Poems About Sluts

(Until the last section, this posting is mostly about silliness. The last section, however, descends to talk of men’s bodies and mansex in street terms, so is not for kids or the sexually modest. I’ll insert a warning when this material is imminent.)

Passed on in Facebook by Michael Palmer, this preposterous book cover:

(#1)

Yes, of course, a hoax. And appeared as such in a volume entitled Bad Little Children’s Books: KidLit Parodies, Shameless Spoofs, and Offensively Tweaked Covers. Then there’s the real book whose cover was tweaked to yield #1.

Beyond all that, we could take the title of #1 at face value and celebrate sluts and sluthood.

A book for bad little children. And its unfortunate history.

(#2)

Ad copy on the amazon.com site:

In Bad Little Children’s Books, illustrator Arthur C. Gackley creates hysterical parodies of children’s book covers from more innocent times. Many of these original books focus on life’s lessons, joys, and curiosities. Gackley cleverly takes the books’ classic covers and turns them into unforgettable, edgy, politically incorrect parodies that speak to the bad little kid in all of us. With a catalog of children’s book titles like Peeping Tommy Goes Cougar HuntingCousin Milky Is Lactose Intolerant, and The Blind Child’s Picture Dictionary, this collection will have readers in stitches. A fun read for parents, grown-ups, and kids-at-heart everywhere, Bad Little Children’s Books leaves no bad joke unmade.

About the Author: Born in 1923, Arthur C. Gackley is the creator of many children’s books, none of which were ever actually published. Mysterious and hermetic by nature, he spent his life living and working in a small New England village, but was likely washed out to sea in the winter of 1962 — or possibly fell penniless into an abandoned wishing well shaft around 1978. No body was ever found.

Two more covers from the book:

(#3)

(#4)

Monumental bad taste. Which apparently became a problem. From the Melville House site on 12/7/16, “Publisher Pulls Book of Children’s Story Parodies, Cites Offended Reader Response” by Ryan Harrington:

Banning books has been on a lot of people’s minds recently. It’s a terrifying phenomenon that speaks to some of our most reactionary and uncritical impulses. Maybe today we should take a look at a lesser, and lighter, version of book-banning? You know, make fun of ourselves a bit?

And here we have the perfect news item with which to do so. Abrams, the venerable publisher of all sorts of illustrated books, has issued a statement saying that they will pull their satirical title “Bad Little Children’s Books: KidLit Parodies, Shameless Spoofs, and Offensively Tweaked Covers” after it generated some controversy online.

The book is a collection of fake covers for Little Golden Books-style children’s stories, with an emphasis on fake. They are often outrageous, and, yes, a bit provocative with titles such as “The Exploited Coal Miner Kids,” “Reverend Eugene’s Poems About Sluts,” and my personal favorite, “Go to Sleep (forever).”

It’s not entirely clear what (or how much) backlash these fake titles generated, but the Abrams statement has this to say:

In the last few days some commentators on social media and those who follow them have taken elements of the book out of context, failing to recognize it as an artistic work of social satire and comic parody. They argue that it lends credence to the hateful views that the author’s work is clearly meant to mock, demean, expose, and subvert.

It’s been a complicated season for free speech. Parents in Tennessee have rallied to keep their children free from knowledge about Islam. Parents in Virginia have called for bans on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird to keep their children free from knowledge of the n-word. The idea that “we live in hateful times, we must not see any hateful content — no matter how satirical, or otherwise instructive” seems to be in the air. And let us not forget the tragic undoing of Pepe the Frog, who lost his life when he lost his context online.

If there could be said to be a silver lining here, it is only the knowledge that the book’s illustrator (writing under the pseudonym Arthur C. Gackley — an Archie Bunker-type misanthrope) seems to be on board with removing the title, saying:

[T]he book is clearly not being read by some in the way I had intended — as satire —and, more disturbingly, is being misread as the very act of hate and bigotry that the work was meant to expose, not promote. For this reason, I have asked ABRAMS to cease publishing the book.

Reverend Eugene. The blueiskewl site on 10/13/16 supplies the original of #1, with information about the man who was transformed into Reverend Eugene:

(#5)

Ira Lutts North (August 31, 1922 Ethridge, Tennessee – January 15, 1984 Nashville, Tennessee) was a preacher and author within the Churches of Christ.
He received his education at David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University), Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University) (B.A.), University of Illinois (M.A.), and Louisiana State University (PhD).
At the age of 17 he began a 43-year preaching ministry that ranged from Illinois and Louisiana to Tennessee. His longest ministry service was for Madison Church of Christ in Nashville. He began preaching for the Madison church in 1953 and continued for 32 years. During his leadership, the Madison church grew to one of the largest Churches of Christ worldwide.
He was editor of Gospel Advocate, a religious journal prominent among the Churches of Christ. He wrote several books, most notably Balance – A Tried And Tested Formula For Church Growth. He was also a teacher on the nationally televised Amazing Grace Bible Class which featured sermons like “If I Were a Woman” among other topics.
North was instrumental in starting a retirement home and an orphanage in the area of Madison, Tennessee. The Gospel Advocate posthumously called him a “lover of the very young” in 1990.
His wife, the former Avon Stephens, whom he wed in 1939, died in April 2008.

Reclaiming slut. The relevant sense here, from NOAD2:

noun slut: derogatory a woman who has many casual sexual partners

Three things to note here: (1) the restriction to women; and the two defining characteristics: (2) casual sex, with (3) many partners.

Then two postings on this blog, both entitled “Sluts”. First on 5/29/11, about a reclamatory movement, with an extension of the noun to gay male contexts:

SlutWalks aim to educate people about sexual assault and violence towards women and to protest it; to proclaim that victims should not be blamed for sexual assault, in particular because of how they’re dressed; and to defiantly reclaim, or re-appropriate, the word slut.

