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miraculous and dream-worthy and mysterious
March 18, 2012 10:35 PM   Subscribe

Neil Gaiman writes a poem about nudity (in collaboration with Olivia De Berandinis). Katie West responds. Neil approves. [consider the entire post NSFW]

Text of the poems for those who don't want to click.


Neil Gaiman:

I am continually disappointed by nudity

decently covered breasts could look like anything when revealed,

the nipples might be eyes or snake heads or flowers glowing gold,

they might be anything, but never are.

And as for the rest of it, the whole between-the-legs business,

when I was a boy, and simply wondered about women, why back then

it was the mystery of mysteries, 

and now, grown up

I still think,

I wonder what she keeps hidden, down there, beneath that cloth

imagining miracles and mysteries and dreams

conjuring secret mouths and lips that smile and sing

craving petals, tentacles and stars,

desiring the unimaginable.
The reality of nakedness

makes me mutter Jesus Christ with delight and awe as well, of course,

but still, the revelation is in its way prosaic.

Just another gentle biped with bumps and flesh and cleft and hair
always looking just

a little bit more awkward and less interesting

than when she wore clothes.


Katie West - Neil Gaiman, I love you, and I’m not wearing any clothes.

If you think seeing a naked woman
is a disappointment
because what you had imagined was so much
better than what was there, may I suggest looking at it in a new way.

Maybe instead of pondering
the tentacles and mouths beneath
her clothes,
you could ponder the bright things
that lurk beneath her skin. You can look
at her glistening pussy lips and wonder,
my god,
what rivers
must run through her body to create
that overflow of wetness. You can look at her breasts,
dark and sensitive and soft, feeling
in your hands like the greatest of treasures, and come
up with multiple theories as to what lies
beneath them that could possibly make them mould
so perfectly
to your touch and respond so enthusiastically
to your tongue.

Her body is so much more
miraculous and dream-worthy and mysterious
when naked than when she wears clothes.

The mystery has never been what might be
found under her clothes; that is just something of hers
she lets
you enjoy
because she thinks you to be clever. The mystery
is in imagining what writhes under her skin that makes her body move the way it does;
what worlds are inside her that create a gravitational pull so unyielding;
what makes her body a fertile ground, enough to grow the tenderness
of her gaze, the audacity of her courage, and the ferocity of her tongue.

The mystery has always been
how you plan on maintaining your cleverness
for just long enough
to convince her to let you stay
with her, there,
and naked, too, beside her.
posted by nadawi (86 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love Katie West's response. I'm lucky enough to have someone who looks past the fact I can't maintain my cleverness for that long and lets me stay anyway.
posted by arcticseal at 10:43 PM on March 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Katie West took it to a whole new level. I like that she focused on the body-as-a-house-for-the-soul metaphor. Perfect response.
posted by quincunx at 10:49 PM on March 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Annus Mirabilis

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me) -
Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

Up to then there'd only been
A sort of bargaining,
A wrangle for the ring,
A shame that started at sixteen
And spread to everything.

Then all at once the quarrel sank:
Everyone felt the same,
And every life became
A brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game.

So life was never better than
In nineteen sixty-three
(Though just too late for me) -
Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

- Philip Larkin
posted by gwint at 10:51 PM on March 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


There once was a girl from Assizes,
Who had ...

I'll show myself out.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:13 PM on March 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Are we sure that Neil Gaiman isn't somehow simply gay?
posted by Nomyte at 11:13 PM on March 18, 2012


I've met him and Amanda.

No. No he is not.
posted by The Whelk at 11:15 PM on March 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think the next step is a response from a skeleton.
posted by dumbland at 11:46 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


i don't think he's gay, but i do find gaiman weirdly sexless, in that goth cunt magic kind of way that overwhelms you in adolescene and never really lets one go.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:53 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


they might be anything, but never are.

