Canada is cool. Like Fonzie.

You know what the funniest thing about Canada is? It’s the little differences. Wonderful place it is, the message could not be clearer: if you want unsweetened ice tea at any store or restaurant, fast food or fancy, you can drink lemonade-sweetened Nestea or fuck right off you wimp.

Given that it’s a British Commonwealth, or something, I’d thought Canada would have more sensitivity to the variations of tea people like to drink.

Basilique Notre-Dame De Montréal on Canada Day en route to the fireworks show at Old Port.

Breezed through with only part of a day in Toronto and two days in Montréal. In French-speaking Québec I fought the instinct to gush out my halting high school French freshman year skills. Kept the clumsily composed phrases to myself, sometimes whispering them when the moment passed. Did break out a few “Merci” without shame. Increased resolve to some day get to France and of course apologize to all around for George W. Bush-era and now Trump-era buffoonery done by Republicans des états-unis.

I unknowingly scheduled us to arrive in Montréal on Canada Day (July 1). I got to the Old Port where a 10 p.m. fireworks display was the crescendo to a day-long event. The city was active, weather great, and a lot of human activity.

I missed the first minute of fireworks as I was still walking down a street to get within sight. The music was not the national anthem of “Oh, Canada”. It was the main music theme to the “Lord of the Rings”. Then after about 10-12 minutes of medium trajectory fireworks, the show was over. Disney-trained me expected spectacle, grandeur, patriotism, boasting, expense! Fireworks in shapes! Hearts! Mickey Mouse heads! Fireworks bursting inside other fireworks then becoming another kind of fireworks!

Instead it was a modest “Here are your fireworks. Got ‘em? Good. Now let’s all go home. The police are working late and most of you probably have got work tomorrow. It’s Monday night.”

Others leisurely and pleasantly walking back didn’t seem to be as bewildered and underwhelmed as I was. Then I started laughing and I’m still chuckling on & off about it now.

(Below: “Autoportrait” (2016) by Yannick Pouliot. A two-way mirror. [Right] Your narrator. My daughter and I marveled at this exchanging places. [Left] Daughter sits to rest as I stand on the other side.)

Within the first few minutes of watching Canada television, my daughter remarked during a commercial break for a local show & tell programm(e) that most every element seemed to not yell or want to rattle the t.v. in the way that we were used to. Typically that’s attributed to a Canadian trait/stereotype of modesty (“Sorry”). But Canada has national healthcare. The U.S. does not. Canada seems better in attending to general well-being. Increasingly I don’t think the tone is attributed to modesty so much as we in the U.S. are accustomed to feeling so on edge, working to exhaustion, aware that a major health event could bankrupt us and put us on the street, that we need to get screamed at to get our attention. Stress and worry has made us collectively dumber and more selfish and unable to identify our true sources of stress. Our media often whips us up then directs us to the wrong causes for why life/society isn’t working for us like it could. In the wealthiest nation in human history.

As we wrapped up watching the “Good Omens” series finale (fun - ups & downs - but fun!), Room Service (ehm, I mean “Service Aux Chambre”) knocked on our door tonight and accidentally gave us extra sheets and blankets. So our teens made a pillow & blanket shelter.

Le Forte du Portland Famillie en Montréal, Québec.

Yes, we had poutine in Montréal. Two different kinds. La Banquise seves 30 different kinds and is open 24 hours a day. Charming place, tasty. Back to the States tomorrow!

"Wanda Why Aren't You Dead" by Wanda Coleman

[Orig. posted 2015] Anyone who clings to the tow rope of self as we climb - while circumstances and others flit and swirl around to make you change or stay the same, which of course is everyone - can relate to "Wanda Why Aren't You Dead".

This poem is already great: patters, vernacular, evocative of a variety of voices. With race riots in the news, again, with rage and hope fueling masses of people with demands for long overdue justice - many lines resonated with me. This poem is much grander than race, but "wanda what is it like being black" brought to the fore a dynamic that has jabbed many times.

