Dark Eros: Black Erotic Writingsby Reginald Martin
The overwhelming power of the erotic imagination is brought to full flower in this masterful collection of African-American writings. With pieces from more than seventy writers, Dark Eros explores the erotic possibilities as imagined and reported by authors both well-known and emerging. Using the literary to trace the range of the erotic impulse, this/i>
The overwhelming power of the erotic imagination is brought to full flower in this masterful collection of African-American writings. With pieces from more than seventy writers, Dark Eros explores the erotic possibilities as imagined and reported by authors both well-known and emerging. Using the literary to trace the range of the erotic impulse, this collection of writers and writings-poetry, fiction, and essays-covers the length and breadth of styles and emotions in contemporary African-American writing. As editor Reginald Martin notes, "The pieces collected in this volume throb with the tempo and tenor of writers who have defined the erotic verve of our urban times. Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, New Orleans-every place there is a bus line or dance club has produced African-American eroticism..." The result is a volume that is both compelling and necessary-an exploration of the African-American through the erotic.
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Black Erotic Writing
By Reginald Martin
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 1997 Reginald Martin
All rights reserved.
Peter Schielemann's Black Eros (1971) delineates a precolonial African sexuality that was very different from its concurrent European counterpart, and even different from its later African-American emanations. As there was no separation of different phases of the precolonial African life/African psyche from other aspects of itself, sex was an integral part of everything else, such as religion, gender traditions, and social exchange; at the same time sex was not eroticism, and eroticism undergird each and every aspect of the African psyche. John Mibiti, in African Religions (1973), points out even more tellingly that eroticism is to African religion as African religion is to eroticism: one cannot exist without the other. Today, visit any urban, black Pentecostal church for three-dimensional proof, and one will quickly notice a number of erotic indexes, especially the willed confusion of the sexualized male minister with Christ-like associations in a female-dominated forum. The screams for Jesus take on additional meanings.
So it should not surprise us then that the current progenitors of African essence bring eroticism to everything they touch in the asphalt jungles and concrete condos in which they find themselves. The big- city beat is black.
Tina South-X in "Kitchen Tails" seductively illustrates that black suburban life needs excessive stimulation and that is what the black professional females provide as they talk about their one, best love — never their husbands. Frank Lamont Phillips's "Sunday & Ms. Fantasy" takes us into the nonerotic/erotic mind of one Cheryl, who is sure to become the favorite table dancer in all of fiction. Jennifer Holley's "I Want to Speak" repeats a late-night phone encounter in the recording studio, and Tim Seibles's "Valentine's Day" reveals that the heart is seldom the most favorite organ on erotic holidays. Rebecca Delbridge's urban run-in with auto-eroticism in "No Turn on Red" and Jeul A. Harris's "Black Sugar" are only emblematic of all the alleys and expressways of the African-American erogenous zones. Carole Hill Faulkner's "Midnight Call" is as manipulatively masturbatory as Ken Norfleet's excerpt from his novel Binghampton Bad Boy Blues is dyadically direct. Lana Williams's "... To the Head"; and Lurlynn Franklin's "in the dreams of a former whore goddess" voyeuristically show female aggressiveness and shout the new urban sexuality of the forthright female. "C:\Back Slash\Merge" by Oktavi shows that the computer age has some personality, and Winston Benons's "Gail & John" diary entries show us why those tomes are the most private of erotic texts. Black eroticism brings complications with its benefits, but the benefits remain worth it in Shange's "Black Love." Herr Reverend Schmidt (a pseudonym) of Berlin exposes us to his "Hunger" (translated from the German), which represents the real-life side of an international black Christian minister's own purposely suppressed sexuality. Jennifer Gibson's untitled piece and "Do Ya Got Some Blow?" by Druervonn Washington move us to erotic hip-hop rap for the first time on a high literary plane. Eunice Townsend's "Electric Lover" reminds us that work and play must mix for sanity, and "comes: a suicide note" by Victor E. Blue reminds us, even if we have not forgotten, of the reason people wanted into the cities and out of the country in the first place. Rest and refresh yourself at the end of this first phase leading toward erotic fulfillment with "Marriage" by Cassie Granberry and Estelle Farley's "Dessert."