And as for the rest of it, the whole between-the-legs business,

when I was a boy, and simply wondered about women, why back then

it was the mystery of mysteries, 



The funny thing is i feel this way about science and space, and feel the opposite about nudity.
When i was younger, space held mystery, there could be life on other planets, or things we've never seen before, but the more we discover, it's just rocks of different colors. The mystery of space exploration and other sciences have killed any interest i once had in it.

Nudity though, that's marvelous. Every person is different, especially nude, and even more so when photographing them. You experience them clothed, and then how they change to nude, and then carry themselves and move while nude. I don't know if i'll ever get sick of that.
posted by usagizero at 11:54 PM on March 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think the next step is a response from a skeleton.

When you hear sweet syncopation
And the music softly moans
T'ain't no sin to take off your skin
And dance around in your bones


When it gets too hot for comfot
And you can't get an ice cream cone
T'ain't no sin to take off your skin
And dance around your bones


Just like those bamboo babies
Down in the South Sea tropic zone
T'ain't no sin to take off your skin
And dance around your bones
posted by St. Sorryass at 12:33 AM on March 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


the more we discover, it's just rocks of different colors


As something of a geologist it's better if most of space is just rocks. Down here life keeps getting in the way of seeing a lot of the really good ones so you have to dig down or push it out of the way. Naked people are the same, I guess- the really interesting parts of a person are pretty hard to see until you get inside of them either by patiently listening to how they move or, somewhat less effectively overall, by actually getting in there. Ideally both if you want to know everything.
posted by sandswipe at 12:39 AM on March 19, 2012


XTC's Poor Skeleton Steps Out for your entertainment.
posted by Nomyte at 12:41 AM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I refuse to treat another human as a tauntaun.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:52 AM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Eh, don't shaft yourself, just use the tip.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:56 AM on March 19, 2012


Wow, ultimate neg, Gaiman.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:50 AM on March 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's the curse of sentience and imagination, isn't it? Reality is wondrous and bizarre, and yet we grow accustomed to it so quickly, and start wondering how it could be otherwise. Of course, if reality were different, we'd know nothing else, and it would bore us every bit as much as does the reality we know.

This is why we need both scientists and fantasists: by their contributions combined, we can find joy and wonder both in that which we do have, and that which we do not.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:53 AM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Text of the poems for those who don't want to click.

Next time, please leave the clothes on for us.

Those poems remind me of the time my son opened the door to the bathroom whilst his grandmother was taking a shower. There are simply some things better not seen naked.
posted by three blind mice at 3:20 AM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Neil Gaiman is a terrible poet.
posted by ciderwoman at 3:42 AM on March 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


Sometime in the recent past, a subset of FPP's seem dedicated to tracking everything Gaiman does. I vote we create another subsite, MetaGaiman, for this purpose, if only so we don't have have 19 posts this year on the blue about one person, like last year.
posted by efalk at 3:51 AM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Olive de Bernaise? I'm hungry now. What?
posted by Goofyy at 4:02 AM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey you guys, did you know that many heterosexual people find other things more interesting to talk about than sex?
posted by LogicalDash at 4:13 AM on March 19, 2012


The Whelk:

No. No he is not.

Seconded. He's definitely not gay.

He is, however, and in the older sense of the term, quite happily queer.
posted by jscalzi at 4:24 AM on March 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Gaiman's poetry is sort of fascinatingly awful. Unless you've paid for a collection of his stories and found a chunk of it in there, padding out the volume. Then it's just horrifying awful.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:42 AM on March 19, 2012


I can't for the life of me figure out how Neil Gaiman, someone who I respect greatly, thought it would be a good idea to write a poem whose message is: Stay clothed, women, because your bodies will always disappoint me.

