Annals of verbing (and poetic meter)

(Some vulgar sexual slang from the world of gay sex, but nothing beyond that.)

More drawers of my files moved from Staunton Ct. to Ramona St. (and into the oaken desk there). Almost all academic files, but the drawers contained a few surprises, like two gay porn magazines from early 2001, in particular the Torso from February of that year, with the friction fiction “Fire-Station Stud: Italian Muscleman Starts a Fire” by a prolific writer of such stories, “Bearmuffin”. The teaser insert in the story:

Two points here: the verbing of the noun spunk ‘semen’ and the poetic form of the insert’s text, which is perfect iambic pentameter (with the bonus of the internal half-rhymes spunked … trunk and between … tree).

The verbing. On spunk, there’s a May 27th posting on this blog about three lexical items spunk, clearly distinct semantically but, rather remarkably, sharing an etymological source. But all of this is beside the point here, the point being that one of these items, the (mildly) vulgar slang spunk ‘semen’, has been verbed in the text above, and verbed with a direct object NP, my load.

First fact: the verbing of spunk ‘semen’ has been going on since the 19th century, largely in Umliterature. Green’s Dictionary of Slang has as its first sense for spunk as a verb:

(also spunk off, spunk up) to ejaculate

with a first cite in 1888-94 from My Secret Life and  (among others) a 2000 cite from M. Manning in Get Your Cock Out: “spunking all over the wall”.

The plain verb verb spunk, without a particle off or up, has very nearly the same syntax as the sexual slang verb shoot ‘ejaculate’ (note: the aggression verb shoot is irrelevant here); label the sexual verb shoot-SX. Both are almost always intransitive (like ejaculate and sexual come) — I shot-SX / spunked on his belly but *I shot-SX / spunked him on his belly. The notable exception to this generalization is that cognate objects — object NPs with a head N denoting ejaculate — are possible with spunk just as with shoot-SX:

I spunked / shot-SX a (big) load (of cum / spunk / jizz / spooge / etc.) on his belly.

I spunked / shot-SX a lot of cum / spunk / jizz / spooge / etc. on his belly.

I spunked / shot-SX  my load / cum / spunk / jizz / spooge / etc. on his belly.

(on his belly, in his fist, in his mouth, in his ass, or, if you, prefer, between his treetrunk thighs).

The poetic form. The insert text is perfect iambic pentameter, five iambic — light + heavy — feet:

I spunked / my load / between / his tree / trunk thighs

So that if you’re so inclined, you could use this as the first, introductory, line of a longer text, or as the last, summary, line of one. Play with it.

As it happens, the insert text is a short version of the text in the story:

Right then, I spunked my load between his hairy tree-trunk thighs.

Still resolutely iambic, but now heptameter. You could go on like this indefinitely — English is deeply fond of alternating stress, in iambic or trochaic rhythms — but in fact the text surrounding the load-spunking line isn’t at all stress-alternating. This is just a wonderful, probably accidental, drop into poetic diction.


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