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Old 04-06-2017, 12:25 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Default Obscene Gay Doggerel

I have been working on a sex poem and have found Auden’s disacknowledged “The Platonic Blow” very helpful. What impresses me most is that he is able to convince me that the poem is something written on a bathroom wall while never letting me forget that the poem was written by a master.

Its history is fascinating. I didn’t know about the poem until last year when a very gay and very dear old New York poet read it to me (he used to run with Andy Warhol). I think he was assessing my sexual orientation.

Here’s the history:

Auden described writing a "purely pornographic" poem in a letter to Chester Kallman in December 1948, as an addition to the "Auden Corpus". Auden jokingly suggested that Kallman write an similar poem about "the other Major Act" (anal sex) to be published together on "rubber paper for dirty old millionaires" with illustrations by Paul Cadmus. He also wrote the poem to demonstrate his true nature to Professor Norman Holmes Pearson, with whom Auden was collaborating on a poetry anthology.

Copies were circulated to Auden's friends but it remained unpublished until 1965, when Ed Sanders obtained a copy from an employee of the Morgan Library and published it (without Auden's permission) in his New York counterculture magazine Fuck You / A Magazine of the Arts (Vol 5 No 8) in March 1965, with a cover by Andy Warhol. The poem was included without a title, described as "a gobble poem snatched from the notebooks of WH Auden".

Auden admitted his authorship to friends, and in print in the Daily Telegraph Magazine in 1968. It was published by the European magazine Suck in October 1969, again without permission, under the title "The Gobble Poem" and then by Avante Garde magazine in 1970 entitled "A Day for a Lay". However, by 1970, Auden was denying authorship, and returned the royalty cheque.

Here’s the poem:

It was a spring day, a day for a lay, when the air
Smelled like a locker-room, a day to blow or get blown;
Returning from lunch I turned my corner and there
On a near-by stoop I saw him standing alone.

I glanced as I advanced. The clean white T-shirt outlined
A forceful torso, the light-blue denims divulged
Much. I observed the snug curves where they hugged the behind,
I watched the crotch where the cloth intriguingly bulged.

Our eyes met. I felt sick. My knees turned weak.
I couldn’t move. I didn’t know what to say.
In a blur I heard words, myself like a stranger speak
“Will you come to my room?” Then a husky voice, “O.K.”

I produced some beer and we talked. Like a little boy
He told me his story. Present address: next door.
Half Polish, half Irish. The youngest. From Illinois.
Profession: mechanic. Name: Bud. Age: twenty-four.

He put down his glass and stretched his bare arms along
The back of my sofa. The afternoon sunlight struck
The blond hairs on the wrist near my head. His chin was strong.
His mouth sucky. I could hardly believe my luck.

And here he was sitting beside me, legs apart.
I could bear it no longer. I touched the inside of his thigh.
His reply was to move closer. I trembled, my heart
Thumped and jumped as my fingers went to his fly.

I opened a gap in the flap. I went in there.
I sought for a slit in the gripper shorts that had charge
Of the basket I asked for. I came to warm flesh then to hair.
I went on. I found what I hoped. I groped. It was large.

He responded to my fondling in a charming, disarming way:
Without a word he unbuckled his belt while I felt.
And lolled back, stretching his legs. His pants fell away.
Carefully drawing it out, I beheld what I held.

The circumcised head was a work of mastercraft
With perfectly beveled rim of unusual weight
And the friendliest red. Even relaxed, the shaft
Was of noble dimensions with the wrinkles that indicate

Singular powers of extension. For a second or two,
It lay there inert, then suddenly stirred in my hand,
Then paused as if frightened or doubtful of what to do.
And then with a violent jerk began to expand.

By soundless bounds it extended and distended, by quick
Great leaps it rose, it flushed, it rushed to its full size.
Nearly nine inches long and three inches thick,
A royal column, ineffably solemn and wise.

I tested its length and strength with a manual squeeze.
I bunched my fingers and twirled them about the knob.
I stroked it from top to bottom. I got on my knees.
I lowered my head. I opened my mouth for the job.

But he pushed me gently away. He bent down. He unlaced
His shoes. He removed his socks. Stood up. Shed
His pants altogether. Muscles in arms and waist
Rippled as he whipped his T-shirt over his head.

