a normal blister. Cold branding could potentially be a spiritual experience but a lot of people use it as a cool temporary body mod. In cold branding, if you are not quick with your reactions then topping may not be a good idea for you as you have to be quick to notice in case there is condensation pooling from the stencil. Otherwise the brand can go bad and be muddled. You have to take time, learn how the skin moves, and how tight the skin is. In Heat Branding, it breaks the skin so it does have to be handled a different way. In a heat brand you have to leave a break in your design so the skin does not fall off. Another bit of useful information is that POC or heavier melanin individuals should be aware that they could potentially lose pigmentation in that location and also if done over a tattoo it will scar the tattoo.

We do want you to be aware that reading this article, in no way teaches you to do Cold Branding. However, Ritz does invite those who are interested to contact him on Fetlife  or email him at ritzkrackerwhip@gmail.com to learn or experience it.

Ritz Kracker (he/him)

SweetSalt’s Earned Leather Ceremony

Once upon a time in a far-off land there was a small, private group of like-minded Leather people that united for a weekend of fellowship, appropriately distanced of course. Does it sound like the beginning of a fairy tale? Well, not exactly, but Craptastic 2020 has handed us a year where we learned to overcome and celebrate in our brothers and sisters successes and triumphs. Seriously though, one of the most spectacular experiences that occurred the weekend of November 21st was a beautiful ceremony of acceptance, recognition and love. Those in attendance were blessed enough to bear witness to one such amazing Leatherwoman who was recognized after years of service, commitment and selfless dedication to our community: SweetSalt.

Master Malik started by reminding us that they had been together for a little over 5 years. “It’s been an interesting and fascinating journey.” And he wanted to give her earned Leather after reaching out to some of her friends first. He asked them to share their thoughts “does she deserve earned Leather?” As anyone that knows her would agree, the resounding response was: hell yes!  The first response was a beautifully crafted message of adoration from Briar read aloud by a teary-eyed rebel. Briar believes SweetSalt’s consistent actions uphold the principles of Leather: honor, integrity, trust, respect, and loyalty. Sir Mark (in a sexy pair of bike shorts and a leather vest) shared his thoughts and conversations within the Leather Heart Clan on her being a rock, always exemplifying her values in her actions, and being a leader within our Leather community. Next, Alice read a letter from Master TC where he spoke of his awe watching her transformation from a shy girl into a confident, strong woman with self-respect who is an amazing teacher, “AND ONE HELL OF A LEATHERWOMAN.” Master Malik read a letter from Hardy Haberman next that referenced many of her endearing qualities, but it really all boiled down to “she marches to the beat of her own drum.” Lastly, rebel shared Ivey’s thoughts where she described how she viewed SweetSalt as the embodiment of Leather, about being unapologetically yourself and fucking! Finally, and most deserving, Master Malik dressed SweetSalt in her earned vest. She strives to do more of  “her Leather” for her peers, community, and her Master, but this moment of recognition is an experience she will forever treasure because “It made me feel like I actually have made a positive difference which part of my purpose in life.”

SweetSalt (she/her)