"Goodnight my little farting Nora - my dirty little fuckbird., There is one lovely word darling you have underlined to make me pull myself off better. Write me more about that and yourself -sweetly - dirtier - dirtier." - James Joyce, Twist., Um if I should fail if I should fold I nailed my flag to the sticking pole, Wonderful Electric Cover me with You, You get love when told what to do
The above is a link to a poem, and its history, which I have provided in lieu of the full text, as it is without doubt something that would be too large a mouthful for some readers, and is explicit enough to warrant a small warning in advance. That was your warning, if you want to read it, go wild and click away. It is by the writer W.H.Auden, and was considered too erotic to be published in 1948. I find it interesting because he loses his writing ability in parts it seems, and I suspect this is due to the excitement coursing through him as he recalls the experience, or imagines one he would like to occur. Fiction is when people make things up, not actually act them out someone told me recently, and there’s every chance they are right laughs – however, if a writer has the ideal skills, he or she must have you believe their tales are true. Make me a believer say I. The poem here, well I think it’s actually quite awful in parts technically, though a great deal of the lines are of his usual standard, and I absolutely cannot fault his attention to detail nor his enthusiasm. He wished this poem to be seen by some and handed it out to many people – I’m sure he was aware that no publisher would touch it with a barge pole, (I seem to be abounding in words that connect, but they are pure Freudian slips of course), it was eventually published anyway, without his permission in 1965.
Some will hate it, some will not. It is nothing if not extremely visual, and if the aim of poetry is to make one feel, then it does its job well enough, although the feelings raised will run the gamut from one extreme to the other I imagine.
The topic at hand here is erotic/sexual (purple?) prose. Another example is below by Maggie Estep, and it is rather tamer in nature. It makes a point of shouting out words that might shock some, those considered to be in polite society at least. I find most of polite society to be utter dullards personally. And those who eschew at least a little sauce are missing out on miles of extra smiles. I imagine the poem becomes less shocking every day that passes mind you, to more and more people – it shocks me not one jot – I doubt any of my usual readers will bat an eye either (barring the Professor who may faint on the spot). I don’t find it wonderful, but it does what it sets out to do I suppose, part of which I imagine is to say that which tends to be considered crude and ‘un-lady-like’. Shout it out repeatedly, both deny and big up its power, or simply tell someone to stop fannying around and get on with it. laughs some more.
Fuck Me by Maggie Estep
I’m all screwed up so
and take out the garbage
feed the cat and FUCK ME
you can do it, I know you can.
and theorize about
Sado Masochism’s relationship
to classical philosophy
tell me how this stimulates
the fabric of most human relationships,
I love that kind of pointless intellectualism
so do it again and
Stop being logical
the origins of evil
and the beauty of death
this is not a TV movie about Plato sex life,
this is FUCK ME
so FUCK ME
It’s the pause that refreshes
just add water and
I wrote this
so I’d have a good excuse to say “FUCK ME”
over and over
so I could get a lot of attention
and look, it worked!
So thank you
and fuck ME.
Erotic writing, be it poetry or in the form of fiction skates a fine line; it can be perfect, but it is very easy for it to veer off into something poorly put together, cheesy, corny or plain smut-filled. A pale shadow of 50 Shades of Grey, which in itself seems to have whetted the public’s , (or at least certainly a fair amount of the female populations) palates for erotic writing, though that particular tome is mere mush for the masses to my mind. How think you, the reader, here taking in these words, upon the subject? And if anyone has any suggestions as to poems, or books that they consider to fit the bill, I shall happily add them either below, or in a future post.
Personal taste, as ever, runs rife through the reactions of any audience. When erotic prose is written as a gift, from one lover to another, between the two of them alone, then it can be something cherished, crafted with both love and lust from he to she, (or any other gender combination from either end). A missive to treasure with pleasure perhaps, (all the more-so if the author can write well). Post it up for the world to see and then it morphs into something else, it becomes so much less precious and so much more commonplace.
Having mused upon the subject, I thought, long and hard, as to which poem I would have as an example of (in my personal opinion), good, very good erotic writing. E.E Cummings (so wonderfully named), has penned a good few, as has Pablo Neruda, however my own choice is ‘Love Song’ by Ted Hughes – a piece which takes words and twists them violently, tears then pulls them lovingly into a stream of pure adulterated passion; dark obsession plaited fast with whorled threads of adoration and affliction. It has something of the eternal about it for me.
Love Song – Ted Hughes
He loved her and she loved him.
His kisses sucked out her whole past and future or tried to
He had no other appetite
She bit him she gnawed him she sucked
She wanted him complete inside her
Safe and sure forever and ever
Their little cries fluttered into the curtains
Her eyes wanted nothing to get away
Her looks nailed down his hands his wrists his elbows
He gripped her hard so that life
Should not drag her from that moment
He wanted all future to cease
He wanted to topple with his arms round her
Off that moment’s brink and into nothing
Or everlasting or whatever there was
Her embrace was an immense press
To print him into her bones
His smiles were the garrets of a fairy palace
Where the real world would never come
Her smiles were spider bites
So he would lie still till she felt hungry
His words were occupying armies
Her laughs were an assassin’s attempts
His looks were bullets daggers of revenge
His glances were ghosts in the corner with horrible secrets
His whispers were whips and jackboots
Her kisses were lawyers steadily writing
His caresses were the last hooks of a castaway
Her love-tricks were the grinding of locks
And their deep cries crawled over the floors
Like an animal dragging a great trap
His promises were the surgeon’s gag
Her promises took the top off his skull
She would get a brooch made of it
His vows pulled out all her sinews
He showed her how to make a love-knot
Her vows put his eyes in formalin
At the back of her secret drawer
Their screams stuck in the wall
Their heads fell apart into sleep like the two halves
Of a lopped melon, but love is hard to stop
In their entwined sleep they exchanged arms and legs
In their dreams their brains took each other hostage
In the morning they wore each other’s face
I shall leave you with an amusing poem sticking to the theme of this post that I came across loitering in some small corner of the web. It may provide a… ‘happy ending’ shall we say….
On Reading Poorly Transcribed Erotica by Jill Alexander Essbaum
She stood before him wearing only pantries
and he groped for her Volvo under the gauze.
She had saved her public hair, and his cook
went hard as a fist. They fell to the bad.
He shoveled his duck into her posse
and all her worm juices spilled out.
Still, his enormous election raged on.
Her beasts heaved as he sacked them,
and his own nibbles went stuff as well.
She put her tong in his rear and talked ditty.
Oh, it was all that he could do not to comb.