understand what poems and lusts live under their tongues

crabapples dripping after a night's rainGood morning! Today’s Wednesday, which is technically a Declaring our Erotic day, I think.

Why do erotic writing workshops matter? Why does it matter whether or not you’re in your body? Why does it matter whether or not you’re in your honest self, your heat and desire?

Today, honestly, I want to write something sexy — I’m in that still-heart-beating aftermath of the conference,where what got sparked was a desire to know everyone, to get into their bones, to understand what poems and lusts live under their tongues. (That can happen at the Power of Words, like at other conferences, maybe: I’m just warning you now.)

I spent some time, afterward, writing about the erotics of learning, of growth. I know lots has been written about this space: the erotic space between and connecting teacher and student, and I don’t (necessarily) mean sexualized space, I mean a place of openness and sharing, of longing for more knowledge, longing for new integration, the fear that fills us when we don’t know if we’re ready to stretch enough to take in this new thing that we’ve just met.

(I don’t know if I’m awake enough to do justice to this right now.)

Anyway, there’s a thing that happens where we all fall in love with each other, we may fall in lust, we’re in a place of connection, newness, joy, stretching, reaching, wanting: it’s a liminal space, ok, but also something concrete. There’s something that can happen at a retreat, a conference like this one, where we’re all in our own worlds all the rest of the time, each of us building something new, and then we come together and see and feel that we are not alone: how good it feels to be seen and heard and groked. It’s an erotic experience, can we be honest about that, can we acknowledge how good learning feels, how good it feels when we finally open when we finally stretch our boundaries, when we let something else in? A welcoming, a penetrating, a welcoming, a transgression, a commingling of what, just before, was divergent. Of course we all feel like making out — sex is the clear we way we americans have/know of channeling the erotic. (And an awfully good way it is!)  A dance would be nice, too, like with some good house music. And a black light (sigh). (Hey Council! Next year, maybe, let’s have an informal dance, after the closing circle!  We’ll all be exhausted, I know: someone could plug their ipod into the sound system, let stream out some Jill Scott, some good old Chicago house, some remixed Verve standards, we could just be there all night, letting our bodies tell each other the rest of the story, the stuff that no one has found words for yet. Someone, Naila, she talked about and practices the language of dance: let’s go there.)


I want to tell you more about the erotic writing workshop that we did at this year’s Power of Words, but that will have to wait for another morning. People talked about how liberating it felt to bring the erotic, bring sex, out from under the bed and into the light; they talked about setting and holding boundaries; the talked about the mixed joy and sadness of doing this writing at the conference when they can’t engage with sexuality in their daily work. It was a super joyful session. I wish you could have been there.

Here’s one of the writes I did during that workshop: I had us do this prompt again, the one where we write a letter to the editor, extolling our virtues as lovers. I love this exercise — it brings out a powerful, strong writing voice, a voice that is clear and honest and, too, bigger than life. It’s fun to play with that voice, see where it takes our writing.

Dear Sir: She doesn’t tell you about my fist, does she? I mean the soft long handed way I could fit myself inside her when she said more could never be filled, when — how can I explain this — when what we had was only our two bodies in a twin-frame bed the bedroom of the apartment she shared with several others, and we filled the spaces between her roommates’ silences and the tread between the cars outside on Mass Ave with her urgent cries and shouting.

Girls learn good things to do with their hands and I know them all, not just the caressing but the careening, how fucking feels different when it’s just you I mean her, so full beneath me, her legs far flung, my shoulder burning but its worth every ache to feel the tight clutch of her hard wet all the way around my hand, and you reading this letter, I want you to imagine the jubilation of being as full as possible, retreating into, then away from, an unspeakable kind of hungry, letting someone put their hand all the way into the night of your morning and pull out the joy that you need.

Be easy with you today, ok? and please keep drinking water, if it’s so hot again where you are. I’m always happy to read your writing: thank you again for the work that you do in the world.

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