Dorothea Lasky has four poems which auspiciously introduce the Spring 2014 issue of The Paris Review (#208). The fourth is called simply, “Porn.” The narrator of the poem has watched lots of porn films, amongst them one called Divorce Party, in which a group of women watch as their friend fucks "a hired hand.” “And throughout his big cock, her skinny thighs/Her friends shouted, Nah Girl, now you’re free/ But no she’s not she’s in a movie.” The brilliance lies in the poet’s ability to turn the tables on the reader who is either stimulated or not by either the poem or the porn in it. “I watch porn/Cause I’ll never be in love/Except with you dear reader/Who think I surrender…” The reader delights in the image of the poet unveiling her secrets, performing a striptease and ultimately getting fucked as the whole world looks on. But in this case it’s the reader not the gal being banged who’s “not,”— free that is. Since he or she is tied into the poem by the stimulation of the imagery which is also ineradicable as pornographic images tend to be. Objectification in the place of love, voyeurism, exhibitionism, catharsis and freedom are all both overt and subliminal elements of the poem. But the real triumph derives from Lasky’s use of enjambment. The lines are a little like ejaculate splattering into each other in a discomforting form of release which has nothing to do with consummation. “My half brother” is followed by “My boss.” “Vomit sex” is succeeded by “The underplay/Of tendril/In motion.” “I’ve got you right here in my room/Once again,” the lines the poem closes on, are the description of seduction as a kind of imprisonment or claustrophobia. Bravo! The only problem with “Porn" is that it gives porn a bad name. Porn isn’t any worse than drinking unless you’re an addict.
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