Oregon is not a diverse state, and has a deeply racist past toward blacks in particular. And when talk of race arises, if there is anyone present at all who is non-white, that person is not only "other" in a room of whites, but often feels obliged to speak not on her/his behalf, but on behalf of the experiences of millions of people that run a range of experiences and a spectrum of barely-related shades spread across continents (but of course are people born and raised for generations in the U.S. like most everyone else in the room). And these obligations to speak on behalf of entire races/skin tones often leaves hanging in the air: "But what does she/he think as an individual?"

But that is only a part of Wanda Coleman's poem which wittily comments on womanhood and the human condition and the way we try to control one another, and how we have to resist being defined by others.

The photo montage in the video below, with many photos of Wanda Coleman in various stages of her life as Coleman recites her poem, is a brief & worthwhile. Coleman died in 2013. Her biography at Poetry Foundation.

Wanda Why Aren't You Dead
By Wanda Coleman

wanda when are you gonna wear your hair down
wanda. that's a whore's name
wanda why ain't you rich
wanda you know no man in his right mind want a
          ready-made family
why don't you lose weight
wanda why are you so angry
how come your feet are so goddamn big
can't you afford to move out of this hell hole
if i were you were you were you
wanda what is it like being black
i hear you don't like black men
tell me you're ac/dc. tell me you're a nympho. tell me you're
          into chains
wanda i don't think you really mean that
you're joking. girl, you crazy
wanda what makes you so angry
wanda i think you need this
wanda you have no humor in you you too serious
wanda i didn't know i was hurting you
that was an accident
wanda i know what you're thinking
wanda i don't think they'll take that off of you

wanda why are you so angry

i'm sorry i didn't remember that that that
that that that was so important to you

wanda you're ALWAYS on the attack

wanda wanda wanda i wonder

why ain't you dead


"My Mother" by Frieda Hughes, a daughter's love & fury

"[My mother] wasted nothing of what she felt" — Frieda Hughes, daughter of poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

I'm reading Ariel: The Restored Edition by Sylvia Plath. Published in 2004, it presents the full set of poems that Sylvia Plath intended for her collection Ariel. Initially, Sylvia Plath's widower, poet Ted Hughes, had removed 12 poems from Ariel when published in 1965, two years after Plath's suicide, mostly because they were directed at particular family members and friends that would have been hurtful. He selected 12 other poems and an introduction by poet Robert Lowell. The Restored Edition removes the 12 Ted Hughes added and restores the 12 Plath left in a black notebook with her manuscript.

This book has a facsimile of her manuscript with several edits by Plath. It's interesting to look at her notations and process.

Ted Hughes & Sylvia Plath

Some people who project themselves into Sylvia Plath's poetry and biography have long viewed Hughes as a misogynistic villain looking to suppress his gifted wife. Frieda Hughes, one of Plath & Hughes' daughters, defends her father throughout the Forward:

In considering Ariel for publication my father had faced a dilemma. He was well aware of the extreme ferocity with which some of my mother's poems dismembered those close to her — her husband, her mother, her father, and my father's uncle Walter, even neighbors and acquaintances. He wished to give the book a broader perspective in order to make it more acceptable to readers, rather than alienate them. He felt that some of the nineteen late poems, written after the manuscript was completed, should be represented. "I simply wanted to make the best book I could," he told me.

All of the poems Ted Hughes removed showed up in Plath's Collected Poems, published in 1981 and edited by Ted Hughes. In that book, Ted Hughes listed the original poems in Ariel that Plath had left in her manuscript.

My father had a profound respect for my mother's work in spite of being one of the subjects of its fury. For him the work was the thing, and he saw the care of it as a means of tribute and a responsibility.

Frieda Hughes then becomes devastating toward family interlopers. It took me a long time to read Sylvia Plath because oa cult of possession and preciousness got in the way of my ability to value the work (and I struggle with poetry anyway — and, okay, this silly-ass reason, too). But this section provided a direct connection where she sums up people who attack her father and reshape her mentally imbalanced and astonishingly talented mother into a golem:

But the point of anguish at which my mother killed herself was taken over by strangers, possessed and reshaped by them. The collection of Ariel poems became symbolic to me of this possession of my mother and of the wider vilification of my father. It was as if the clay from her poetic energy was taken up and versions of my mother made out of it, invented to reflect only the inventors, as if they could possess my real, actual mother

The Forward is fascinating. With thought and care it fans away the fog of melodrama. It tethered me from a person still living to passionate, caring, flawed people. On the role of her father, Frieda Hughes sums up:

When she died leaving Ariel as her last book, she was caught in the act of revenge, in a voice that had been honed and practiced for years, latterly with the help of my father. Though he became a victim of it, ultimately he did not shy away from its mastery.