… (Of course, whether slut is a slur or not depends on who’s using it, to whom, and with what intention. I have a number of gay male friends who are entirely comfortable, even boastful, in referring to themselves as sluts, meaning by that only that they have a lot of sex, for some value of a lot. Then there’s the joke definition: a slut is someone who has more sex than you do.)

Sluts (female and gay male) not only have a lot of casual sex, but they presumably enjoy it, indeed seek it out; they are fans of casual sex.

And in the gay case, a serious slut welcomes not just casual sex, but anonymous casual sex (though the negotiations over anonymity vs. revelation can be complex).

Then a brief posting of 4/3/15 specifically about the gender disparity:

Here’s the problem: English has several terms to refer to a sexually promiscuous woman — of which slut is the primary one — and they are all condemnatory, but terms for sexually promiscuous men (Don Juanhound dog) are generally either neutral or even celebratory in tone.

A poem about sluts. Billy Green has pointed me to the Tennessee Williams blank-verse poem “Life Story”, about two gay sluts negotiating anonymity vs revelation. From the Poetry Foundation site (with some formatting lost because of the way WordPress software works):

After you’ve been to bed together for the first time,
without the advantage or disadvantage of any prior acquaintance,
the other party very often says to you,
Tell me about yourself, I want to know all about you,
what’s your story? And you think maybe they really and truly do

sincerely want to know your life story, and so you light up
a cigarette and begin to tell it to them, the two of you
lying together in completely relaxed positions
like a pair of rag dolls a bored child dropped on a bed.

You tell them your story, or as much of your story
as time or a fair degree of prudence allows, and they say,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
each time a little more faintly, until the oh
is just an audible breath, and then of course

there’s some interruption. Slow room service comes up
with a bowl of melting ice cubes, or one of you rises to pee
and gaze at himself with the mild astonishment in the bathroom mirror.
And then, the first thing you know, before you’ve had time
to pick up where you left off with your enthralling life story,
they’re telling you their life story, exactly as they’d intended to all along,

and you’re saying, Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
each time a little more faintly, the vowel at last becoming
no more than an audible sigh,
as the elevator, halfway down the corridor and a turn to the left,
draws one last, long, deep breath of exhaustion
and stops breathing forever. Then?

Well, one of you falls asleep
and the other one does likewise with a lighted cigarette in his mouth,
and that’s how people burn to death in hotel rooms.

It’s a not uncommon form of social interaction: sex first, then (in the relaxed after-sex moments) becoming acquainted. Taking care of urgent business first.

Slut as a (gay) identity. Here’s where things veer into raw territory. What follows is not for kids or the sexually modest.

From my 2/9/16 posting “Morning names: wiles, Wiles”, in a section on gay pornstar Kevin Wiles [KW]:

I’ve been reflecting on KW’s take on cocksucking and bottoming. In both cases, he goes well beyond mere willingness (after all, anyone can learn to perform these acts at least competently) and beyond enthusiasm, into something deeper and more intense, amounting to a kind of sexual orientation of its own, in which he submits with pleasure to another man by taking that man’s cock into his body (into his mouth or into his asshole) and worships it by having it become, in his sexual imagination, part of his own body. He absorbs that cock, as a symbol of the man it represents and the essence of his masculinity, and becomes one with it. He is deeply oriented towards cock (and consequently towards cum), as (I now say) an ubercocksucker or uberbottom (or both, as in KW’s case).

He is, in other words, a total cock slut. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The total cock slut is a man truly at home serving at gloryholes, cruising for sex in t-rooms and at gay baths and sex clubs, and getting gangbanged. I have celebrated this character in a number of postings, and now venture to turn a bit from a prose account of encounters at the gay baths — available in a 8/26/10 posting “Nostalgia for the Baths” — into blank verse:

Cock Slut Poem

He presses me down onto the mattress, my
Ass arched up at the end of the bench, I
Spread my legs, he pushes them apart,
Anchors himself, one hand on each asscheek, positions his
Cock against my asshole.

We recognize together that by
… offering myself to him like this
I become the object of public celebration, awe even.

He leans into me.
I glance sideways into the mirror,
We exchange good-buddy smiles — We can do this, man —
His smile slips away, he becomes a craftsman,
… performing his familiar routines.

I go into heat. I am surrounding him with my body, absorbing him,
He is filling me, taking me over.
I writhe around on him, under him.
Music in his head: I want to fuck you like an animal,
… I want to feel you from the inside.
Music in my head: I want you to fuck me like an animal,
… I want to feel you fill me up inside.

Paunchy guy in his 40s, standing a foot or so from my head,
… his legs braced against the bench,
His hard cock a cone (small head, shaft flared out),
Heeds my fucker’s hoarse whisper — Let him suck your dick –-
Turns my face towards him, slides his sexcone into my waiting mouth.
My lips wide open, his paunch bobbles above my nose, still,
My fucker was on the money: it is delightful.

Pauncho shoots in my mouth; as I gulp down his cum, my fucker
Drives hard again, making me grateful with pleasure. He
Gulps mouthfuls of air, pounds his fists on my shoulder blades.
His thighs tremble against mine, I stretch my ass back against the
Convulsions of his orgasm.

My fucker dissolves, a powerfully built black man
… takes his place behind me, I
Arch my ass up and take him in. With a
Long low Ye-e-a-a-h, he bends forward, embraces me from behind,
Lifts me up to fuck me half-standing, half-floating.

Others follow, I don’t remember how many, it gets so
Hazy when you offer yourself without conditions.

One fucked me with suppressed power, thoughtfully
… not wearing his cock slut out; but
All I saw of him was two muscular hands and two forearms covered in
… beautiful dark hair.

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