These pieces illustrate that, once again, one of the frustrating things about trying to keep up with city life is that it changes too quickly to be fully captured. As Alvin Toffler convincingly showed in The Third Wave (1979), it is not change but the rate of change that drives people crazy trying to keep up. This is also why a stagnant culture hates the African-American impulse: the culture cannot keep up. What is often missed is that the same is true for black eroticism, which is the driving force of the city's change.
"Tell about your best love," they squealed above wine, crackers and cheese, refrigerator humming in the background for needed sound cover.
Long draw on the champagne and editorial indexes in place.
"It can only be one — that's it — and why!" A sound-sight-and-scent check for husband-lurk, then direct eye contact with the crowd.
Statement: "Heartbeats, smells, mirrors, a scream that lasted for ten years."
Silence from the crowd.
Sunday & Ms. Fantasy
FRANK LAMONT PHILLIPS
Ms. Fantasy didn't like to work on Sundays. She didn't like to work at all, really. She didn't like to fuck. She didn't even like the nom de porn of the last few months, Ms. Fantasy. Not really. Mostly what she called her coochie, her moneymaker. Ms. Fantasy. It was everything you would like it to be. She would just like to be Cheryl Yvette Wilson again. She would just as soon be at home in bed, or even getting ready to go to church, not as an adult mind you, but as a pigtailed, ribbon-legged girl, arm out in front, being pulled by her mother to do what every child needs to do, go into the house of the Lord, to hear his wonders.
Before she became Ms. Fantasy she had been Coffee, then Miss Sinn, and before that Misty Dawn. The first feature she had starred in, her bustier-clad image brought telephoto close as she gazed lewdly from the videocassette box after lifting her semen-splotched face from the blow-job she had been giving to some guy who was not shown above the pectorals, was under the name Misty Dawn. Matter of fact, it was called Crack of Dawn, one of those all-anal features which advertised, with some truth, that she was to be "interracially butt-fucked for the first time on video." Cheryl had been a "video virgin" two, maybe three times in features that promised "amateurs" making love on film for the first time. She had several all-black productions to her credit, as well as a dozen or so of the endless popular interracial features, whose main selling points were contrasting skin color and large dicks.
Cheryl knew the kinds of people who bought and rented her movies. She had met the men on personal appearances in theaters, or in clubs where she danced, back when she still danced in clubs. They were every kind of guy. The best ones though, the ones that couldn't get enough, were the guys who had never grown up, who had fantasies they indulged by watching the videos and buying the magazines. They were the endless supply of quarters and dollars. They dreamed of girls like and unlike Cheryl, still innocent-looking, even as she performed the most debauched acts. Cheryl had been surprised to find that she had women fans too. Now, she liked to think that nothing surprised her, but of course, now and then, something did.
Cheryl wasn't surprised that most of her fans were middle-aged white men. Even the women she had occasion to meet were mostly white, mostly VCR-rich middle-America, though she had met some famous athletes through her work. She had been a groupie for athletes, and some athletes were groupies for her as well. Black or white, male or female, at some time or another almost everybody she had come in contact with had wanted or tried to fuck her. Some had, but for a price for that kept going up and up.
Sometimes she had a thought that she would meet somebody to fall in love with. She didn't think that she could fall in love with a white man. Sometimes she just thought that she would meet somebody who would take care of her for the rest of her life. That kind of thing had happened to a girl in the business just often enough to stoke the fantasies of a lot of other girls in the business.
Lately, Robert had been trying to sell her on the idea of getting her breasts enlarged. They were going for big boobs now. Always had, really. She wouldn't do it, though.
"I can't understand why you won't think about it," he'd say. He always talked more or less straight with her. More or less. He said he respected her intelligence and he acted like it. He gave her a better snow job. "Titties," he said. "It's all titties. A black girl with great big titties would have to scoop up the money with a shovel."
He looked at her with this great big puppy-dog look on his face. He knew she wasn't having it, but he didn't know how to quit pitching. It was his whole life. Cheryl knew as much as he did. Titties were popular and there were lots of girls with them. Problem was they weren't something you could just get put in and then take off to look normal. The fashion was bazooka boobs. Tits way out to here. Cheryl couldn't see herself freaked out like that.
"You know, it's funny. A lot of guys like a chick with big fake boobs better than they like one with big boobs that are for real. They like women who aren't like any women they're likely to meet. You know, impossible, fantasy gals with helium tits and enormous fuck holes. It's something you ought to think about. Really. It's all about the dollar green."