I'm honestly shocked.
posted by Kattullus at 4:51 AM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Neil Gaiman is just the worst. Terrible writer, though I like Coraline for its creepiness. But what kind of man writes a poem about how disappointing the naked bodies of the women he's slept with are? An asshole in nerd's clothing.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:52 AM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


And honestly, it's not just that he wrote and published an asshole poem, it's that he (I presume) kind of thinks the things he says in it. I just can't respect a mind that would prefer "
craving petals, tentacles and stars" to actual vaginas.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:56 AM on March 19, 2012


I can't help but feel that the real difference between the two poems is that Neil Gaiman has no clue how a line break functions.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:06 AM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Interval with Erato by Scott Cairns

That's what I like best about you, Erato sighed in bed, that's why
you've become one of my favorites and why you will always be so.
I grazed her ear with my tongue, held the salty lobe between my lips.

I feel like singing when you do that, she said with more than a hint
of music already in her voice. So sing, I said, and moved down
to the tenderness at the edge of her jaw. Hmmm, she said, that's nice.

Is there anything you don't like? I asked, genuinely meaning
to please. I don't like poets in a hurry, she said, shifting
so my lips might achieve the more dangerous divot of her throat.

Ohhhh, she said, as I pressed a little harder there. She held my face
in both hands. And I hate when they get careless, especially
when employing second-person address. She sat up, and my mouth

fell to the tip of one breast. Yes, she said, you know how it can be -
they're writing "you did this" and "you did that" and I always assume,
at first, that they mean me! She slid one finger into my mouth to tease

the nipple there. I mean it's disappointing enough to observe
the lyric is addressed to someone else, and then, the poet spends
half the poem spouting information that the you - if she or he

were listening - would have known already, ostensibly as well as,
or better than, the speaker. I stopped to meet her eyes. I know just
what you mean, I said. She leaned down to take a turn, working my chest

with her mouth and hands, then sat back in open invitation.
Darling, she said as I returned to the underside of her breast,
have you noticed how many poets talk to themselves, about themselves?

I drew one finger down the middle of her back. Maybe they fear
no one else will hear or care. I sucked her belly, cupped her sopping
vulva with my hand. My that's delicious, she said, lifting into me.

Are all poets these days so lonely? She wove her fingers with mine
so we could caress her there together. Not me, I said, and ran
my slick hands back up to her breasts. I tongued her thighs. I said, I'm not

lonely now. She rubbed my neck, No, dear, and you shouldn't be. She clenched, Oh!
a little early bonus, she said; I like surprises. Then, so
few poets appreciate surprises, so many prefer to speak

only what they, clearly, already know, or think they know. If I
were a poet. . . well, I wouldn't be one at all if I hadn't
found a way to get a little something for myself - something new

from every outing, no? Me neither, I said, if somewhat indistinctly.
Oh! she said. Yes! she said, and tightened so I felt her pulse against
my lips. She lay quietly for a moment, obviously thinking.

Sweetie, she said, that's what I like best about you - you pay attention,
and you know how to listen when a girl feels like a little song.
Let's see if we can't find a little something now, especially for you.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:15 AM on March 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's the curse of sentience and imagination, isn't it?

Life is not a theory, dearie, it's a practice.
The real reason of reasoning is to distract us
From senseless sensations that would sure surprise us
Were we not so wise to organize the new as old.
Till we repeat what never happened, doing as we're told.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:18 AM on March 19, 2012


I am continually disappointed by Metafilter posts tagged NSFW that have no nudity.
posted by chavenet at 5:26 AM on March 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


I can't for the life of me figure out how Neil Gaiman, someone who I respect greatly, thought it would be a good idea to write a poem whose message is: Stay clothed, women, because your bodies will always disappoint me.

That's obviously not the message he's trying to send, though, and even if it's the most popular reading in this thread, I think it's kind of disingenuous. I think it needs more fleshing out, and it's not the way I would go about it, but "naked bodies as illustration of the tension between imagination and disappointing revelation" is an interesting idea. You're walking along an edge, into which you might fall and accidentally conflate the"disappointment as a result of being able to imagine something better" part with the "naked bodies" part, which seems to have happened here.

