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I Masturbate Then Pray to God

ISSUE:  Summer 2019

to forgive me I masturbate 
then pray to God to forgive me 
I masturbate then hate myself 
after scrolling endlessly through 
porn I never find exactly what it is 
that I’m looking for because there is 
no category for my type of desire
so I keep searching for a scenario 
somewhat sensual not too violent
not too fake with a story some sense 
of plot development and I keep clicking 
vulgar search terms that never satisfy
I keep working till I master the house
slave kink within me she is looking out
of the window from the big house 
across a search field which is my body
on the verge she thinks about running 
away but does not dare I’m only here 
because one maybe two slaves stayed 
resistance isn’t always about pushing 
back but perhaps submitting to a field 
of cotton notating the sublime cottage
cheese color scheme there woven through 
brown choking branches like meaty Caucasian  
hands clasping dark throats groping thick 
brushwork en plein air into the wild gushing
distance with a freer black belly I look like 
a human so human my face struck 
by artificial light laptop light graphic light 
leaking liquid crystals frosted red-green-blue 
chromatics throbbing until I pinged until 
I rubbed I swiveled racial slurs and curse 
words out of my zonked clit arching the ladle 
of my lower back by tipping the invective juice 
and jive and isn’t this how you empty the body’s 
cup anyway by needling the pleasure buttons 
after I scroll through all the porn I masturbate 
then pray to God after the shame-hate-spiral comes 
like a call I deny I send the voicemail to my chest
and never check it but I don’t delete it either
as it descends like a zap of divine punishment 
smearing some version of God’s gloppy guilt 
and yes I dislike myself for the hating I dislike 
myself for the watching watching another body 
wriggle inside another littler window another
torso that is not mine I stand between two 
windows as if two mirrors infinitely appearing 
into the wild distances splayed by pink pleasure 
and bondage where I am the house slave again
wearing an iron muzzle I can barely speak or eat 
but I keep slipping little slivers of glass into
my master’s food my psyche split by church
and salt I’m praying for God to forgive me 
because there is always a moment during my 
video-clip-clickbait hole where I see something 
that doesn’t make me feel quite so good I am 
trying to push back on that earlier word something 
which contains all the effable and ineffableness 
of language sure a well-placed placeholder word 
can pop but I want to make sure I’m not being lazy 
maybe I can try to fetch a metaphor or simile or both 
okay so during my video-clip-clickbait hole I search 
to find unmitigated pleasure like when I fly I fear 
I will die every time and my therapist tells me to accept 
this out-of-control fate wave to succumb to the end 
not with desire but with focus on my breath I feel immense 
joy when I land looking at my survival a warm whispering 
I’m alive I’m alive I’m alive I’m alive I’m alive I’m
horny and still waiting to disembark I thank the flight 
attendants each one I look inside their eyes as I leave 
the long coffin with wings 

and two quotes 

are bobbing around my head right now like two 
splish-splashing fish one from Robert Frost, 
which I found through Matthew Zapruder’s syllabus:

What I am pointing out is that unless you are at home in the metaphor, 
unless you have had your proper poetical education in the metaphor, 
you are not safe anywhere. Because you are not at ease with figurative values: 
you don’t know the metaphor in its strength and its weakness. You don’t 
know how far you may expect to ride it and when it may break down 
with you. You are not safe in science; you are not safe in history.

And then this excerpt from the beginning 
of Robin Coste Lewis’s poem “Landscape”: 

Pleasure is black.

I no longer imagine

        where my body
        stops or begins.

Skin transparent.
Face speckled

by the spit
of several centuries.

Oh, and this one too (sorry!) from Maggie Nelson 
on page 89 from The Argonauts:

—yet I know I have what it takes to put my body on the line,
if and when it comes down to it; this knowledge 
is a red hot shape inside me.

And if you’ll allow me just one more quote. I promise 
this will be the last and I need to share it because it took me 
a long time to find this passage where I’ve been thinking
about this old man’s nasty thumb since college and how it pierced 
something (there’s that word again) unsettling inside me, another 
birthmark on my brain and I can’t stop thinking about Heed and Christine 
and Christine’s puke-stained bathing suit from Toni Morrison’s Love:

It wasn’t the arousals, not altogether unpleasant, that the girls
could not talk about. It was the other thing. The thing that made 
each believe, without knowing why, that this particular shame 
was different and could not tolerate speech—not even in the language 
they had invented for secrets.

Would the inside dirtiness leak?

And with that idea of safety and spit and shape and shame
a chorus of safety spit shape shame safety spit shape shame
I arrive at the edge of my longing by refusing the unpunctuated 
freedom before me I can and can’t go further 

I close my computer denying myself yet again 
my body on the verge yes digital blue-lit throbbing 
the house slave kink within me is complicated but freer
as the search field folds in on itself I erase my history 

with just one click 

no one knows who I really am

I vanish each time 

I touch myself


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