Kiss #30days #30days2018 by Cherie Ann Turpin

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run tongue over

your salted hairy lips

mixed with wine

give me my saliva

inside your tongue

 

I could burst

into a sticky hot stream

while

you linger

hum

then erupt

shaking

a wet moan

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Nickels and Dimes by Cherie Ann Turpin #30days #30days2018

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What I heard but didn’t really hear

until I sat down and

recalled it all in a moment of clarity:

“Your nickel, your agenda.

Your moment.

Your thought, not mine,

I just wait for something that matters.

Speak your mind, woman, we haven’t got all day.

We’ve heard it all before,

just hearsay,

just trifles,

not really important

or significant enough to care.

You don’t impress me

or move me

or even cause me to blink twice,

I just stare at you and wait for something to really make sense

because right now you sound

too angry,

too mad,

too emotional,

too sensitive,

too vested

in what really is not my agenda

after all.

You haven’t turned me on to what is at issue

at all

yet and you don’t seem to get it

yet that what you thought was my care in your well being is

just burning up the time

we don’t really have to talk about much of anything at all

but how you really should just not take it all so seriously and

not get so upset

that

I am not really listening to anything you’ve said at all.

No time,

no agenda,

no moments to speak,

not even worth a nickel to consider.”

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Kissing Soul And Tasting Love by Cherie Ann Turpin

thoth-lovers

 

When we speak of oral lovemaking we are engaging all of our senses, engaging in the concrete, engaging in the performative of poetic language.  Oral involves more than just lips touching one intimate space of one’s lover; oral renders the entirety of the body as an erogenous space at its most vulnerable state, while at the same time revealing a vulnerability about oneself as someone who tastes and hungers. Oral love celebrates a plurality of options from which lovers may produce sensual pleasure for its own sake. We nourish each other, but we are not food to each other. One carefully grasps that same flesh with a promise not to draw blood or bare sharp teeth.  On the other hand, sharing food can be a bridge towards other possibilities.

 

Flashback, 1986: I spent part of my summer break working as a cashier at a local gourmet restaurant in Buckhead, an upper-class suburb of Atlanta. I was nineteen and living in a tiny apartment near Georgia Tech on North Avenue.  The cashier job was low paying, but meals were free and I liked the staff. Though the owner was usually surly and impatient with me, the restaurant manager took a liking to me, and gave me time to properly train for the lunch crowd.  Marcus was a dark-haired, thin, and pale man with spectacles and large eyes that seemed to hold a smile or at least a promise of a smile.  He reminded me of a boy I once knew and loved from a distance from high school, though he was closer in height to me.  Though I was shy, Marcus’ flirtatious nature did not render me uncomfortable.  He surprised me one day by asking me out to a David Sanborn and Bob James concert at Chastain Park.  He stocked up on fruits, cheese, chilled seafood, and wine from the restaurant before we drove out to the venue.

 

The summer night air was hot and humid, as to be expected for Georgia in the middle of June, and we sat outdoors in hard seats wearing shorts, tee shirts, and sneakers.   Marcus spread out our evening feast and began to do something I had never experienced before: he began to slowly feed me.  At first he fed me strawberries, then grapes, then shrimp.  Our conversation was soft, almost muted.  The music, wine, and heat pulled at me, and I felt a familiar tug in my abdomen.  Marcus drew me towards him and our lips crushed together.  I tasted his salt, fruit, hot wine as our saliva mixed together.  I closed my eyes and ran my tongue over the rough hair on his upper lip, nose, and left cheek.  I felt his tongue inside my ear and down my neck, nibbling and sucking near my vein.  I felt high, as if I would burst into a sticky hot river.  The music soared, and the people around us cheered at the crescendo of tenor saxophone and keyboards.  We rode that wave locked in embrace, lips, hands, and heart.

 

Flash-forward: Recently, I had a long conversation with a spiritual mentor who asserted that I was not actually abstinent, but instead an extremely sexual person who was also extremely selective.  In other words, as I have matured, I tend to choose men who share a certain sort of energy, or as some people might refer to as a spiritual connection.  Perhaps that might be why I tend to see oral lovemaking as being something that goes beyond fellatio or cunnilingus.  I love giving a man I love pleasure, and I love receiving it, but “oral” is so much more than just giving or getting “head.”  For me, oral opens a doorway towards intimacy.