/devilsadvocate

Also, West's poem doesn't really work for me either, but I like the idea of writing counter-poems to things you disapprove of so much.
posted by byanyothername at 5:38 AM on March 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hmm, yeah I agree his poem was kind of lame. being disappointed by the 'mystery' of vaginas seems weird. I guess it's kind of hard to imagine what it would be like growing up and becoming a teenager having never seen them, or even pictures.
The funny thing is i feel this way about science and space, and feel the opposite about nudity.

When i was younger, space held mystery, there could be life on other planets, or things we've never seen before, but the more we discover, it's just rocks of different colors. The mystery of space exploration and other sciences have killed any interest i once had in it.
Hmm, I'm not sure you're really looking at it in the right way. For one thing, there's the whole universe outside the galaxy, which is quite strange and mysterious. There are quasars, Galaxies with 'active' black holes pulling in mater and blasting out jets of 200 thousand light light years long The universe actually looks quite different depending on what spectrum you look at it at, so for example here is what it looks like edge on from earth in the visible spectrum, but this is what it looks like looking only at the spectrum band emitted by hot hydrogen.

Anyway, I'm not really sure what you mean by 'rocks of different colors'. We've been discovering new planets at an insanely fast rate over the past few years, 1 was discovered in 1989, 3 in 1992, 1 in 1995, then 19 in 200, 29 in 2002, 60 in 2007, 109 in 2010 and so on. And those are just the fully confirmed ones. By the end of 2011 NASA's Kepler mission had discovered 2,326 planet candidates. And it can only 'see' planets that are orbiting their stars edge on and slightly block out their light. The estimate now is that there might be about 100 billion planets in the galaxy.

Anyway, what we've seen of stuff in the universe is hardly anywhere near complete.
posted by delmoi at 5:46 AM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh my God, it's full of genitals.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:56 AM on March 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


There once was a woman from...an island off Massachusetts
Who's outlandish body parts, she put to various uses
her snake head nipples hidden
until some fun was bidden
Jesus Christ, I should have listened to my muses
posted by 445supermag at 6:08 AM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Someone should send him a link to the post about how much of the clitoris is internal if he thinks the human body isn't still full of mysteries.
posted by rtha at 6:31 AM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


When i was younger, space held mystery, there could be life on other planets, or things we've never seen before, but the more we discover, it's just rocks of different colors.

Current estimates suggest that everything humans have ever known or observed makes up less than 5% of the universe. 5%! The other 95% is ... well, no one knows. De gustibus, of course, but if that isn't mysterious, I don't know what could be mysterious.

the nipples might be eyes

We've been here before.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:45 AM on March 19, 2012


On Nudity by me

Titties, titties, titties.
Look! Titties.
Titties titties titties titties titties titties titties.
Did I mention
titties?
Because I really
really
really
really
like
them
a lot.
posted by mightygodking at 6:57 AM on March 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


I have never paid much attention to Neil Gaiman other than Good Omens and a few issues of Sandman but this is some seriously embarrassing shit for a grown man to have shown to people! And he had a collaborator??
posted by SharkParty at 7:28 AM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


But what kind of man writes a poem about how disappointing the naked bodies of the women he's slept with are?

Well, I guess that win's the prize for the most tendentious misreading of the poem in the thread thus far. Will a new challenger arise?
posted by yoink at 7:29 AM on March 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


I don't think he is disappointed in a "eww gross" kind of way, but a "damn, why everybody gotta look the same" kind of way. Like some people should have leopard spots or stripes or something. I think he would say the same of men.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:48 AM on March 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't think he is disappointed in a "eww gross" kind of way, but a "damn, why everybody gotta look the same" kind of way. Like some people should have leopard spots or stripes or something. I think he would say the same of men.

