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Thread: I Cannot Love - (Naked woman) (Adult Content)

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by am_hammy View Post
    I'm not usually one to shy away from promiscuous situations but for some reason, reading through this made me feel shy. The flow is really nice. Your statements are simple and blunt without being rude or crass.

    When I got to the end though, it completely threw me off. Super eerie. Was definitely not expecting that, the same as everyone else it seems, hah. As well as anyone can write about the subject of necrophilia without being obscene, this is well done.
    Thanks Hammy. Your feeling of shyness may arise because I tried to portray her as completely passive and exposed, as she had to be of course. In even the most promiscuous situation one expects to see some interaction but here's there's none at all. I was wondering how many people would think that it was date rape. To be honest I got that impression on reading it back, so the ending even surprised me. I have a terrible short term memory.

    I'm pleased that you made that point about the distinction between bluntness and rude crassness. Some people don't get that I think and can't see anything between romantic and crude language. The art is to use the language just to point the way to images that are already in the reader's mind. That way only their own thoughts can offend them and that's for them to deal with.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  2. #12
    Great read. Like everyone else has stated, I wasn't expecting the twist!
    "I don't believe you've really made it until you breathe your last breath" - Jimi Hendrix

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Burroughs View Post
    Great read. Like everyone else has stated, I wasn't expecting the twist!
    Quote Originally Posted by TJ1985 View Post
    That's a solid piece with a swerve I did NOT see coming. It gives a whole new meaning to "I think I'll have a cold one."

    Excellent swerve, sir. You did that very well.
    Thank you gentlemen. I had to take care that the swerve did not become an outright skid. The entire subject is, as has been noted, a veritable skid pan, not something that I'd rush to tackle in prose, hence my resort to this alien forum.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  4. #14
    Okay, now that the dust has settled on this item I think it's safe to put in my contribution. As the alpha reader for it I think that's my right now that others have had their say and I do it as just that, not to deny anything stated previously, with which I agree and also accept. It was a pretty rapid scribble, conceived at about seven in the morning in bed and written, approved by my angel and posted by early afternoon. Even so I read it numerous times before deciding that it had enough merit to post and hopefully others have agreed with that. So I can now ramble on in my usual manner without having to consider whether anyone will bother to read this.

    One of the key aspects of writing that a knowledgeable man mentioned to me early on was the premise identified by Oscar Wilde, that something isn't worth reading at all if it isn't worth reading more than once, so I always aim for that. Prose is usually so long that it is difficult for either reader or writer to fulfil that ambition, but poetry in its brevity is easier. Also it is easier to write a full critique of so little text, so I will here.

    On reflection I now suspect that the inspiration for the piece may have come from a scene in Sergio Leone's epic film Once Upon A Time In America. In the scene a man fresh out of prison is shown the naked body of a voluptuous woman in the back of a hearse and his partner suggests that it is a shame for it to go to waste. Despite his long period of deprivation the man hesitates to think about the suggestion and at that moment the "body" springs to life to solve his predicament. In a way my poem is a reworking of that idea. Emulating Leone can't be too bad an idea then. Personally one of my favourite films of all time is his Once Upon A Time In The West and near the beginning of that there is a classic extended take which moves up from a solitary woman to show an entire town. Actually Leone didn't get his own way on that as he wanted the shot to start by showing her bare buttocks under her dress, indicating that she was a prostitute. This feature of her character was not so evident as a result of that omission. They should have let him have his way rather than hampering a perfectionist.

    From my work as a software developer I am used to reading what I have actually written rather than seeing what I think I have written, so my assessment of my own work should be impartial, hopefully. On the first reading it goes like this. Initially the encounter seems casual, not knowing her name but not being ashamed of that. When she is naked he notices her hair, which would already have been evident when she was clothed, so that's odd. He assumes that he will be the only witness to what happens and she seems unusually passive, so now my thoughts move from a consensual encounter to something else, use of a date rape drug maybe, which would explain why he thought that she wouldn't need a drink. It then becomes evident that he doesn't intend there to be any sexual relationship and eventually the reason is revealed. One's feeling at this point is that he came close to becoming an active necrophile but did the right thing, but now I have to read it again with that knowledge before condemning him.

    Here comes the second episode of name-dropping. Kaoru Ishikawa, the man credited with masterminding the recovery of Japanese business and indeed life culture after WWII, said that he thought that there was a distinct difference between western and eastern cultures which arose out of their respective dominant religions. While eastern religions generally regarded mankind as fundamentally good with evil the exception, western religions were based on the assumption that all people were born in sin and had to spend their lives redeeming themselves, so evil was assumed to dominate by default. He then said that this was most likely an oversimplification, but maybe he was just being diplomatic. Having possibly jumped to a western style conclusion (I'm thinking about my favourite Leone film again there now.) it is only fair that on my second reading I give this man the benefit of the doubt and try to discover whether he is actually moral. I am not ready to assume that I am ahead of him on the road to redemption yet. Here's my second reading taking that eastern philosophy into account then.

