The Fisherman’s Wife

My ekphrastic pornetry, “The Fisherman’s Wife” isn’t immediately evident as octopus porn.  But yes, that poem is about a woman receiving “oral pleasure” from an (albeit sentient) octopus.  There are two primary references a reader would have to know to “get this” in the pome.  I didn’t just write, “Oh well, one day she decided to let an octopus and his nephew do a gangbang on her and feel her up while they were at it.”  Poetry is often times about decoding what’s going on and this is a piece where I wanted to play around with the topic of octopii-seks without raising flags by people who squick-out at the first thought.

To “get” this piece, you have to either A) Know a few things, or B) be willing to google them & look them up.  First reference in the Magic Decoder ring is the title of the piece with its reference to the painting, The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, a woodcut from 1814 by the Japanese artist Hokusai.  Without looking that up, the second reference is not immediately apparent, but if you look it up would unlock the context of poem.  That second reference is the direct use of the word, “ligula.”  I wasn’t writing the piece to be obscure, I was writing it to be direct without straight up saying, “This is an octopussy pomelette.” 1280px-Tako_to_ama_retouched

Frankly, this is where poetry becomes interesting:  if you enjoy word games, delayed satisfaction, and the feel of your tongue moving around in your mouth.  A poem is not necessarily all about “getting it” on the first read.  A really good poem should pull you back in, sometimes several times to grasp all which is going on in it.  You might not know “the whole story” on the first read.  It might take you more than one read.  You might have to look up words.  You might find rhyme in the middle of a line.  And each time you need to ask yourself, “Why?”  The writer might be trying to pull you in deeper because there is another story to tell, a deeper story.

Some people use this idea of how many layers there are to a piece of work as the actual defining characteristic of poetry, as opposed to verse.  But really, when it all comes down to it, a poem should be interesting enough that a reader wants to read it more than once.  On the other hand, once I mentioned the poem was octopus porn, the cards flew off the table.  Sometimes people just gotta be told that a piece of work is a puzzle.  Maybe that’s how writers need to introduce work to a public unused to pornetry.

Fisherman's Wife

Words I cannot form

There are very few writers out there who write about the topic of erotica and on erotic topics. Fewer still are worth reading, not just because the writing is either dry, prurient, gymnastic, or pedantic, but because they often lack intellectual rigor or come with a predisposed hypothesis to denigrate the expression.  Those writers I do enjoy, I’ll share.

One of the most important writers on the topic of the erotic and the genre is the writer pseudonymously called “Remittance Girl“.  She writes in several places on the net, including her blogRG In my opinion, she’s the preeminent writer on erotica that I’ve read.  While I don’t always agree with her, I find most of her erotic topics to be fearless, well-researched, and cogent.  Her fiction is timeless, but her critical pieces are priceless for the erotic literary genre because they are commonly researched into deep, considerate work.  I’m an adoring fan and can do little but paraphrase her, if not outright quote (with appropriate attribution  – please gawd don’t let me cock that up) her.  More often than not, I’ll just say, “You should link / like / look / read / revel in her blog,” and post a hyperlink.

I’d like to bring your attention to her current article at The Erotica Reader’s blog, Problems and Pleasures of the Myth of the Uncontrollable Urge, about rape fantasy, ethics, mythology, power, and the whole tumbled megaijinss around the topic. She turns what is usually the simple gymnastics of non-con into an interesting exploration of this difficult topic.  One of my favorite essays of hers is the 2010 article, “The Ethics and Eroticism of Non-Consensual Sex in Fiction.” Unfortunately, the two blog posts she’s responding to have disappeared into the internet.  Her novella, Gaijin, which, by the way is not sold on Amazon, (but is still available at SmashwordsBarnes & Noble, and Apple) deals with non-consent in an erotic context.  The desire reflected in the piece is complicated and unresolved.  Gaijin is well written with complex characterization, but if you have a trigger for rape, you need to avoid this work because it is unreservedly erotic, aka “hot”.  The fantasy is dark and there is pleasure.  Because she writes of the enjoyment, RG’s Gaijin could be considered a more difficult read, than Harriet Daimler’s, Darling, because Daimler initially gave us what we expect of the rape of a “frigid” woman.  Her middle and end were as intensely brutal as RG’s, but still, the act itself was not eroticized, so was much more “black and white.”

In neither of these works is the rape taken as the literary vehicle to relieve a virgin of her “unwanted” state, nor is the “hero” / rapist redeemed.  In the ’70s (and through the 80’s, but I ignored the whole genre until the 2000s)  there was much written about the “unwilling” woman who was seduced / forced / succumbed to the ravishing ravisher.  Sharon Green‘s turned me off such work, but she does have a following.  Not my cup of tea though because it struck me as coy and repetitive.i should break your face

But I leave it to a writer like Remittance Girl to help us evaluate and understand this draw to the darker side of such fantasies.  I can’t contribute much sense to the conversation besides the fact that, yes, I too have written non-con and do find it arousing to read but no, I have no desire to be raped.  I’m as hard core a feminist as you could find, who does not feel bad about her sexuality and really wouldn’t do very well dominated by a man.  As my DH says, “Oh hell no, I’m not gonna try spanking you, you’d whine.”  Yep.  I would.