 

I often think of the ways in which I have enjoyed the seduction of kissing and being kissed.  I anticipate how my Dream Lover’s lips feel against my tongue:  I love the taste of urgency in his kisses.  The soft kisses that soon turned sloppy, then hungry and precise in its mutual seeking out of the correct angle to which to lock and hold two sets of lips in a grasping hold where nothing moves but rough tongues in tight, wet spaces just above teeth. A virtual buzz rises as two sets of breath break an otherwise dark silence. A need for fresh air breaks the hold, and we part, if only to reposition for yet another embrace.

 

Soft kisses become hard kisses, and we soon roll and rustle over rough, cotton sheets, his hand grabbing me by the hair and holding my other hand tight and still, capturing me, my heart in a panic, then anticipating his tongue running up against my lips, running over my teeth, me wondering if he smells and tastes the smoke on my breath, me tasting the salt and musk of his saliva, me resisting the impulse to pull back, me darting my tongue towards his tongue, touching that spot where his lower lip split, tasting slightly raw flesh, wondering why it seems so hard to breathe it out fully while mutually sucking out each other’s breath. My eyes blink twice and I find myself staring at him staring at me and I feel greedy, needful, and restless. His lips are smeared with trails of my cherry red lipstick as he lowers his head and body to brush tongue along the petals of my nether lips.  Our bodies become “oral texts,” where knees, inner arms, ears, necks, and nipples “speak” to us, as we taste the salt and musk of each other’s skin.  I squeeze his trembling legs while savoring his tender, hardened flesh, brushing my tongue between his thighs.

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Left Behind: Orgasmic Intimacy, Erotic Power, & Gendered Bodies by Cherie Ann Turpin

Left Behind:  Orgasmic Intimacy, Erotic Power, & Gendered Bodies

4thVenus

Writing about orgasms is not an easy task to accomplish for me for a variety of reasons, not the least of which involves my concern that my rhetoric not be construed as porn writing or as a confessional.  Writing about Black female bodies, especially the body I own and inhabit, produces more than slight anxiety at certain moments—this is one such moment.  I am aware of the ways in which Black women have been historically stereotyped as licentious and immoral on one extreme, as well as cold, pious, and ascetic in another extreme.  Social pressures to be a “good woman” and “respectable” continue to produce certain tensions in my articulation of orgasmic experiences and sensual discourse.  On the other hand, I do believe that as women of color, we should articulate in clear terms our experiences in order to break free from those constraints that would render us silent and would leave others who do not have our best interests intended or practiced to claim to speak for us.

To speak of myself as a desiring subject without the opacity of academic rhetoric risks exposure, ridicule, and loss of status, professionally.  I struggle to move beyond such limiting extremes in order to assert erotic agency as a basic human right.  Many of you reading this essay are probably familiar with Audre Lorde’s essay “Uses of the Erotic” where she asserts the sensual and the spiritual as positioned in the same space: “The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings.  It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire” (54). Experiencing and welcoming erotic pleasure in one’s life is essential to that agency.

Despite these assertions and despite my own scholarly writing that tends to focus on Black women, sexualities, and gender performance, I find myself struggling to resist the practice of writing about bodily experiences in abstract terms, or to somehow separate myself from corporeality through dense language.  Despite personal and political tensions involved in discussing this topic, I am emboldened to speak on pleasure and the spirit by bell hooks’ inspiring discussion on Black women and love in her book Communion, where she argues that “self-actualized women should feel no shame when we speak of our longing for a loving partner, our need to be supported by a circle of loved ones” (155).  This essay will have some personal anecdotes, but will focus on erotic gratification as being both a physical and spiritual need for women and men, despite social persistence of patriarchy and phallocentrism as a barrier to addressing human needs for experiencing and sharing pleasure, i.e., jouissance.

