Dear Geoff,
I’m not sure why I thought it would work
there in my parent’s bedroom
the child lock released from the back
of the satellite tv box
my fever ablaze and coughing
hand crammed into the tight v between my thighs
too ashamed to actually touch my own skin
yet rubbing one out for the fifth time that morning.
I believed that if I could scrub
the hundreds of dirty hopes
out of my red raw crotch
they would be gone for good.
If I could simply compel my body to rise and fall
enough at the sight of those impossible role models
so ready to moan for my redemption
I would be healed.
The best part of staying home sick from school
was this false church.
Looking back, I can ask why
I might have wanted to be free of my own desires.
Looking back, I can see how
I took to the moan like a new secretary
eager to please and thorough.
I tell you this now
because the lies are half true,
because the body is half yours.

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EMILY KAGAN TRENCHARD’s work fuses poetry and science, the personal and the political, the magical and the natural. Her poems critique and reconfigure traditional notions of femininity, history, religion and the body, drawing on images and stories from both her own life and the media. Her writing synthesizes the experimental nature of her native California, the discipline and knowledge gained while earning her Master’s of Science in Science Writing from MIT, and the attitude nurtured by her adopted home, New York City.

Emily began writing poetry while at the University of California, Berkeley, where her work was commissioned for an address to the graduating class of 2004. Her work has appeared in publications such as Word Riot, Get Underground, The Shiny Gun and several anthologies of poetry. She also received honorable mention in Rattle’s 2009 Poetry Prize. Emily has been a featured writer and performer at numerous reading series and universities across the country, and was a part of Def Poetry Jam’s seasons 3 and 4.

Though poetry is a large part of her creative life, she makes her living in multi-media science communications, helping the public become fascinated by everything from cholesterol to cosmology. She strongly believes that good ideas shouldn’t suffer because of bad design. Most recently, Emily worked with the filmmaker Paul Devlin on his high-flying astrophysics-adventure documentary, BLAST!

Emily lives in Brooklyn where she is slam master and a co-curator of the renowned louderARTS Project Reading Series. She has potty mouth and a thing for red lipstick. She’s expecting her first child this December.

13 responses to “Letter to My Husband About Porn”

  1. […] TNB TV  Please enjoy this video of poet Emily Kagan Trenchard performing at the Green Mill Jazz Club in Chicago on April 4, 2010. This particular piece involves porn, early sexual experimentation, loss of virginity, and the mediated nature of, well, pretty much everything. Emily is this week’s featured poet here at TNB, and you can read another of her poems (also concerned with pornography) by clicking right here.  […]

  2. zoe zolbrod says:

    Not at all what I expected from the title. What does that say? Love it.

  3. Wow. I don’t read a lot of poetry, but you know, the title of this got my attention. Loved especially this line right here:

    “The best part of staying home sick from school was this false church.”

  4. Jessica Blau says:

    Wow. Excellent. Bravo!

  5. milo martin says:

    Emily
    this is REAL for so many people on so many levels…
    confessional yes, but lending a palpable universality…
    and the last lines are sorta wicked but true…
    thank you…
    truly,
    Milo

  6. Doug says:

    “I took to the moan like a new secretary
    eager to please and thorough.”

    Wonderful!

  7. I am certain many identify with the mood and emotion of this prose. I suppose I am an old prune but why would you think anyone gives a rat’s hoot what you do in bed with yourself? Why do you think poetry is a way to express the event? Why would you reveal your inner self to the world’s readership? This seems a new level of immodesty. To me, downright astonishing people think this stuff is poetry or any art form at all. And yet there are many who swoon over this stuff. Are you ridiculing this genre(If so, good job) or do you really think it has merit as literature? All this aside, well wishes for birth of your child soon. My granddaughter was born on Christmas Day. Under threat of severe consequences my daughter agreed we name her Crislynd. She will be 8. PS Just literary critique and not personal. You should see what they say about my stuff. Some made me feel ashamed even owning a pen, let alone trying to write.) Smile.

    • anon says:

      @carldagostino

      “do you really think it has merit as literature?”

      Because literature doesn’t address salacious topics? The western cannon is a long parade of plays, poems, and stories about murder, conquest and sex. From Oedipus to Hamlet to Miller to Mamet it’s almost nothin but fuckin and killin.

      God forbid a woman frankly discuss her sexuality. I mean really, if you have a vagina why should anyone give “rat’s hoot what you do in bed with yourself?” unless it’s supporting some prurient interest? A woman’s place for talking about sex in on a phone call that costs 3.99 a minute. It’s not like men’s sexuality informs their writing in anyway.

      “Why would you reveal your inner self to the world’s readership?”

      Isn’t the reveal of the inner self the whole point of the writing thing?

      “PS Just literary critique and not personal.”

      While it may not have intended to be, ending your flippant critique with this sign off and a commiseration about her pregnancy doesn’t make you sound like a “old prune”, but a paternalistic asshole. Basically what I get from your comments is that you would really prefer her to stop with the dildo talk, but good luck packin school lunches.

  8. Anais Nin says:

    Women masturbate?! Good lord, OH MY GOD! Next thing you know we’ll be voting! Oh wait…

  9. Jared Paul says:

    Old “prude,” Carl. You meant old prude. Good luck writing about fruit baskets or hallmark cards, or whatever the fuck it is that you find interesting.

  10. b.omni.d says:

    I honestly don’t believe that’s a real persons comment. Gotta be a joke. Crislynd? Fuhreelz?

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