That was my reading of it too, and fwiw, I thought the response was a good one.
posted by ob at 7:59 AM on March 19, 2012


"Well, I guess that win's the prize for the most tendentious misreading of the poem in the thread thus far. Will a new challenger arise?"

Ooo, I'll try!

"... I wonder what she keeps hidden, down there, beneath that cloth
 ..."

I find it astonishing and sad that Neil Gaiman, a twice-married man with three children, has written a poem admitting that he still does not know what a vagina looks like.
posted by kyrademon at 7:59 AM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love, love, love Katie West's response poem. It is way better than Gaiman's piece.
posted by asnider at 8:00 AM on March 19, 2012


Naked, too, what you've got is largely predetermined. Okay, you can diet, or eat a lot. You can work out, or not. You can do some creative hair removal if you care to, or get plastic surgery. But tattoos and piercings--which doesn't really alter much how things are in terms of the shape of them--aside, your body isn't your choice. What you put on it represents self-expression. Given both what he's done with his life and who he's with, I don't find it at all surprising that he would see more appeal there.
posted by gracedissolved at 8:04 AM on March 19, 2012


this is some seriously embarrassing shit for a grown man to have shown to people!

The trouble with nudity!
posted by chavenet at 8:38 AM on March 19, 2012


I find it astonishing and sad that Neil Gaiman, a twice-married man with three children, has written a poem admitting that he still does not know what a vagina looks like.

A noble effort!
posted by yoink at 8:42 AM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Feh on all you jaded, stick in the mud, boring people. That guy's inner child and his inner demons are one and the same and he makes a living showing them to people.

And I don't think anyone married to Amanda Palmer could possibly be innocent and ignorant.

The dud is mostly right, a tease is always hotter than outright "look at me I'm naked!" He's just adding to that his typical attitude that anything hidden could be full of monsters and wonder.
posted by Foosnark at 9:13 AM on March 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dude, not dud. Smartphone not so smart.
posted by Foosnark at 9:13 AM on March 19, 2012


"But what kind of man writes a poem about how disappointing the naked bodies of the women he's slept with are?"

Well, I guess that win's the prize for the most tendentious misreading of the poem in the thread thus far. Will a new challenger arise?


That's what the poem says. It doesn't really matter what the special snowflake reasons for the poet's disappointment are. I would almost prefer an "eww gross" lament about stretchmarks and sagging breasts to Gaiman's humblebragging about his fascinating preference for clothed women (whoa) and his burdensomely prodigious sexual imagination, while cluelessly perpetuating the exhausting cliché that women are or should be mysteries, miracles, magical creatures - anything but mere human people, like the men who want to fuck them. The majority of the poem just makes him a man with the outlook of a 15-year-old boy, but the way he ends it:

always looking just

a little bit more awkward and less interesting
than when she wore clothes.



makes him an asshole.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 9:16 AM on March 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


Tycho in Penny Arcade already did this much better than Gaiman.

Boobs indeed. A universe of possibilities and you're fixated on the local flavor.

Let me paint you a picture: Imagine a Chik'thar hive maiden scuttling out of her mottled carapace. Her inviting, translucent thorax heaving with ripe larvae. She retracts her guard plates, where forty alien breasts bristle with nipples.

posted by straight at 9:31 AM on March 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think it needs more fleshing out,...

Rimshot!
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:37 AM on March 19, 2012


Well when you put it like that.

Really though, in my mind goths, or whatever the hell Gaiman is, seem to epitomize a sort of ideal that your outward appearance should match your internal state. If you think of clothes not as a covering, or a means to hide, but an adornment, a way to express yourself it takes on a different meaning. Far from being about nudity this is about how we use clothes to appear as we want to be seen. We use clothes to differentiate ourselves. I think he thinks what we say about ourselves with adornments is sometimes more interesting than the naked truth.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:37 AM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Katie West is a talentless, self-aggrandizing hack.
That being said she did a fine job of showing why neither of them should be writing poetry.
posted by mikoroshi at 10:15 AM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


goths, or whatever the hell Gaiman is

Regardless of the cultural associations of his writing, Gaiman's never claimed to be a goth. He was in a high school punk band for about five minutes in 1977, though.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:21 AM on March 19, 2012


Katie West is a talentless, self-aggrandizing hack.

