Poems about pornography


Still from Videodrome (1983), directed and written by David Cronenberg (source)

“Ode to Pornography” by Jack Anderson (b. 1935; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US; dance critic and historian) (a recitation) – from The Poetry Anthology, 1912-2002

Hail mer-
ry, tricky, and clandestine
art! the schoolboy’s peek at what might follow
first pubic hairs and acne, toy
for the worldly, secret vice
for the prim and proper, scorned

by priest,
proscribed by censor, you still
bear a socially redeeming message:
through photos, drawings, films, and books
you show jocund multitudes
eager, active (and passive), (…)

“Baz and the Freedom of the Press” by Kevin Cadwallender (Edinburgh, Scotland, US; poetry event manager, commissioning editor for Red Squirrel Press) (Listen to this poem here at 14:09) – from Red Sky at Night: Socialist Poetry

Full of Hell,
Baz gatecrashes the chip-shop,
bringing down on the counter a greasy
newspaper, bearing a colour image
of a topless model.

“It’s a fucking disgrace, you should
watch what you’re selling,
I bought them chips for my little girl”

The chip-shop owner
is caught somewhere between
bemused and terrified and
pours two lots of vinegar
on some wifie’s tail-end

He stutters meekly,
“But.. but.. I only sell chips!” (…)

“Being Aware” by Dennis Cooper (b. 1953; Pasadena, California, US; novelist, critic, editor, blogger, performance artist, experimental theatre writer)
– from Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology

Men are drawn to my ass by
my death-trance blue eyes
and black hair, tiny outfit
while my father is home with
a girl, moved by things
I could never think clearly.

Men smudge me onto a bed,
drug me stupid, gossip and
photograph me till I’m famous
in alleys, like one of those
jerk offs who stare from
the porno I sort of admire (…)

british-theatre-problemsImage of “Weaklings” a performance art piece inspired by and loosely based on the notorious blog of Dennis Cooper, produced by Chris Goode and Company at the Warwick Art Centre in Coventry, England (source)

“The Pornographer” by Robert Hass (b. 1941; California, US; essayist, translator of Polish poetry) – from The Yale Younger Poets Anthology

He has finished a day’s work.
Placing his pencil in a marmalade jar
which is colored the soft grey
of a crumbling Chinese wall
in a Sierra meadow, he walks
from his shed into the afternoon
where orioles rise aflame from the orchard.
He likes the sun and he is tired
of the art he has spent on the brown starfish
anus of his heroine, the wet duck’s-feather tufts
of armpit and thigh, tender and roseate enfoldings
of labia within labia, the pressure and darkness
and long sudden falls from slippery stone
in the minds of the men with anonymous tongues
in his book. (…)

“Pastoral with Internet Porn” by Jennifer L. Knox (b. 1968; Lancaster, California, US; poetry writing professor) – from Free Radicals: American Poets Before Their First Books

“Dad, we paid a lot a money
for this house and that grass your chair’s sitting on for
Christ’s sake! These nice girls just want to wash
some donkeys at $100 bucks a pop for their cheer-
leading squad so try and relax and enjoy it!” (…)

“Like Pornography” by Rob A. MacKenzie (Glasgow, Scotland; poetry magazine editor for Magma, literary critic) – from Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970

get put gat                                           eisnin monocotyledon
stapled strong words panties        her burnished machair cunt (…)

“Reading Pornography in Old Age” by Howard Nemerov (1920-1991; New York, US; prose writer, literary essayist) – from The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry

Unbridled licentiousness with no holds barred,
Immediate and mutual lust, satisfiable
In the heat, upon demand, aroused again
And satisfied again, lechery unlimited.

Till space runs out at the bottom of the page
And another pair of lovers, forever young,
Prepotent, endlessly receptive, renews
The daylong, nightlong, interminable grind.