I titled this essay “left behind” as a trope to provide a reference point to the apocalyptic Christian novel series in order to frame what I see as a persistent issue in some heterosexual couplings, especially with regard to my own experiences with men.  To be “left behind” in Christian terms is to witness the Rapture, or the departure of those who have been “saved,” while being “left behind” to endure the horror of the Apocalypse.  One is abandoned, condemned to remain behind with the sinful masses while the few depart for Paradise.   One need not be a believer in this story in order to identify with a common fear of abandonment and exclusion from individual and collective happiness and joy.  In many ways, patriarchal paradigms of heterosexual erotic connections do not leave much room for women to experience sensual pleasure beyond those experienced by their male partners.

Being objectified by men or having sex with men does not necessarily translate to exercising erotic agency or developing intimacy with them.  Further, ecstasy of the body and spirit may seem an ever-fleeting peak to be deferred or used as a means to uneven, male-centered sexual encounters.  Five years of self-imposed abstinence after two failed relationships have allowed me to reflect on this question:  what do I want? Who I want isn’t so much of a priority i as is what I want because I think it is a question many of us women, especially those of us who engage in relationships with men don’t ask, and if I plan to continue to continue to seek out long term relationships with men (and so far that is my direction), then I think it is crucial to have in mind the what as a major priority, if not the major priority to be fulfilled.  Patricia Hill Collin’s seminal text Black Sexual Politics asserts a transformative notion of erotic power as being centered on being truthful about the self:

Overall, soul, expressiveness, spirituality, sensuality, sexuality, and an expanded notion of the erotic as a life force that may include all of these ideas seem to be tightly bundled together within this notion of an honest body that is not alienated from itself and where each individual has the freedom to pursue his or her sense of the erotic (287).

For me, being truthful to oneself about what I want has helped me to filter out and avoid relationships with men who are unable or unwilling to treat me as a full human being with feelings, desires, and needs.

Nevertheless, asking for what you really want from a man in clear, unequivocal terms involves the risk being ignored, neglected, or even rejected by him.  Sometimes, it seems easier to accept what is available, rather than attempting honesty about one’s desires.  To ask for satisfaction, to “want it” and truly ask for it produces the refusal to actually “be there.”  This is about lack of intimacy, but this is also about being left behind.  My first lover was ten years older than me, and far more experienced than me.  I met him at a political rally as a part of Young Democrats.  He was a graduate student at Emory who, as a graduate of Clark College (now Clark-Atlanta University), had been active in Black Nationalist politics of the 70s during his undergraduate years.  I was 18, impressionable, and a rape survivor (by an athlete during the first semester of college–I do not consider being raped as my “first”).   My first lover seduced me with his stories, then with kisses.  The sexual pleasure was there, but not the intimacy, as he made it clear he was not interested in connecting with me beyond what we now refer to as FWB (the year was 1985).  I felt that he was performing sex “on” me or “inside” of me, rather than with me, even as he was gentle with me.  In turn, I felt trapped by what I saw as an endless cycle of physical pleasure that was soulless, experiences that left me cold and indifferent.  The shame overwhelmed me.  As the spring semester grew to a close, I ended it, quietly.

Similarly, two decades later I found myself dealing with a relationship that was unfulfilling, emotionally and sexually, due to what proved to my ex-partner’s discomfort with what he perceived and labeled as emotional and sexual “intensity.”  In many ways, it seemed as if I had returned to a familiar relationship pattern of attempting to connect with someone who was emotionally unavailable, while sexually available.  Like my first lover, he loved to tell me stories and read poetry to me.  He enchanted me with his eyes and soft voice, which seemed almost hypnotic.  In contrast, he excited me with his unpredictable style of lovemaking, like a Green Man of the forest.  I enjoyed his venturesome spirit in experimenting with his sexuality, as we were both exploring alternative expressions of sensuality and exploring the experience of being in an interracial/intercultural/inter-religious relationship.

Being in relationships with partners that entail or involve alternative perspectives on sensual/emotional practices do not excuse either partner of the need to be emotionally available and capable of developing true intimacy.  What about people who just don’t understand real intimacy outside the bedroom?   I see many bored, middle-class people out there buying sex toys and experimenting with the idea of somehow healing low self-esteem and low libido; a pill won’t work, and neither will that overpriced crop you bought to match the leather wrist and ankle cuffs for your lover.