What? At the very least she understands enjambment, which is more than I can say more most people who go about writing poetry online.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:22 AM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I believe it was the esteemed and dearly departed Lux Interior who said it best:

Whoa, there's some things, baby, I just can't swallow
Mama told me that girls are hollow

What's inside a girl?
Somethin' tellin' me there's a whole another world

You gotta pointy bra, a ten inch waist
Long black stockings all over the place
Boots, buckles, belts outside
Whatcha got in there you tryin' to hide?

What's inside a girl?
Ain't no hotter question in a so-called civilized world
posted by Sailormom at 10:43 AM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Too precious by half man disappointed by prosaic beauty, unable to move past fantasy into appreciative observation. Film at 11.
posted by klangklangston at 10:50 AM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or, Gaiman has learned to find more interesting those aspects a woman can control (her choice of clothing and affect) over those her genetics directly determined? Moving past the raw biological thrill experienced as a boy unto a deeper appreciation of the woman as a whole?
posted by MangyCarface at 10:54 AM on March 19, 2012


I can't for the life of me see why you all are willfully ignoring the fact that the man says, "The reality of nakedness
/makes me mutter Jesus Christ with delight and awe as well, of course." That doesn't sound like disappointment or immaturity to me. Maybe it sounds like confusion, or ambivalence. Most of us have been confused before. Maybe even ambivalent.

Except those of us in the rarefied realm of metafilter, of course.

I'm not saying that the poem's all that great; I don't think it is. (A "revelation," for example, is by definition anything but "prosaic.") But it's not the spawn of Satan either.
posted by blucevalo at 10:59 AM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


To one with Neil Gaiman's imagination, reality is probably disappointing most of the time.
posted by tempestuoso at 11:11 AM on March 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


There is also another aspect to this. It can be seen as a commentary on the depiction of women in comics and their often ridiculous state of undress.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:21 AM on March 19, 2012


Too precious by half man

Right. This is my new superhero name.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:22 AM on March 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


At first I was surprised Kanye West would have written something like that.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:27 AM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


The comparison the poet spends the vast majority of the poem making is not between naked female bodies and clothed female bodies, but with naked female bodies and imagined naked female bodies. It's not about his deeper appreciation of women; on the contrary, it's about his difficulty in coming to terms with what women actually are. And this kind of talk is so embedded in our culture that we don't even register how ridiculous it is. It's normal and not at all silly for men to have this mystical view of women, even though we're everywhere and they could just open their eyes and look about them. If I wrote a poem like, oh, I'm continually disappointed when men take off their clothes and instead of a marvelous arm of dark translucent magic radiating blue waves of silent moon music it's just a (line break) penis, how awkward and boring, people would think something was wrong with me. Because why would anyone expect a man's body to be so much wildly more than what it is, or want it to be, for that matter? Seriously, Shakespeare was making fun of male poets' insane ideas about female beauty 400 years ago. How is this still going on? It's not cool to be looked at this way.

To one with Neil Gaiman's imagination, reality is probably disappointing most of the time.

I think this exactly what Neil Gaiman is trying to say.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 12:07 PM on March 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


[A couple comments removed. If you want to have a community discussion about topic saturation or something, go over to Metatalk and start one properly; do not beef about it in a thread itself.]
posted by cortex at 12:08 PM on March 19, 2012


a marvelous arm of dark translucent magic radiating blue waves of silent moon music

I wish I had one of those. Stupid penis.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:34 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regardless of the cultural associations of his writing, Gaiman's never claimed to be a goth. He was in a high school punk band for about five minutes in 1977, though.
Strange Interlude

Pale, thin mopey dude who wears black all the time and writes bad poetry and stories about dreams and magic? Claimed or not, he's Gothy Goth, at least back in his Sandman heyday.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:45 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, now thinking back on his work I am wondering what is up with the guy. He does have one character, Despair, that always appears nude. I guess the implication is that she just can't be bothered to put on clothes. It is a bit odd to make that association though. Dude is probably a nevernude.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:59 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


he's Gothy Goth

Dude is probably a nevernude.