I scanned his tan, enjoyed the contrast of brown
Trunk against white shorts taut around small
Hips. With a dig and a wriggle he peeled them down.
I tore off my clothes. He faced me, smiling. I saw all.

The gorgeous organ stood stiffly and straightly out
With a slight flare upwards. At each beat of his heart it threw
An odd little nod my way. From the slot of the spout
Exuded a drop of transparent viscous goo.

The lair of hair was fair, the grove of a young man,
A tangle of curls and whorls, luxuriant but couth.
Except for a spur of golden hairs that fan
To the neat navel, the rest of the belly was smooth.

Well hung, slung from the fork of the muscular legs,
The firm vase of his sperm, like a bulging pear,
Cradling its handsome glands, two herculean eggs,
Swung as he came towards me, shameless, bare.

We aligned mouths. We entwined. All act was clutch,
All fact contact, the attack and the interlock
Of tongues, the charms of arms. I shook at the touch
Of his fresh flesh, I rocked at the shock of his cock.

Straddling my legs a little I inserted his divine
Person between and closed on it tight as I could.
The upright warmth of his belly lay all along mine.
Nude, glued together for a minute, we stood.

I stroked the lobes of his ears, the back of his head
And the broad shoulders. I took bold hold of the compact
Globes of his bottom. We tottered. He fell on the bed.
Lips parted, eyes closed, he lay there, ripe for the act.

Mad to be had, to be felt and smelled. My lips
Explored the adorable masculine tits. My eyes
Assessed the chest. I caressed the athletic hips
And the slim limbs. I approved the grooves of the thighs.

I hugged, I snuggled into an armpit. I sniffed
The subtle whiff of its tuft. I lapped up the taste
Of its hot hollow. My fingers began to drift
On a trek of inspection, a leisurely tour of the waist.

Downward in narrowing circles they playfully strayed.
Encroached on his privates like poachers, approached the prick,
But teasingly swerved, retreated from meeting. It betrayed
Its pleading need by a pretty imploring kick.

“Shall I rim you?” I whispered. He shifted his limbs in assent.
Turned on his side and opened his legs, let me pass
To the dark parts behind. I kissed as I went
The great thick cord that ran back from his balls to his arse.

Prying the buttocks aside, I nosed my way in
Down the shaggy slopes. I came to the puckered goal.
It was quick to my licking. He pressed his crotch to my chin.
His thighs squirmed as my tongue wormed in his hole.

His sensations yearned for consummation. He untucked
His legs and lay panting, hot as a teen-age boy.
Naked, enlarged, charged, aching to get sucked,
Clawing the sheet, all his pores open to joy.

I inspected his erection. I surveyed his parts with a stare
From scrotum level. Sighting along the underside
Of his cock, I looked through the forest of pubic hair
To the range of the chest beyond rising lofty and wide.

I admired the texture, the delicate wrinkles and the neat
Sutures of the capacious bag. I adored the grace
Of the male genitalia. I raised the delicious meat
Up to my mouth, brought the face of its hard-on to my face.

Slipping my lips round the Byzantine dome of the head,
With the tip of my tongue I caressed the sensitive groove.
He thrilled to the trill. “That’s lovely!” he hoarsely said.
“Go on! Go on!” Very slowly I started to move.

Gently, intently, I slid to the massive base
Of his tower of power, paused there a moment down
In the warm moist thicket, then began to retrace
Inch by inch the smooth way to the throbbing crown.

Indwelling excitements swelled at delights to come
As I descended and ascended those thick distended walls.
I grasped his root between left forefinger and thumb
And with my right hand tickled his heavy voluminous balls.

I plunged with a rhythmical lunge steady and slow,
And at every stroke made a corkscrew roll with my tongue.
His soul reeled in the feeling. He whimpered “Oh!”
As I tongued and squeezed and rolled and tickled and swung.

Then I pressed on the spot where the groin is joined to the cock,
Slipped a finger into his arse and massaged him from inside.
The secret sluices of his juices began to unlock.
He melted into what he felt. “O Jesus!” he cried.

Waves of immeasurable pleasures mounted his member in quick
Spasms. I lay still in the notch of his crotch inhaling his sweat.
His ring convulsed round my finger. Into me, rich and thick,
His hot spunk spouted in gouts, spurted in jet after jet.