That being said, alternative perspectives on sensual/emotional practices could not be blamed as the issue.  We were the issue, our collective emotional problems were the issue, and those collective issues became collective when individuals walked into a relationship without properly dealing with individual self-esteem issues.  A need to be spiritually connected had been fleetingly touched at crucial moments, especially when encouraged through my introduction of spiritual rituals to our couplings as a way of deepening our relationship, but I had not considered his discomfort with connecting sex with the spirit because of his cultural and religious upbringing.  I was naïve and unprepared to deal with communication styles, culturally.  He was unprepared to deal with the challenges of being with an African American woman raised as a Protestant who was not familiar with Catholicism with regard to gender roles and sexual mores.  As an African American woman raised in a strict Protestant household, and as an adult living in a country plagued with double and triple standards waged against women of color who dare to exercise erotic agency in defiance of American racist patriarchy, I can relate to what sort of femininity invokes anger and hatred in those who are vested in male dominant hegemonies.

Significantly, I found myself dealing with a man unwilling to tolerate a woman who “wanted” to be touched and pleasured, who “asked” to be a part of that intensity and heat within the parameters and capabilities of my body, to allow me time to be right there, and not be “left behind.”  He felt much more at ease with me as an object of desire to be acted upon, who performed without articulating emotional or physical needs that could require him to become just as spiritually vulnerable as I became to him.  In order to take such a step he would have had to exchange emotional energy with me instead of merely taking it from me.  Again, I find this to be an issue that crosses all cultures and social classes, in that those who are vested in phallocentric thinking (men or women) do not recognize or see women as equals because women are perceived as appendages of men, and therefore are deemed as unsuitable for such an exchange. Unfortunately, we still struggle to counter the legacy of logocentrism and patriarchy in our relationships with men in the 21st century.  Here, I invoke Helene Cixous’ work “Laugh of the Medusa”:  within a phallocentric context, we exist to serve a function or series of functions, not the least of which involves providing him with sexual relief.

Though my partner demonstrated initial openness to female sensuality, he became resentful at my expressed concerns about his distance from emotional intimacy.  He began to belittle my physical appearance and criticize the Wiccan and Yoruba altars in my apartment.  As I began to grow as a published scholar and professor at my university, and as he began to lose ground in the business he owned, he complained that I had more stability and a better income.  As our relationship deteriorated, the playfulness and joy left our bed.  I felt that coldness creep across my soul again.

Unlike my first relationship, this one ended with sadness and bitterness–but without regret, as I learned to forgive him as someone who also suffered as a result of his inability to move beyond the limits of patriarchy in order to connect with women as equals.  On the other hand, I cannot ignore the lasting impact of Christian dogma on Western men and women who struggle to build intimacy and healthy erotic relationships with each other.  I also cannot ignore the ways in which misogyny and fear of female sexualities continue to be fueled by religious institutions both here and abroad.

Accordingly, my next long term relationship’s arrival and progress will have everything to do with my ability to focus on my own emotional health and my ability to care for myself, even as I care for my lover’s needs. Further, intimacy grows from trust, loyalty, and friendship, all of the components we seek out in our quest for love and ecstasy.  The spark may indeed be instantaneous, or the flame could take time to build. Sustained erotic connections strengthen through exchange and flow between two hearts, as opposed to one feeding and depleting the other of life force.  Both must be willing and open to the unknown, to risk it all.

You won’t be bored, I’ll assure you of that one.  We know that love does not die.  In order to sustain ourselves in our relationships, however, we need to have a clear sense as to what we want, and, of course, begin with yet another question: why are we here?  Answering the last question need not occur at the beginning, but you’ll have fun exploring it over the days, weeks, months, years, and decades you spend with your lover and partner.

These years have allowed me to heal my spirit from the wounds of past relationships, including my last relationship.  I am ready to begin the process of connecting with someone, erotically. My sense of the erotic continues to deepen through self-exploration and self-transformation, as has my understanding of my need to have my next lover be connected to me soul-deep, not just vaginal-deep.

