Monday, September 24, 2007

Bloody Men

Madelynne Ellis, at the Lust Bites blog, has a curious post today about "Bloody Men." I say "curious"; I suppose what I mean is "fascinating," since it's so far from my own range of triggers and fantasies. (Not a bad thing, this: the longer I read that blog, the more fun I have in the rest of my life--as with romance fiction more generally, the more I see the world through the eyes of female authors, the more I notice and enjoy, from women's shoes to men's eyes.)

The post also puts me in mind, though, of one of my favorite poems, and since it's a poem about love (albeit unhappily), and since I haven't posted here in months, I figured I'd just drop by, give you the poem, and break the ice, so to speak.

On which note, this, by Wendy Cope:
Bloody men are like bloody buses--
You wait for about a year
And as soon as one approaches your stop
Two or three others appear.

You look at them flashing their indicators,
Offering you a ride.
You're trying to read their destinations,
You haven't much time to decide.

If you make a mistake, there is no turning back.
Jump off, and you'll stand there and gaze
While the cars and the taxis and lorries go by
And the minutes, the hours, the days.

The end of that is too glum, I think, to close this post, so instead, here's another, far happier, which I can't easily reproduce, and another, which I pluck from the website of Poetry Out Loud:
The Orange

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all my jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
More soon! --E


  1. Eric, that post at LustBites is certainly not for the squeamish. I'm squeamish. I told myself none of it was real blood, which made me feel a little bit better.

    I do recall a couple of posters, I think at the Smart Bitches site, a while ago, saying how much they liked the fact that the heroine in Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels shoots the hero. I wasn't sure why they felt that way, and I'm not sure if it's at all related to the LustBites discussion about women liking men who look bruised/bloodied, but I just wondered if maybe there was some connection.

  2. You know, I tend to doubt it, Laura. My wife is also quite squeamish, and she loves the "shoots the hero" motif. My guess is that it's popular because of the power & gender reversals involved rather than because of the bruising & bloodshed! It's a "take that!" moment, perhaps? Or, better, a shrugging, smiling acknowledgment that sometimes you just have to shoot a guy to get his attention? (Which reminds me, oddly, of Flannery O'Connor's short story "A Good Man is Hard to Find"!)

  3. The Orange reminds me of Alicante, a charming short poem by Jacques Prévert. Alicante also mentions an orange, and I think similarly depicts how a new love can create a kind of enchantment with even the little things in life.

    Une orange sur la table
    Ta robe sur le tapis
    Et toi dans mon lit
    Doux présent du présent
    Fraîcheur de la nuit
    Chaleur de ma vie.


    An orange on the table
    Your dress on the rug
    And you in my bed
    Sweet gift of the present
    Freshness of the night
    Warmth of my life.

  4. Lovely! Thanks for that. It's good to be back...

  5. OMG, Eric. That post was...something else. I'll admit that I've had a fetish for blood for...well, for as long as one has fetishes, I guess. Those pictures all touched on something incredibly visceral in me. They were hot and sexy. It's the taboo of the blood, the taste and smell and feel of it, the "see if I care" attitude of the men in the pictures that just go straight to the "hot" button inside me. Wow.

  6. This is what I love about fetishes: the way that they eroticize (invest with power, with beauty, with meaning) things that I would simply overlook. Every one I meet opens up a new world for me, if only over someone's shoulder. I'll never look at a bloody man in quite the same way again...


  7. It might be interesting to note that the O"Connor story ends when the Misfit shoots the grandmother--yes? So we have a man there shooting a woman, no reverse gender roles--but an interesting bloody twist--because it is a moment of grace--if she could have only had a gun to her head every miniute then perhaps she would have known something more and ongoing about compassion and sacrifice--which is of course not exactly getting sweet or bloody revenge . And then the "fetish" issue--blood, oranges.. and shoes, etc.--what strikes me about that is that the beauty or magic never really seems to be located in the "fetish" but in the peception of the fetish--the perceiver, the subject. We invest the fetish wih its meaning--yes? Marx, of course, among many others, knew that.

  8. "I love you. I’m glad I exist."

    Gah. This is a perfect and beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing it.

    Now, for bloody men. Interestingly, I can appreciate blood for its symbolic and erotic value in the context of a supernatural setting, with vampires, for instance. I remember some hot scenes on the Buffy/Angel TV shows with blood involved. There's this level where paranormal stories/creatures switch brain into metaphor mode, and then the blood isn't just *real* yucky blood anymore--it's Buffy willing to give her life for the one she loves; it's 'love' "screaming to work its will," yadda, yadda-- and so it can be hot.

    But blood on a moral man makes me think (a) quick, where's the Betadine? (b) viscerally remember the last time I cut my finger, and that unpleasant stinging throb and the quick dripdripdripsplatdrip into the sink as I tired to wrestle a bandaid on, ugh, and (b) AIDS risk.

    I can't think of kissing a bloody guy or licking one or anything without the whole AIDS risk thing making the kink into a squick to me.

  9. I'm not sure we need to stop at Marx for that insight, Anonymous! Reading for my graduate poetry survey this morning, I stumble on this, by Sir John Suckling (1609-1642). The second stanza seems particularly appropriate, although I'm not sure he meant the same thing by "black and blue" as we do!

    (The "kind boy" is Cupid; "to the height and nick" in stanza 3 means something like "to the critical point," no doubt with sexual overtones)

    by Sir John Suckling

    Of thee, kind boy, I ask no red and white,
    To make up my delight;
    No odd becoming graces,
    Black eyes, or little know-not-whats in faces ;
    Make me but mad enough, give me good store
    Of love for her I court:
    I ask no more,
    'Tis love in love that makes the sport.

    There's no such thing as that we beauty call,
    It is mere cosenage all;
    For though some long ago
    Lik'd certain colours mingled so and so,
    That doth not tie me now from choosing new:
    If I fancy take
    To black and blue,
    That fancy doth it beauty make.

    'Tis not the meat, but 'tis the appetite
    Makes eating a delight,
    And if I like one dish
    More than another, that a pheasant is;
    What in our watches, that in us is found;
    So to the height and nick
    We up be wound,
    No matter by what hand or trick.

    Angel, I wonder whether some folks can stay in "metaphor mode" (meaning mode, fetish mode) longer than others, so that the kink remains a kink, and not a squick. To have a fetish means to invest certain things (or words, or actions) with power and meaning, and surely that's a mental activity. Or is it a physical response (damn, that's hot!) that the brain hustles after to interpret? Hmmm...

  10. Ok E--So how do you read those lines: "So to the height and nick/ We up be wound"-- we are "wound " up like a clock ticking, or a cock crowing or a modern blender, I agree --but is this also the "mortal wound" reappearing!!??--the lack that fills that line to overflow?

  11. ::sigh:: Lost my post. Let's try again.

    Is a fetish a mental or a physical response? That's a question for the ages, isn't it, and one that's certainly been discussed to death by literary critics, psychologists, sexologists, etc.

    I know that I can go back into pre-pubescent or just turning pubescent memories and remember visceral responses to my fetishes. Even before I knew what they were, and WAY before I understood my own sexuality, I've had fetishes. Is that mental or physical.

    Most "critics," I think, agree that fetishes are societally constructed, but does that make them any less powerful? And why is my blood fetish "worse" than a "normal" man's response to breasts or butt? In fact, why do two men brought up in the same society have different "fetishes" when it comes to the female body? And why is one man's fascination with breasts "normal" and mine with blood a "fetish"?

    Anyway, thoughts of an evening from a tired mind and a very pregnant body.