Strangely (Human)


Strangely (human)

the man who raped her
also encouraged her
to pleasure herself.

“I want it to hurt,” he said,
but then slack-jawed, teeth-
gritted, fitted her hand
to her crotch so she could maybe
make it
not hurt.

These are just a couple of ways
plays us.


Draftish sort of poem, not auto-biographical, for Shay’s (Fireblossom’s) prompt on Real Toads to write something based on the work of Gerda Wegener.  An image of Gerda’s above. 

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16 Comments on “Strangely (Human)”

  1. coalblack Says:

    Given the recent news events, this makes me think of Bill Cosby. Who knew Mr. Huxtable was a satyr?

  2. Zoe Says:

    Holy cats. This is fantastic.

  3. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    Phew! This digs deep beneath the surface of obvious human sexuality. A profound and courageous piece.

  4. hedgewitch Says:

    Interesting choice, and interesting pov here–a rather scathing indictment of sex itself as well(or maybe that’s me)–I do feel there is agony and yes, a strange pleasure, in this picture, which makes rape a valid comparison–that invasion of an aggressive, overwhelming, violent power which females experience in so many ways, not just on their backs. (It recalled Cosby for me as well.) I think the fewer words that can make the point the better on these kinds of topics, because the impact is so visceral, so the brevity here adds to the slap of the events–really well done and the images you evoke very real–and depressing.

    • coalblack Says:

      It’s not just you. I read it that way, too.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Honestly I wasn’t thinking about Cosby but it could relate to that I am sure in the sense of someone wanting to feel like a good guy. I had a different possible more relatable ending but it seemed a bit too “take that” to me and then the other came which felt just broader. I have a funny Wegener poem in my head that I was thinking about and may try to put together if I have time– this one intervened and it was very formed first go– so just used it. K.

  5. Zoe Says:

    I don’t really think this is about sex. I think it’s about being penetrated (emotionally, mentally, and spiritually) almost against your will.

    “the man who raped her
    also encouraged her” … This, to me, says that he championed her, prodded her to push herself, to be all she could be … and he also forced his way into her head, whether invited or not. I think we all want (in equal measure) to have people in our heads and to keep people out of our heads. That’s what I see her having experienced. He got in, and she didn’t really want him to, but at the same time, she was glad he did.

    I honestly see it as being about a lit professor trying to teach his student to “dig deep” so that she can write from a more raw — and yes, sexual — place.

    Inside of “strangely,” I see “strangle-ey,” meaning that he’s strangling her (figuratively speaking) to teach her to fight back … in words. Inside of “human,” I see “humming.” You invited us to see something different by inserting the parentheses. So I see him strangling her and her humming. He’s covering her mouth to help her learn to be louder. Again, all this is meant to convey what it is to not just draw out one’s poetic voice, but rather to make the poet scream with rage and power and even lust.

    “so she could maybe
    make it
    not hurt” … Not gonna happen. Every great poem involves pain on some level. Also shame.

    The last two words … thought-provoking layered meanings. Shame plays us in that we get burned by it, it hinders us, tricks us into believing its lies … and worse, caring about them. But also, you’re saying it “plays us” in that it is an actress that takes our place in the theatrical productions of our lives. Certainly, we each contain an assortment of characters, at the ready depending on current circumstances. But beyond that, when we allow shame to play the part of our identities, we rob ourselves of truth, of self-worth, of existing. We so often completely forfeit our lives because we let shame take over, sticking us in the back seat of our own road-trip adventures. It’s just plain wrong.

    That’s what I take away from this exquisite piece. Kick “shame” out out of the driver’s seat, and grab the damn wheel, poet, sexual being, animal/human/alien/myth … whatever you are, don’t just give yourself permission to exist; demand it. It’s a right, not a gift. A basic necessity, not a privilege.

    Also, the way you let “ways” hang out so much farther than the lines below makes me think you’re playing with homophones. “Weighs.” Shame also gets very involved in how we feel about how we look, how much we weigh, etc.

    Anyway, phenomenal work.

  6. Brendan Says:

    The story of Gerda and Einar Wegener is fascinating to me, the images of Gerda that I googled are like a deck of cards or a Tarot fanned out through all the poems that have been posted to Fireblossom’s challenge. Male eros seemed always demonic to Gerda — a rough rude barbed fence to pass into the male other. The satyr in the image is a tough tutor, for sure, and that cramped furtive dark hand below the waistline is his, or hers that was forced by him. How different the curved aquaean roseate presence of the female compared to him. Where there is no shame. No Einar, either, once he became Lily. Really great and tough response to the the prompt, Karin.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much, Brendan–the images that I saw googling and google-eyed are certainly amazing–provocative, fun (sometimes not), but absolutely fascinating and compelling. Thanks for your kind comment and best wishes for 2016. k.

      On Fri, Jan 1, 2016 at 4:31 PM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  7. Rape of body, mind and soul…Powerful piece!

  8. Helen Dehner Says:

    Dark, deep and yes .. powerful. Great write, Karin! I saw Gerda’s female as a predator, no shame ….

    This day you are mine
    I’ll do with you as I please
    Control, absolute

  9. humbird Says:

    Provocative art, provocative poem…I feel we just need to activate both forces in us: the feminine and masculine as well to feel life as whole and in balance. Thanks.

  10. Sherry Marr Says:

    Stark, gritty and real….you have captured the shame and confusion of such an event that the victim experiences.

  11. I have to agree with Kerry, “Profound and courageous.”

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