Frieda Hughes, a painter and a writer with several volumes, maintains that she did not read either parent's poetry until she was 35, save for a few instances where her father read children's verse to her or played recordings. She wanted to establish her own identity away from her parents' work. Intellectually, avoiding your famous parents' poems is possible. When they came up as a subject of study, Frieda says she was able to develop another course of study with her tutors. Bad marks would be devastating, good marks would lead to her being thought as having an advantage. Though, Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence howls at this claim at decades-long avoidance. Frieda Hughes in a speech also describes holding her mother's books in bookstores, presumably without opening them, thinking of what if her mother had lived, and setting the books down and leaving.

Frieda Hughes wrote the furious poem "My Mother" on the verge of the movie Sylvia, a BBC production starring Gwyneth Paltrow released in 2003. Frieda Hughes, her mother's literary executor after the death of her father in 1998, denied the use of her mother's poetry in the film. Biography can add color to art, but there's a balance to be struck between sublime absorption and ghoulishness.

MY MOTHER

by Frieda Hughes

They are killing her again.
She said she did it
One year in every ten,
But they do it annually, or weekly,
Some even do it daily,
Carrying her death around in their heads
And practising it. She saves them
The trouble of their own;
They can die through her
Without ever making
The decision. My buried mother
Is up-dug for repeat performances.

Now they want to make a film
For anyone lacking the ability
To imagine the body, head in oven,
Orphaning children. Then
It can be rewound
So they can watch her die
Right from the beginning again.

The peanut eaters, entertained
At my mother’s death, will go home,
Each carrying their memory of her,
Lifeless – a souvenir.
Maybe they’ll buy the video.

Watching someone on TV
Means all they have to do
Is press ‘pause’
If they want to boil a kettle,
While my mother holds her breath on screen
To finish dying after tea.
The filmmakers have collected
The body parts,
They want me to see.
They require dressings to cover the joins
And disguise the prosthetics
In their remake of my mother.
They want to use her poetry
As stitching and sutures
To give it credibility.
They think I should love it –
Having her back again, they think
I should give them my mother’s words
To fill the mouth of their monster,
Their Sylvia Suicide Doll,
Who will walk and talk
And die at will,
And die, and die
And forever be dying.

Published in The Stonepicker and The Book of Mirrors

My daemon and "Frenzy" by Anne Sexton

Attended my first-ever writers/writing program/writing faculty/editors/agents/publishers/booksellers conference a few days ago. One among the 14,000 or so people attending the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference March 27-30. An impressive, wide-ranging, energizing event. And a few days before I found that this national event was right down the street this year in my home city of Portland, Oregon. Even though I’m not superstitious, I know a sign when I see one.

Anne Sexton

I mostly took sessions on the nature of the business of writing and the structure of the industry. Afterward I even more motivated to pursue this interest. Wish I found the conference 15 years ago, but glad to have found it now.

The ideas in my book are important and urgent to me, and funny. But trying to extract/wash/craft an exquisite silver filigree design from out of the mud I’ve glopped around it remains a challenge. Do the words from my head performs as I’d like when they run through another person’s head?

Trying to balance my free time between continuing to revise the complete manuscript, seeking agents, and continuing to tinker with a writer’s platform. With all that in mind, for National Poetry Month I’ve got “Frenzy” by Anne Sexton in mind, a poem about the creative process.

And oh, I know it’s not all a silver filigree in there. There are silver daggers in there, too.

Frenzy
by Anne Sexton

I am not lazy
I am on the amphetamine of the soul.
I am, each day,
typing out the God
my typewriter believes in.
Very quick. Very intense,
like a wolf at a live heart.
Not lazy.
When a lazy man, they say,
looks toward heaven,
the angels close the windows.

