K.’s (Stoner’s Bone of Contention, 2013, etc.) collection of erotic poetry offers a cavalcade of love affairs, focusing on the narrator’s moment-to-moment fantasies and experiences.
Instead of detailing the peaks and valleys of one particular relationship, K. uses graphic language to focus readers’ attention on the body parts, sexual satisfaction, and the dominance and submission of a series of different lovers. In these verses, the present seduction is all that exists; nostalgia is largely nonexistent, and anticipation matters only in relationship to the conquest that is about to take place—if the narrator’s lover follows her explicit instructions: “We will neck and pet / swooning and ardent / whispering appreciation. / Desire will drive us / to the brink / and self-satisfaction / will slide us over it.” Notions of love are left out and, with them, the darker sides of love, such as regret and rejection. The poet’s chief concerns are pleasures happening now or in the immediate future, reflected in the ubiquitous present tense, which cumulatively gives readers the sense that thousands of fantasies are unfolding simultaneously. The poems mention no names, nor do they give a clear sense of recurring partners, lending them an anonymous, impersonal quality. They also liberally use the second-person point of view, again indicating an indiscernible number of lovers. It’s hard not to be impressed by how much time and fervent energy the narrator devotes to these romps; in one poem, she describes herself as a vessel for passion rather than its source: “I’m not a giver or a taker. / I’m a transducer, a conducive element / ... / Sensual powers pass to me / and through me / ...not from me / Empty like a mirror when no one’s there.” Not coincidentally, artists often provide similar explanations when discussing their inspiration.
A sprawling collection, light on concrete specifics, that intriguingly lays out a dance of seduction in all of its conceivable steps.