It was when he talked like that, got all wound up like a hype and then started that ragged winding down, defeated and drawn, that Robert reminded her of her late uncle Bubba. He didn't look anything like old good-for-a-nickel, sometimes a dime, Uncle Bubba, who, drunk, had been killed in a one-car crash into a utility pole just before Cheryl left Memphis. Uncle Bubba was a failed schemer. He was always trying to convince everybody, or maybe just himself, that he could get something going, get out of warehouse work someday, be a biggety. He acted like a biggety too, always drove a block-long second-hand Cadillac. He wouldn't have a car if it wasn't a Cadillac, or a woman if she wasn't high yaller. The way she remembered it, the house became off-limits to Uncle Bubba when she was fourteen because her mamma caught him sneaking a feel on Cheryl.
"They always want colored girls," Robert said after a silence. "You got that going for you."
There was a time when she wouldn't let him use the term colored. She used to run her pie hole quite a bit in the beginning, starting out. Now she mostly listened. Anybody could be played. You just had to listen to them, let them think it was their way.
Cheryl nodded her head.
"I mean you're one pretty black girl," Robert said. He was sweating. In the three years she had known him he had gained a lot of weight, and he had been fat to begin with. Now he was always sweating. No matter what the temperature was he sweated, and he was forever soaking rivulets of sweat in a soiled handkerchief he kept in the pocket of his suit coats, complaining about the heat and promising to God to diet.
Robert could have been thought of as handsome once. He had acted in movies full time until recently. He was pretty well hung. He'd do anything for a buck. He still made appearances when he could get the work, in everything from straight to transsexual to gay and fetish films. Cheryl had appeared in one film with him, back when she was Miss Sinn. She was dressed in leather, the whole dominatrix trip. She didn't mind fetish films. For one thing, in most of them she seldom had to completely undress. She never had to fuck. For another thing, she got to be in control. In this particular film, she twisted Robert's balls and spanked him hard with a Ping-Pong paddle. It was then that she discovered his particular kink, and maybe her own as well. She hadn't enjoyed anything she had ever done on film so much as she enjoyed beating Robert's big hairy ass red with that paddle.
"What the heck," Robert shrugged. "You're making money. My opinion is you're the prettiest colored girl making these movies. You're a looker all right. Gimme a wet one for old times."
They didn't really kiss. Cheryl didn't want it and it was unlikely that Robert wanted it either. He just liked to fall back on that mack type of shit. Sometimes he liked to talk like he was black. In his mind he was cool. That was just in his mind, though.
"You're a pretty black girl," Robert had said.
She was defined and circumscribed by that. Heck, this whole line of work was built on contrasting skin color and big dicks, that and new faces. It was for that reason, that unless a girl were some kind of transcendent star who could sell a video with the image she had built over dozens, maybe hundreds, of features and magazine layouts, it paid to keep being a new face, or to keep doing something new on camera for the first time.
Now and then Cheryl liked to go to a church in Oakland. She always put something in the plate. Sometimes she spoke to the minister afterward. She never joined the church, but she had given it considerable thought. All the way to the shoot she had thought about church, about getting lost in the orgiastic vocal dexterity of the choir. Cheryl had a passable voice. She thought that she would like to sing in a choir, maybe the choir of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Oakland. She would throw her arms out and shake her head and stomp her foot and take the whole congregation right along with her.
If not that, then she would just like to sit in the middle of the bed with everything she shouldn't eat spread out in front of her. She would gorge as if she didn't have to worry about how she looked. She was thinking of a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with lots of mayonnaise dripping from her mouth onto the percale sheets. The trouble with that was the more she thought about it the more it sounded like something in a movie she had made. The mayonnaise in her mouth and in her lipstick looked like the semen it would soon be replaced by, and she couldn't taste the bacon at all.
Cheryl was getting dressed now. She was driving up to the shoot alone. She had been to this particular location before, a really nice house that belonged to some minor actress and her husband. The husband liked porn films and got off on watching them being made in his own house. Besides, he got paid. What wouldn't people do for money.
Cheryl had never thought that she was pretty, not even when people told her so. She tended to look at herself with her mother's reproving eyes. In her mother's eyes, whatever anybody had was all that they had, and it was neither enough nor so good that it didn't need improvement. Moreover, flesh was weak. In her mother's mouth the word flesh had a creepy spook-house sound that made Cheryl want covers to put her head under, and darkness to make her invisible.