Click the image for more on National Poetry Month

Click the image for more on National Poetry Month

Oh, angels,
keep the windows open
so that I may reach in
and steal each object,
objects that tell me the sea is not dying,
objects that tell me the dirt has a life-wish,
that the Christ who walked for me,
walked on true ground
and that this frenzy,
like bees stinging the heart all morning,
will keep the angels
with their windows open,
wide as an English bathtub.

Posting "Zeus" via Wattpad. Check it out!

I'm dabbling with Wattpad as a method for posting my novel and joining a community of readers and writers. New territory for me. I seek advice! Link to my profile: DerekDenton

I also designed a cover from scratch. Modifying existing paintings or sculptures of Zeus is, like, RIGHT THERE as an idea but since I don't own the copyright to those artworks I decided to play with colors and typefaces and a simple design that I would clearly own. That cover design is in this post.

Have you used Wattpad before? It's vast and active, but looks like a good way to interact with comments and sharing posts. Let me know if you have pointers.

Zeus: The Autobiography - Intro & Chapter 1

READ THE INTRO & CHAPTER ONE

My novel Zeus: The Autobiography combines mythology and parody of celebrity autobiography. What if a major deity decided to dictate the details of his life, especially the more sensational elements, to a modern-day scribe?

The story starts with the beginning of existence, the formation of the earth and its mating with the sky in a celestial love scene. Then the creation of the Titans and monsters, then of the Olympian gods including Zeus. How they battled for power, established rule, created mortals, family issues, and breeding with immortal spouses and other immortals and mortals on the side. Then various heroes come into play, the Trojan War, Greek history, Roman history, and the emergence of Christianity. I could not bring myself to overtly bring Zeus into modern times, with him, say, being startled by microwave ovens, video billboards, or the internet. But sly commentary on modern topics is woven throughout the work.

I'm posting the first chapter of this 19-chapter novel to get your feedback. Following chapters get chattier and funnier and dirtier and more provocative. READ THE INTRO & CHAPTER ONE and let me know: Do you like it? Do you want to read more?

If you know me, message me. Otherwise please leave a comment on this site and share this post out with others. I want to spark conversations.

"An Ordinary Evening in New Haven" by Wallace Stevens

First post in many months, but suitably about poetry and imagination for National Poetry Month (April). A section from a long form work by Wallace Stevens. I've got a rough draft finished to a 18 or 19 chapter novel project long simmering (sometimes left on the stove for months) and am currently going through hundreds of pages of notes and adding that clay to the 18 or 19 linear piles of clay to start from the start and shape the first chapter then produce a draft ready to shop around.

Excerpt from "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven"
by Wallace Stevens

XII

The poem is the cry of its occasion,
Part of the res itself and not about it.
The poet speaks the poem as it is,

Not as it was: part of the reverberation
Of a windy night as it is, when the marble statues
Are like newspapers blown by the wind. He speaks

By sight and insight as they are. There is no
Tomorrow for him. The wind will have passed by,
The statues will have gone back to be things about.

The mobile and immobile flickering
In the area between is and was are leaves,
Leaves burnished in autumnal burnished trees

And leaves in whirlings in the gutters, whirlings
Around and away, resembling the presence of thought
Resembling the presences of thoughts, as if,

In the end, in the whole psychology, the self,
the town, the weather, in a casual litter,
Together, said words of the world are the life of the world.

Battling Trumpism: "Expose & Educate"

Donald Trump is a bullshitter and decades-long con man, and much (but not most) of the country fell for it. How to bring people who voted for him around? "Expose and educate." Create a place for them to go when they realize Trump and his Administration doesn't give a shit about them, and never did.

The press takes [Donald Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.
- Salena Zito, The Atlantic, September 23, 2016
I feel as if this is a vote against the future, and the future is going to happen anyway.
- Gloria Steinem, WNYC Interview, November 9, 2016
Trump loves the flag, prays over his loins.

Trump loves the flag, prays over his loins.

Trump's mindset can change at a whim, but he's already telling people in his "Thank you" post-election rallies that he was never serious about jailing Clinton, or "draining the swamp". He was bullshitting them. The Daily Show covered this well.