    He doesn't know her name, so probably knows nothing of her history either. Therefore he will treat her with complete impartiality, which is good. Perhaps she took her own life and is already excluded from salvation by some people, but not by him. He is just doing his job, so no shame. He is used to seeing naked bodies, so notices just her attractive hair initially, the same way that he would have if he'd passed her in the street. He then notices that her body is still in its prime and that inevitably he reacts as any man would, so he feels the need for a drink to steady himself and get on with his job. No shame there then. While recovering his composure he sees her open mouth, which at her age ought to be breathing, but he mourns the fact that her air has already been stolen away and she has been robbed of life. That is sympathy, not just desire. To prove his composure he touches her breast, but not out of lechery. He is still mourning the fact that this perfect body cannot perform its intended function any more. He runs his hand over her torso picking out the essential features for creation of humanity itself, the pelvis that cradles the child, the womb that carries it and the breast that feeds it. This is the incredible biochemical technology that God has provided but now it doesn't work and his primal urge to perform his part in that process is inappropriate as he knows full well. He then argues with God that her essential mind and soul are already safe with Him and that only her discarded body is in his custody. Perhaps if he suspects that she committed suicide, as there is no evidence of illness or injury on her perfect body, then he wonders whether she was driven to it by mental torture while her mind was still in residence. Even if he were to act inappropriately it would be far less immoral than the things that people may have done to her while she lived. Her mind, perhaps scarred by something as perverted but allegedly trivial as Internet trolling, is now safely with God, which is the important aspect for this man. He still doesn't want to believe that her life has been wasted, leaving her cold as stone, and would rather leave her body to continue with its natural process of decay so that it can return to the earth. However, he is driven by the demands of our so-called civilisation, for whom he prepares bodies for cooking in an oven or preserves them for use in rituals, embalming them so that they don't cause unnecessary social problems by smelling or dripping fluids in the wrong places at the wrong times. Perhaps he would rather let her decay naturally. Maybe he is ultimately the more civilised, the more moral person, but he has to prepare her as an essential object, a symbol of grief in the last rites, so against his better judgement he fills her body with alien chemicals to stop the proper course of events taking place. Maybe in the end in his eyes he did defile her body.

    No, I can't judge the man at all. There are too many unanswered questions.

    As an aside, I remember a story, in the TV series Tales of Mystery and Imagination I think, where a woman gets to make a wish and wishes that her dead husband can have eternal life. It happens, but she has condemned him to eternal torture as his body is filled with embalming fluid which burns into his flesh. So much for preparing bodies for the final resurrection then.

    This little item does bring out the reason for my joining this website. Because of my experience as a software designer I inevitably almost subconsciously incorporate many threads of thought into what I write, but I don't know whether that is wasted on the average reader. So much of the training given in writing seems to be aimed at persuading the reader to keep reading regardless of how much they comprehend what is written. In our busy lives that is understandable, but if literature is only needed to fill spaces within one's day while on a train or whatever and a book will be discarded as soon as read because so many more are readily available, then should I bother? I have been criticised for asking too much of the reader, but don't they ask a great deal from us, and if so aren't we justified in asking for a little back apart from financial compensation for our efforts? So is it asking too much?

    If you did manage to read this posting all the way through then please accept my thanks. I could say that I wasn't expecting it, but on this website that would be both unkind and untrue.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  5. #15
    JUSTROB --

    I read it right through, and, as a poet, I strongly endorse your point about multiple layers of significance, multiple avenues opening up beneath the surface of words, as the sine qua non in the best of our poetry. Those layers and avenues in such abundance are the reason we keep reading Chaucer and Shakespeare, Milton and Keats, to name only a few. I would include some novelists whose stylistic richness commends their work forward: Herman Melville, William Faulkner, Cormac McCartney, Michael Ondaatje, Haruka Mirakami, again, to cite only a few. What elevates the work of all these writers is not what they say, their 'messages' if you will, but HOW they say it. A few decades ago, this modern phrasing of an old felt understanding was succinctly crystallized by the American poet Robert Creeley when he famously said, "Form is never more than an extension of content". That insight has become a kind of cornerstone of modern poets, certainly in Canada and the States, as they offer their creative perspectives on the human condition. And finally, this lengthy introduction draws to a close and I've laid enuff rebar and concrete to support what I want to say about "I Cannot Love".

