It seems that there’s an hierarchy of taboo. Or at least in the realm of self-censorship (ie. in my head). The taboo I’m wondering about is scat sex. Is it a taboo to think it? A taboo to talk about it? A taboo to do it? Is it more of a taboo to write about it than to do it in private? Is writing about it and putting it out there just as bad as actually doing it in public? Would you think worse of me if I did it or if I wrote about it, or would you think bad of me for doing either? By you, I mean my super-ego.
The first scat sex essay/story/piece I read was by by Avram Morrison in Flesh and the Word 4. Remember those brilliant anthologies John Preston initiated and edited, and then when he died, Michael Lowenthal continued. Those collections were my introduction, along with the High Risk anthologies, into what was possible on the page. I read them and knew, this is what I want to do. So, in the Avram Morrison story (was that really his name?) a young guy goes to his first scat party in New York (or was it San Francisco, though it must have been New York. Where else would a scat party happen?) and although I don’t remember the details of the story, I do remember the plastic sheeting covering the floors, and a moment when he, the narrator, Avram Morrison, stands at the window, which in my memory is also covered with some black fabric, and peers through a gap out at the city below. Or maybe he has a moment with another guy where they stand and smoke a cigarette together. The story had many details.
That was it in terms of scat stories. I haven’t gone looking for scat stories, but I’d imagine that a quick search on Google would offer up a vast array. I’m not tempted, though I did have a quick look on Tumblr, and most of the images looked like they could be coffee cake or mud pie smeared over faces and crotches. There was one gif of a guy taking a dump, just his lower back and his arsehole and a turd plopping out, over and over, the same turd.
Which reminds me of the scene in Miranda July’s movie and “the same poop, back and forth, forever.” It’s an hilarious moment.
So I wrote a story with some poop in it and I thought about sending it to an online journal. I tweeted them to check if scat was okay, but I haven’t heard back. (update: they said to send it.) On their About page they have a quote from Edwidge Danticat that says: “Create dangerously for those who read dangerously.” I like Edwidge Danticat’s work a lot, but I wouldn’t put her in the Dangerous Writers group. I love-hated American Psycho, which is definitely a writing dangerously novel. But poop, is that dangerous. Men pooping together. Men touching each other’s poop. Tasting each other’s poop. In my story it all happens in a dream. Does that make it less dangerous, less taboo. Is pooh a taboo anyway?
The story I wrote is based on phone sex I used to have with a guy who was into shit. It’s not that I’m into shit, but I did like his voice and his imagination and, if nothing else, I like to stretch my range. I have my limits. But pooh is not one of them. In the real world, I don’t like the smell of other people’s shit. But even then there’s a but. A man I loved very much… him, his smell, I did not mind.
Taboo-wise, there is: To think it, to say it, to write it, to do it. Even to say it is not so bad. In the intimacy of the bedroom, when a man asked me what my ultimate fantasy was, I said: to rub ourselves in each other’s shit. I’ve never said this to anyone else, only to him, this man whom I loved, or thought I loved, or thought I was falling in love with, this man who, even now when we meet, it feels like we keep pushing each other into a fantasy realm that could end in shit. Instead we peed on each other, and he wore a dress for me, but we never reached the point of shit, maybe because we never stayed together long enough. Maybe we both got scared.
And if the online journal says no, that scat is too dangerous, then what? Who will publish my story about shit? Who will say to me, as others used to say to John Preston: “How dare you even think these things.” How do I keep pushing the outer reaches of my imagination and stop worrying about what others will think, and by others I probably mean mothers, and how do I keep making work that excites me and that feels dangerous and beautiful and disruptive? Maybe those are really the big questions, rather than whether someone’s going to be offended or not by a bit of poop on the page.