Trump's brief political career has been based on racism, sexism, and claiming to be anti-Establishment. His team is almost entirely Establishment people, even worse, C and D-listers in the Establishment. Scrubs so low-rent that even the George W. Bush Administration would likely ignore them.

Not all Trump voters are sexist or racist, but all sexists and racists voted for Trump. What about reaching out to the other people? People who have some amount of sense, but got tricked or are "low-info" or ignorant about national matters?

Sam Harris had a good discussion with Paul Bloom, Psychology Professor at Yale. Among the many good points worth listening to, Bloom said that people may support "Building a wall" or "Lock her up" or a Muslim registry not as a serious point, but as a values signifier. Meaning they don't think of it with any depth, it's a quick statement they can make that shows they are "Boo... to Obama" or "Boo... to Hillary". In short, people may be irrational on national or international matters, but more sensible on local matters, or on a personal level. Say, at a town meeting having to do with funding roads they may find more in common with other people along the political spectrum, that they have given the local matter more thought, than when they yell or smile at chants of "Lock her up!"

Longtime Bill Clinton campaign strategist James Carville had a mantra at a recent event shown on BookTV. (He opened by asking the crowd: "How many people are scared? How many people are very scared? Well, you're not scared enough! It's a disaster! Our President-Elect doesn't know the first thing about the first thing.") His mantra: "Expose and educate."

Carville points out that the Trump/Pence Administration will have a lot of power, and will run roughshod, but do not have the power of the will of the people. And that is what we need to build up.

There will likely be times when we don't have the ability to talk things out first, we need to fight first to protect people. Maybe we need to sign ourselves up for the Muslim registry, along with Muslims. Maybe we need to tell an empowered racist to shut the fuck up in person at the J.C. Penny store when she yells at Latinas (or better still, ignore the racist and express support to the people being picked on).

But realize that George W. Bush left office the least popular President in the 70 years it had been measured (22% approval rating). And that came after he won the popular vote in 2004 (maybe, Ohio votes were a scandal). Many Bush voters came to dislike the person they voted for. Expose & educate. Many Trump voters will be slow, but may come around to disliking the bullshitter con man they voted for. Expose the public to what is happening. Educate them on what to do with that knowledge to raise hell to effect needed changes. Do more than post on Facebook. That will build more people power, people power needed to balance & battle against the Establishment elites running the Trump White House.

Feelings and Fury, not Facts: Trump's Election

Three layers to Trump's winning Electoral College (not popular vote) campaign:

  1. Racism
  2. Sexism
  3. "Flip the table"/"Change for change's sake"

None of these layers are exclusive. The people who were motivated by #3 either do not hear, or say they do not care, about factors #1 and #2.

1.) Racism

Trump's campaign began on racism, and was sustained by it throughout. Trump decided to dip his toe into using politics to sell the Trump brand by pandering to racists by claiming Obama needed to show him, personally, papers to prove Obama was born in the United States. This had never been such a concern for the previous 43 white Presidents but hitching himself to the birther movement meant an easy way to get attention at a high level.

That was before Trump declared his candidacy. The candidacy that began with accusing Mexicans of being murderers and rapists and the absurd boast he would build a wall along the Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it. We have had little to no net migration from Mexico for years, and have had years when more U.S. citizens left to live in Mexico.

The few times Trump was near people of color was for a photo op, not to relate to them. Spending time in a black church that specifically told him to not talk about politics, and had to shush him when he did. Standing next to the President of Mexico and utterly wimping out on bringing up his core campaign issue, building a wall along Mexico, while in Mexico and speaking to its President.

Such moments weren't about not being a racist, but providing visual assurance that it would not be racist to vote for Trump because he had some people of color around him that one time. Trump is a racist in both word and deed, dating back to the 1970s, and his campaign was saturated and dripping with thick venomous hatred. Dog whistle phrases like repeating use of Nixon's "law and order", promising to investigate Black Lives Matter as a criminal enterprise, black people live in an inescapable "hell", millions of Mexicans would be deported within a week no matter that their family members and our economy needed them. On and on. Unmistakable hatred hissed at several races and groups. But his supporters say they are not racist despite the thousands gurgling and howling their approval at each morsel of race baiting thrown out to them. Despite Trump's courting (or coyly not not shunning) the KKK endorsement.