 

I end this essay with an invocation—and a promise:

 

Inamorata

 

I think of us staring at each other with our thoughts circling down like moons

I am thinking what you are thinking right now

an ache rides down between us like a warm shower

longing rocks and shudders through us as we watch the light of auras meeting

our thoughts are foresight and imagination

we hover and peruse

no longer enigmatic or occult

our hands meeting

we crawl to each other touching knees and thighs

To hear your breath quicken as we both fixate and tremble

To feel our lips crush together

tongue meeting tongue

your teeth smeared with my lipstick

my teeth nibbling at your throat

your tears falling upon my cheeks already wet with my tears

you whisper the declaration that both wish and manifest–Inamorata.

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Starve (Phorzhicoa Story) #30days #30days2018 by Cherie Ann Turpin

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Last time I saw him he stared at me without blinking for 20 minutes straight.  I sat in a low leather chair sipping on an extra dirty martini pretending to not notice him as I read my phone messages.

Starved.

I’ve seen that before.  The last stage before converting to us, the Phorzhicoa.  He’s so far gone he wouldn’t have known the difference between the food and the feeders.  To most humans he is, in urban vernacular terms, “thirsty,” in need of something other than the usual attention given to men and women who are moderately attractive.

You’ve encountered the type before, the kind who were surrounded by sycophants and fans in their younger days, the popular set of folk who were sharply dressed, well-spoken, and of course never missing out on receiving some really delicious sexual heat from lovers and bedwarmers.  But eventually that sort of heat gets cold, and the thirst grows sharper with age.  The young, nubile, strong bodies of hopeful fans are replaced by earnest, desperate, and somewhat shrill voices of men and women who hope to taste a bit of an aging star who begins to realize with more than a bit of panic that she or he is no longer being fed and maintained but in fact is being sucked dry.

Starved.

The makeup is flawless, the haircut is perfect, but the soul is in great need.  The hollowed out eyes of one who is ravenous enough to not know that he is staring at a version of himself is unmistakable and indeed, quite irresistible.  Truth is I’ve kept myself off the radar of the Queen by refusing to feed for some years now, and it has kept me safe from some of the more aggressive types who look to compel us solitaries into joining families to hunt. And yes, he is desirable, but I do not give chase.  I prefer to be chased because the taste of his astonishment is so much more satisfying.  It’s a moment of mutual recognition, that we are more alike than different, that I am not prey but a sister hunter like him.  But he is still in pre-conversion, not quite Phorzhicoa yet.  He may give chase, but I saw him long before he even realized he saw me as a meal to consume.

This fledgling sitting across from me has been semi-stalking me for some months without speaking or even admitting to himself that he hungers, that his body and soul feels the crush and call of the Phorzhicoan way.  The sex itself is beyond words, but the energy that floods you is like a tidal wave of ecstasy that floods every cell of your body for what seems to be an eternity.  Time ceases as you are filled once again.  To be mutually fed by your own is to die and live again in a state of utter joy and relief.

But I don’t chase fledglings, especially not in my own starved state. I feel no motivation to move, much less speak.

Instead, I watch and wait for him to turn.

redeyes

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Ideas from my dreams coming through #30days #30days2018

quick note: I just had the craziest dream I’ve GOT to get down in one of my stories or two actually: floating metal that’s weaponized to cling to you like glue or like you are a magnet with sudden motion;flying through the air with a rocket propelled gun battling these robot like sentinels who think I’m worth capturing for a rogue billionaire with plans for building a bigger army of invading robot soldiers; I even saw another Independence Day like alien invasion movie set in this dream. Guys—when I’m done writing about my feelings I’m going to get back to my fav topic—space aliens, kickass weaponry never seen on this planet before, and ships I think we might see if we can impeach that idiot trump and get back to scientific innovation. Nice bit of dream work in less than two hours!

2016-06-25 20.12.02-1

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Lasirenn

2013-08-31 06.50.34

Some say the world will end not with water but the fire next time. Until then, pass the wine as the sun comes to shine.   Blessed Be.

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