How decent it is, and how unlike our lives
Where “**** you” is a term of vengeful scorn
And the murmur of “sorry, partner” as often heard
As ever in mixed doubles or at bridge. (…)

“Trovato ho il mio angioletto” (I have found my little angel) by Sandro Penna (1906-1977; Rome, Italy) – from The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature

Trovato ho il mio angioletto
fra una losca platea.
Fumava un sigaretto
e gli occhi lustri avea…

I have found my little angel
amid a shady audience.
Smoking a small cigar
and with shining eyes…

“Now it’s in all the novels, what’s pornography to do?” by Peter Porter (1929-2010; Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; essayist, editor, translator) – from The Oxford Book of Comic Verse

Now it’s all the novels, what’s pornography to do?
Stay home where it’s always been—in the mind.
It’s always been easier to wank than to grind,
yet love is possible, palpable and happens to you.

It’s nice to have someone say thank you afterwards
goes the old joke. But are the manual writers
right, are masturbators nail biters?
(Even the Freudians are anti, albeit in long words.)

Don’t burn Office Frolics and I’ve a Whip in my Valise;
in other disciplines the paradis artificiel
is considered high art and not mental disease

and if your mind arranges tableaux with girls—
e.g. strip poker with big-breasted Annabel—
it’s a sign the world’s imperfect and needs miracles.

“Pornography” by Angela Shaw (New Jersey / West Virginia; creative writing professor)
– from The Pushcart Prize XXIII Best of the Small Presses

Painted, perfect, patient, I couch myself
in lace peignoir.  I author the slouching hours
after dusk, bidding the sun go down
over Tucson or Memphis, conjuring love-
rooms from a little perfume, a little blues,
a little bourbon.  Every romance opens
at the neckline.  Every night a voluptuous
story line is teasingly unveiled, stocking
by stocking, exquisitely unfastened
at its climax.  There are infinite methods
of table setting, of letting backdrop foretell
the spread, the dizzying lick of the graceful
fellatrix.  A neatly banked fire is both action
and circumstance. (…)

“Thirteen” by Ronald Wallace (b. 1945; Cedar Rapids, Iowa / Saint Louis, Missouri, US; literary critic, short-story writer, English professor)
– from The Pittsburgh Book of Contemporary American Poetry

Gent, Nugget, Swank, and Dude:
the names themselves were lusty, crude,
as I took my small detour from school,
my breath erect, my manner cool.
In Kranson’s Drugstore, furtive, alert,
stiff in my khakis I’d sneak to the back,
unrip the new issue from its thick stack,
and stick it in my quick shirt.
Oh, I was a thief for love,
accompliced by guilt and thrill,
mystery and wonder my only motive.
Oh, that old Kranson could be there still!
I’d slip in and out, liquid, unseen,
out of my mind again, thirteen.

“My Father’s Pornography” by David Wojahn (b. 1935; St. Paul, Minnesota, US; creative writing professor, essayist, editor)
– from Real Things: An Anthology of Popular Culture in American Poetry

The semiotics not of sex but of concealment, the lessons,
the legacy of dark.
It’s a strongbox in the basement, a corner in his woodworking shop.
Inside, a prostitute of
forty years ago is swallowing a massive, blue-veined cock.
The man is wearing
boxer shorts around his knees, white socks. Another man,
a black man, enters her

from behind. Her expression? Bogus pleasure, eyes
histrionically wide.
The photographer, I suppose, is demanding she look horny.
A few of the shots
are four-color glossy, most a grainy black and white. I’ve already
said too much. What next?
The damp smell of the basement he so carefully panelled.
No dialogue:

the father always silent as the men within these pages. (…)

“Zen 101” by Nin Andrews
“Legacy” by Siobhan Campbell
“No God” by Dennis Cooper
“Pieta” by Christopher Davis, C
X: “If not for Uncle Li” by Daniel Hall
“God made the sex-shop keeper” by Fiona Pitt-Kethley
“As one young guy screwed another young guy” by David Trinidad

One thought on “Pornography”

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