These Trump supporters, brandishing the Confederate battle flag which was created to signify the fight to keep black people as slaves, are not racist at all.

These Trump supporters, brandishing the Confederate battle flag which was created to signify the fight to keep black people as slaves, are not racist at all.

Now we have Latinos rightly terrified the new President will send them away, tearing them from their families for no good reason. Muslims rightly terrified they will be banned from the country, as Trump has promised. But Trump supporters say he is not racist or bigoted.

2.) Sexism

Trump treats women as objects, not people. Trump/Pence think women should not have control over their own bodies. When he had a competent woman, Hillary Clinton, pressing him on any issue he could not keep his shit together for more than a few minutes. The series of women accusing him of sexual assault is long. From Sam Harris:

We have now witnessed Donald Trump bragging about his sexual predations in terms that not even Satan himself could spin to his advantage. He has admitted to repeatedly groping women, kissing them on the mouth without their consent, and invading the dressing rooms of teenage pageant contestants to see them naked. Every day, more women come forward confirming the truth of these confessions. Trump has even said that he would have sex with his own daughter, were she the offspring of another man. He talks about his libido as only a malignant narcissist can: as though it were a wonder of nature, a riddle no mortal can solve, and a blessing to humanity.

And the list of insults Trump directs at women for their appearance and their gender and their inherent bodily functions is also long, insults blurted out time and again out of reflex. He cannot help himself. Hillary Clinton all but telling him directly during the debates: "I am going to press down on your sexist buttons and you will flip out and make sexist remarks" and Trump did not fail to respond in just that way. But Trump supporters say none of this is a problem and he is not sexist.

3.) "Flip the table"/"Change for change's sake"

When asked, Trump supporters often strangely tune out what their candidate has said and done. When they do track his stupid, horrible, racist, sexist ideas they say he does not mean those things. He's just trying to get elected, as all politicians do. This is among the mind-blowing elements for people who track information and history. Everyone can laugh and know better when Trump during a national debate claimed "No one respects women more than I do. No one." because we all know the contrary. Even Trump's supporters must know moments like that are outright lies. Yet they don't seem to care or take that as an alarming trait.

What many Trump supporters say they voted for was a non-politician who has shown he doesn't give a shit about the system. The system isn't working for them. They need a change. He'll flip the table and maybe we'll build something "terrific" out of that mess.

They don't seem conscious of the constant whining of Trump's racist dog whistle, buy many respond to blaming non-whites for their problems along with the system. They aren't conscious of any sexism, but many had "bitch" signs about Hillary and demanded Hillary be put in jail despite her not committing any palpable crime. The subtext, or often overt text, was that she was uppity and needed to know her place.

Hillary Clinton was not my first choice for a Presidential candidate. I don't like dynasties and thought we needed someone with a new last name. She was an establishment candidate, and I could understand Republicans seeing that she did not represent needed change. But she was qualified. And a functioning adult. And lives for public service to the benefit of others. Trump is none of those things.

Three things that I kept chewing on, even before the surprising election results:

  • There were many people during the primary who deliberated between voting for Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.
  • The Tea Party and Occupy movements started as protests against Wall Street bailouts by the government, then went wildly different directions.
  • Polls showed the leading reason people were voting for either Trump or Clinton was for NOT being the other candidate.

This was a campaign not driven primarily by hope, but by resentment. It is worth looking at the populist elements that motivated Trump voters? Are there lessons to learn about where they could be brought along in a broadened economic justice movement? I think so.

But while we consider the people and how to connect with them, to make them less scared and provide something to believe in and strive for instead of a "just stir shit up" attitude, we have disastrous years before us.

Trump has the makings of a dictator. A buffoon long-mocked because of his appearance. An initial ascension to power despite lack of support from the majority of people. Xenophobia. Zealous nationalism. Contempt for other countries. Fondness for despots. Sexual predator. Lack of friends or character witnesses. Mainstream figures in his party who know he is awful but are too scared to take a stand against him and will continue to yield to him. Lack of concern about contradicting himself. Tacky sense of style. With-me-or-against-me rhetoric. Tantrums. Proven fraud and swindler before entering politics.