    What makes the poem is two-fold: building up all the prurient distaste possible in the reader, esp. testosterone-hysterical young males, reading with repugnance/fascination what appears to be an actual description of the darkest sex imaginable, then dashing that on the rocks in the last line. To the immense relief/profound disappointment of aforesaid kind of reader! But what really carries the poem is its lilting form and consistent rhyme pattern. The tripping little iambic dimeter lines have a lilting, almost comedic effect--not unlike a children's story--each little quatrain calling as much attention to itself as to its role as part of a continuum. the little motor revs, stops, revs, stops. . .there is simply not enough LINE SPAN for this thing to roll forward into the dark, sonorous vehicle could have become. In other words, these short, snappy, rhyming lines are perfect for the hesitance manifested by the speaker, and a perfect vehicle for the sardonic bit of humour (accentuated by the final SLANT rhyme). Well-bloody-done, m'an! A masterful example of form and content working in the harmony all poets seek but all-too-often miss.


    "I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of the imagination". Keats, ​Letters

    "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee. " John Donne, Meditation XVII

  6. #16
    As a female this poem had a je ne sais quoi effect on me....for one thing I feel that it delivers a message that all heterosexual men (and thusly the reader so far) are attracted to passive if not dead women and I am shocked by that. However, I must admit that this is written very well and the ending startled me too, although I was pleased to know there was no participation, other than obvious desire, with the body other than embalming.
    There was never a great genius without a trace of madness. Attributed to Aristotle.

  7. #17
    @Clark, thank you for such an insightful expert assessment of my scribbled effort. I only write poetry at all on rare occasions when the muse is upon me and I am quite unable to contemplate any changes once it has left me, having no conscious idea of how poetry should be written, so these oddities of mine are entirely spontaneous, almost as though dictated directly to me by that muse.

    I appreciate your appreciation of the several possible levels of interpretation of the work. I believe that in the cases of both prose and poetry good writing deserves good active reading rather than simple passive reading which only perceives the superficial information.

    Regarding your comments on the effective but simplistic nature of the lines, on reading it now I think that in a way they reflect the subject matter directly, having been stripped down to the bare essentials. The lines aren't dressed up in any way to embellish their basic form, as a woman is normally dressed up to embellish hers. That's just another level of interpretation to put on the piece though. Perhaps even if a reader doesn't consciously understand how a poem achieves its effect those subliminal messages do get through and make it feel right. I wouldn't know though; I just scribble something and trust my unconscious mind to be creative.

    @Robbie, please don't be too hasty to assume that a man always perceives a motionless naked woman as passive and a potential target for domination. A gentleman never would; he would expect far clearer signals than that. What matters is not just whether her body appears passive but whether her mind is also and indeed whether she is in her right mind, not drugged, drunk or emotionally vulnerable, for example. In this poem the man already knows that she is passive for other reasons, which is different, and he also admits that her mind is already entrusted to God and beyond any form of violation.

    There is an aesthetic appeal in the naked human form which has nothing to do with lust. It is simply the geometric smoothness and yet variation of the curves that may just as well appear on a marble sculpture or a wood carving. Personally I get a similar frisson from seeing and touching a beautifully carved piece of wood to the one that I get from a human body. Note that wood is quite warm to the touch whereas marble is cold like a corpse and doesn't have the same effect. To appreciate the form properly it needs to be motionless though. However, lack of motion in a creature is ephemeral and a woman, like a gazelle, can burst into action in a moment, so any illusion of passiveness there is just that.

    To demonstrate the consistency of my approach to this subject, here's an extract from my novel written in 2011 where a young man sees a very scantily clad girl for the first time and instantly falls in love with her. To be entirely fair the scene is described twice in the story, first from her point of view and then later from his, so the reader fully knows what both are thinking. The young man is an engineer and unsurprisingly thinks in mathematical terms much as I do. Do you recognise the poetry quotation running through his mind at the beginning of the extract? It's actually from the works of William Blake, who contrasted the passiveness of a lamb with the aggressiveness of a lion or in this case tyger. Here the young man is combining that potential for aggressiveness in the girl with her beauty, much as Blake did in his famous poem, as he is fearful about how to behave towards her.

    ‘dare frame thy fearful symmetry?’ There was so much symmetry in her frame, showing so clearly through her inadequate garment, mathematically smooth to the n-th derivative, engineered to stir a man’s emotions.
    I have in the past claimed that I don't write poetry normally because my prose is my poetry. Is that extract actually simply a prose sentence or is it a verse of poetry? To be honest I don't know the difference.
    Last edited by JustRob; August 8th, 2018 at 02:01 PM.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  8. #18
    It's such an old thread it's more of a resurrection than a burial.

    I like it. When there's a twist that I don't see coming, that usually endears me to a poem. You disguised it pretty well, so kudos.

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Istine View Post
    It's such an old thread it's more of a resurrection than a burial.
    Well, at present I am one of the walking dead so far as writing is concerned. I think my muse left me last year, having finally acquired all the inspiration for my novel. It had to travel back to 2011 to help me write it then.

    I like it. When there's a twist that I don't see coming, that usually endears me to a poem. You disguised it pretty well, so kudos.
    Thanks. They do say that when you can't make it any better stop writing, but maybe they don't mean permanently.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

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