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 04-06-2017 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 04-06-2017, 03:19 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Location: Old South Wales (UK)
Posts: 3,688

It made me sad to know that Auden had "disacknowledged" it and have long hoped that it was on artistic rather than "moral" grounds. There has been much scholarly discussion of the Manichean elements in Auden and it amuses me that the proposed Kallman poem, if it had ever been set alongside this one, might have been a rather lovely example of the concept.

I take pleasure in the poems in which Auden celebrates the realities of his domestic life and in fact I used a line from one of them, "Glad", as a dedication for a book of my own.

I look forward to some worthwhile discussion of this poem. Just nobody, please, say that "it sucks".

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 04-06-2017 at 07:22 AM. Reason: to change an "if" that I wrote to the "of" that I thought I'd written.
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Old 04-06-2017, 04:26 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Location: TX
Posts: 1,525

It is to my mind a very long poem: Auden has a sustained commitment to his subject. It's also quite erotic, and maybe he felt he needed the space for that mood to develop. Or for whatever other reason. It's nice to have this by Auden; I almost never write about sex, and it feels like a bit of a blind spot.
I think the poem achieves its goals, and doesn't seem to require any more than that. Speaking as a man (though without experience in such things), I find the nine-inch member one unlikely touch. Though perhaps why not? Too bad Auden felt the need to disavow his own work as time played out.
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Old 04-06-2017, 12:37 PM
Michael Ferris's Avatar
Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
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I remember reading in one of the Auden bios that, while Wystan was openly gay, especially for the times, he was also convinced that homosexuality was a sin, and was something for which he needed forgiveness. I’ve always been perplexed by that stance, because Auden IMO was too smart for it. The only sense I could ever make of it was the comment, by Arendt, IIRC, that Auden had an infatuation with suffering and seemed actively to seek it out. It served as a kind of muse for him. I think this ties into the Manichaeism you mention. And his relationship with Chester was the occasion for much suffering – though it was also the occasion for happiness and joy.

Last edited by Michael Ferris; 04-06-2017 at 09:57 PM. Reason: bad writing
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Old 04-06-2017, 01:51 PM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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This poem has been mentioned here several times over the years (usually only in passing). Pages 4 and 5 of this old thread contain some interesting comments on it.
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Old 04-06-2017, 02:43 PM
Orwn Acra's Avatar
Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is online now
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For a long time I have had conflicting feelings about this poem. I'm glad it exists; there are few gay sex poems that are smart and unashamed. And it (the poem) is pleasurable and fun. I wish he had written more than one* overtly gay sex poem, and I wish it weren't doggerel, as Aaron points out. But still: Herculean eggs!

*As far as I know.
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Old 04-06-2017, 06:27 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
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Sure, it's doggerel, but it's also pornography, isn't it? Pornographic doggerel. I'm sort of embarrassed on his behalf, since I can't believe he would have wanted to lend his name to this except perhaps for a very limited audience of close friends who might have been amused.
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Old 04-07-2017, 01:46 AM
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John Whitworth John Whitworth is offline
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Posts: 12,596

It doesn't suck and it isn't doggerel. If it is pornography and therefore aaargh, then we'd better stop reading a lot of classical poetry, Ovid, Catullus, Propertius, Sappho, Meleager of Cos that I translated in Ablemuse, the 'puerile Muse' of Strato of Sardis...

Shakespeare (Venus and Adonis)
Marlowe (Hero and Leander and gay porn at that)

and there are those French guys, Baudelaire and Rimbaud

You cn read lots of this deviant stuff, though not alas the Auden, in The Faber Book of Blue Verse, republished and renamed (though not by me) Making Love to Marilyn Monroe. You buy it directly from Whitturf and he'll give you a good deal and sign it into the bargain. End of Commercial Break.

Orwn, Auden wrote six poems in bad German to his German boys in about 1932. They are translated by David Constantine and are very touching.

Last edited by John Whitworth; 04-07-2017 at 02:02 AM.
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:04 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
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There's a difference between poetry that has graphic sexual content and poetry that is designed to assist in masturbation. We may draw the line differently, of course, but I doubt that many readers of Ovid lock the door first.
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Old 04-07-2017, 12:19 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Location: TX
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I think my own favorite thing about this thread is just the title: "Obscene Gay Doggerel". Who could resist? Not I for one.

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