His present calls to "come together" sound palliative compared to the past year of bile, but of course he means come together behind him or you'll get run over.

His party, and his supporters, will likely take a long time to turn on him when the inevitable overreach happens. But before then, once in office his party will move quickly to attack and put a priority on ravaging the planet for short-term gain. They wail about Big Government in public but in practice the size of government will swell as they abuse the system and people to their personal benefit and perverse satisfactions.

Build our defenses, get ready to fight. The white backlash cannot last forever. When the pendulum swings back our way make sure we can bring more mass, more people over, to keep it that way for a long time.

W.H. Auden's Dirty "The Platonic Blow" Job

W.H. Auden wrote this poem about fellatio, foreplay, rimming in 1948, but denied authorship when it first came into public light in 1965, then admitted authorship to a magazine in 1968. It is dirty and often funny, describing a sex exchange between two men.

Let us imagine Auden composing this - journal book scribbled on as it rests and wobbles on a young man's head. Or maybe the journal book is set open on the bed, as Auden performs this, that, or the other thing and pauses from time to time to jot a note.

Does anyone else detect boasting in the poem? Would any rapper care to take on this braggadocio and turn this into a 10 or 11 minute rap epic?

The Platonic Blow
W. H. Auden

It was a spring day, a day for a lay, when the air
Smelled like a locker-room, a day to blow or get blown;
Returning from lunch I turned my corner and there
On a near-by stoop I saw him standing alone.

I glanced as I advanced. The clean white T-shirt outlined
A forceful torso, the light-blue denims divulged
Much. I observed the snug curves where they hugged the behind,
I watched the crotch where the cloth intriguingly bulged.

Our eyes met. I felt sick. My knees turned weak.
I couldn't move. I didn't know what to say.
In a blur I heard words, myself like a stranger speak
"Will you come to my room?" Then a husky voice, "O.K."

I produced some beer and we talked. Like a little boy
He told me his story. Present address: next door.
Half Polish, half Irish. The youngest. From Illinois.
Profession: mechanic. Name: Bud. Age: twenty-four.

He put down his glass and stretched his bare arms along
The back of my sofa. The afternoon sunlight struck
The blond hairs on the wrist near my head. His chin was strong.
His mouth sucky. I could hardly believe my luck.

And here he was sitting beside me, legs apart.
I could bear it no longer. I touched the inside of his thigh.
His reply was to move closer. I trembled, my heart
Thumped and jumped as my fingers went to his fly.

I opened a gap in the flap. I went in there.
I sought for a slit in the gripper shorts that had charge
Of the basket I asked for. I came to warm flesh then to hair.
I went on. I found what I hoped. I groped. It was large.

He responded to my fondling in a charming, disarming way:
Without a word he unbuckled his belt while I felt.
And lolled back, stretching his legs. His pants fell away.
Carefully drawing it out, I beheld what I held.

The circumcised head was a work of mastercraft
With perfectly beveled rim of unusual weight
And the friendliest red. Even relaxed, the shaft
Was of noble dimensions with the wrinkles that indicate

Singular powers of extension. For a second or two,
It lay there inert, then suddenly stirred in my hand,
Then paused as if frightened or doubtful of what to do.
And then with a violent jerk began to expand.

By soundless bounds it extended and distended, by quick
Great leaps it rose, it flushed, it rushed to its full size.
Nearly nine inches long and three inches thick,
A royal column, ineffably solemn and wise.

I tested its length and strength with a manual squeeze.
I bunched my fingers and twirled them about the knob.
I stroked it from top to bottom. I got on my knees.
I lowered my head. I opened my mouth for the job.

But he pushed me gently away. He bent down. He unlaced
His shoes. He removed his socks. Stood up. Shed
His pants altogether. Muscles in arms and waist
Rippled as he whipped his T-shirt over his head.

I scanned his tan, enjoyed the contrast of brown
Trunk against white shorts taut around small
Hips. With a dig and a wriggle he peeled them down.
I tore off my clothes. He faced me, smiling. I saw all.