Cheryl was about five feet without the heels. She had a nice hard body. That wasn't the fashion when she first started. Now it was. Girls were in the gym pumping up and working out. Cheryl was glad she had gone with her own mind and not listened to what anybody else had to say.
"You're gonna love this," Robert had said to Cheryl. "He's so easy it'll be like stealing money. No, really, it's easier than that, easier than stealing. It's like sitting back and having money fall on you, hundreds and hundreds of dollars float out of the air and fall on you like spring rain. It's an easy shoot. Easy. Easy."
Cheryl had just nodded her head. She had looked unbelieving, disinterested. Robert knew how much she hated to work on Sundays. Lately it had been a chore just getting her to work at all.
Robert was Mister Show Biz, meaning that he was Mister Bullshit. He knew just the thing to say, just the anecdote to tell to get a girl moving. The girls in the business said that he could sell sin to Jesus. When she first heard that Cheryl laughed. Maybe he could sell sin to their Jesus, she had thought, but certainly he couldn't sell anything at all to the Jesus of her mother and of her youth, the Hollywood-handsome white man whose image adorned the living room of the house she grew up in, as well as the living rooms of so many of her mother's many friends back home in Memphis.
Now, listening to Robert in her head as she closed the door of her modest apartment behind her, never really believing anything that he said, but going along with it anyway, she knew for sure that he could sell sin to Jesus, that no saint was safe before him, that hell was down the long lying mouth of the snake who tempted Eve.
It was a money thing she told herself as she got into her car. It was just-bought. It was a money-green sports car. She looked at herself one last time in the rear-view mirror before she set it. She looked like a woman maybe going to sunrise service. Shoots were always so damn early. She took the gold crucifix from around her neck and put it in the ashtray and sighed. Then she drove off.
I Want to Speak
Slender manicured fingers from her hand reach out and begin to depress each of the hard buttons. She knows what she wants.
It was 8:00 P.M. He is waiting. Each long finger goes down on the keypad, craving it.
She knows he is waiting. The radio is on. The song they are playing seems unusually sad to her.
She dials a little faster now. Anticipation makes her nipples hard. Her breath is heavy and labored. Would he be waiting?
The last number quickly goes through.
His voice seems to shake when he says, "YES YOU MAY COME FUCK ME NOW."
He hears only the sound of the receiver hitting the floor.
Excerpted from Dark Eros by Reginald Martin. Copyright © 1997 Reginald Martin. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Lenard D. Moore, the most acclaimed African-American haiku writer of the twentieth century was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. degree from Shaw University. Moore is a poet, playwright, essayist, book reviewer, and fiction writer. While he is best known for his book Forever Home, he is also the author of Desert Storm: A Brief History. He is the founder and executive director of the Carolina African-American Writer's Collective and is the founding publishing editor of Earlobe.
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But i read that excerpt and it sounds dumb as hell idk how you can be intrigued by a tiger being a certain color O stars
Whoa! I never expected him to be a white tiger! It is realllllllly gooooooodddd!
I luv iiiit
[Thank you all for bring so supportive. But can you please advertise everywhere you can. If you have a clan then there would be great too. Ok here's chapter 5...] <br> <p> A man walked into the cave. He was holing a knife! He stabbed me, over and over again. This went on for hours but i still wasnt dead. Then suddenly he struck me on the head. "Huh!" I woke up gasping. It was the first time I had experienced such a thing. I paitiently waited for my eyes to come to focus. I saw the female tiger. My eyes lit up with joy. She was so beautiful, with the soft fur and all. After a couple of minutes, she lazily woke up. She yawned, and I could see her sharp fangs. She caught sight of me, and she looked happy too. She motioned me to follow her. I followed her deeper into the cave. It was way bigger than I thaught! Feeling excited, I made my pace faster. Finally, we reached a crystal shiny pool. It was amazing. She jerked her head towards it, and she motioned me to look into the pool. I looked, and gasped. I wasn't orange and black. I was a white tiger! <br> <p> I circled the pool, trying to process everything that happened. If I was a different type of tiger, they either might kill me faster or even keep me in the zoo longer. With a few mumbles, I tried to explain the best I could about my escape plan. She seemed to agree. Then it was set. We were going to leave tonight.