The gorgeous organ stood stiffly and straightly out
With a slight flare upwards. At each beat of his heart it threw
An odd little nod my way. From the slot of the spout
Exuded a drop of transparent viscous goo.

The lair of hair was fair, the grove of a young man,
A tangle of curls and whorls, luxuriant but couth.
Except for a spur of golden hairs that fan
To the neat navel, the rest of the belly was smooth.

Well hung, slung from the fork of the muscular legs,
The firm vase of his sperm, like a bulging pear,
Cradling its handsome glands, two herculean eggs,
Swung as he came towards me, shameless, bare.

We aligned mouths. We entwined. All act was clutch,
All fact contact, the attack and the interlock
Of tongues, the charms of arms. I shook at the touch
Of his fresh flesh, I rocked at the shock of his cock.

Straddling my legs a little I inserted his divine
Person between and closed on it tight as I could.
The upright warmth of his belly lay all along mine.
Nude, glued together for a minute, we stood.

I stroked the lobes of his ears, the back of his head
And the broad shoulders. I took bold hold of the compact
Globes of his bottom. We tottered. He fell on the bed.
Lips parted, eyes closed, he lay there, ripe for the act.

Mad to be had, to be felt and smelled. My lips
Explored the adorable masculine tits. My eyes
Assessed the chest. I caressed the athletic hips
And the slim limbs. I approved the grooves of the thighs.

I hugged, I snuggled into an armpit. I sniffed
The subtle whiff of its tuft. I lapped up the taste
Of its hot hollow. My fingers began to drift
On a trek of inspection, a leisurely tour of the waist.

Downward in narrowing circles they playfully strayed.
Encroached on his privates like poachers, approached the prick,
But teasingly swerved, retreated from meeting. It betrayed
Its pleading need by a pretty imploring kick.

"Shall I rim you?" I whispered. He shifted his limbs in assent.
Turned on his side and opened his legs, let me pass
To the dark parts behind. I kissed as I went
The great thick cord that ran back from his balls to his arse.

Prying the buttocks aside, I nosed my way in
Down the shaggy slopes. I came to the puckered goal.
It was quick to my licking. He pressed his crotch to my chin.
His thighs squirmed as my tongue wormed in his hole.

His sensations yearned for consummation. He untucked
His legs and lay panting, hot as a teen-age boy.
Naked, enlarged, charged, aching to get sucked,
Clawing the sheet, all his pores open to joy.

I inspected his erection. I surveyed his parts with a stare
From scrotum level. Sighting along the underside
Of his cock, I looked through the forest of pubic hair
To the range of the chest beyond rising lofty and wide.

I admired the texture, the delicate wrinkles and the neat
Sutures of the capacious bag. I adored the grace
Of the male genitalia. I raised the delicious meat
Up to my mouth, brought the face of its hard-on to my face.

Slipping my lips round the Byzantine dome of the head,
With the tip of my tongue I caressed the sensitive groove.
He thrilled to the trill. "That's lovely!" he hoarsely said.
"Go on! Go on!" Very slowly I started to move.

Gently, intently, I slid to the massive base
Of his tower of power, paused there a moment down
In the warm moist thicket, then began to retrace
Inch by inch the smooth way to the throbbing crown.

Indwelling excitements swelled at delights to come
As I descended and ascended those thick distended walls.
I grasped his root between left forefinger and thumb
And with my right hand tickled his heavy voluminous balls.

I plunged with a rhythmical lunge steady and slow,
And at every stroke made a corkscrew roll with my tongue.
His soul reeled in the feeling. He whimpered "Oh!"
As I tongued and squeezed and rolled and tickled and swung.

Then I pressed on the spot where the groin is joined to the cock,
Slipped a finger into his arse and massaged him from inside.
The secret sluices of his juices began to unlock.
He melted into what he felt. "O Jesus!" he cried.

Waves of immeasurable pleasures mounted his member in quick
Spasms. I lay still in the notch of his crotch inhaling his sweat.
His ring convulsed round my finger. Into me, rich and thick,
His hot spunk spouted in gouts, spurted in jet after jet.