His cutoffs are made from black denim?
posted by asnider at 1:31 PM on March 19, 2012


Regardless of the cultural associations of his writing, Gaiman's never claimed to be a goth.

Doesn't every artist associated with goth stuff disavow being a goth? It's practically a requirement. Understandable, mind you, because nobody wants to be pigeonholed, but still.
posted by furiousthought at 1:37 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


two or three cars..., that's exactly what I thought. I don't really care about Gaiman (poetry this bad is just embarrassing), but dudes are already weird about vaginas, can we not talk about how we wish they were starbursts and spice and everything nice?

Plus whenever in my younger days of poetry-writing I wrote a poem about a guy I was dating, he's gotten hugely uncomfortable and accused me of idealizing him, or not seeing him as a person. Welcome to not being the perpetual subject!
posted by stoneandstar at 2:48 PM on March 19, 2012


It ain't that complicated. Sometimes a cigar is just a smoke.

All you have to know is that it ain't what it is, it's what it means to a 3 lb hunk of meat, bathed in blood, trapped inside a hole in a bone, fed electrochemical analogies by a set of receptive tools that don't even come close to sampling anything that resembles reality. You'd be lucky if all you grew in there were mushrooms, and you worry about enjambment?--okay, okay, I don't mean you, personally. Just you in the general, hypothetical sense of the, um, word.

I got sunshine, on a cloudy day. Try to live with it.
posted by mule98J at 3:11 PM on March 19, 2012


Eh, I could say much the same for dudes's bodies at times.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:37 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are spangles on my Islets of Langerhans.

And a copy of Neil Gaiman's paperback biography of Wham! tucked behind my thyroid. Just to keep him out.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:06 PM on March 19, 2012


I thought the poem was more about how the promise or the hint of something is always more attractive than the thing itself. How mystery is infinitely more attractive than reality. Why a Gil Elvgren Pinup or Burlesque is more intriguing and titillating than a Playboy spread.

Which is why I didn't like the response poem as much. Felt like she missed the point. As did everyone in here calling him an asshole. Ease up peeps. Take that shit to /r/shitredditsays.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 7:10 PM on March 19, 2012


...how the promise or the hint of something is always more attractive than the thing itself...

Perhaps some of us don't share Mr. Gaiman's disappointment in the reality.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:22 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gaiman's poem reminded me of wistful teenage lust, where getting naked was akin to finding nirvana for a few minutes.

Weston's poem - well, that is just hot.
posted by SakuraK at 11:02 PM on March 19, 2012


It is strange to look at the outcome of the "collaboration" though - Gaiman's words juxtaposed with a highly processed picture of a juvenile strategically-clothed woman. He doesn't seem the ironic type, and the literal reading is a bit creepy.
posted by SakuraK at 11:07 PM on March 19, 2012


octobersurprise: "Too precious by half man

Right. This is my new superhero name.
"

Only if you're half biscuit too.
posted by arcticseal at 12:26 AM on March 20, 2012


Why a Gil Elvgren Pinup or Burlesque is more intriguing and titillating than a Playboy spread.

Not a shared sexual experience, even among the female liking side of things. There's people who can talk, at length about how a close up of a vulva is the ultimate tease- all those folds, those curls and the delicate pink concealing her... something goddess something hidden... something...core.

I think there's not enough of the author here to make a judgment call on his moral worth as a human being, but I can say that the tendency to make your taste in a particular sort of women that is hypothetically less repressive still has a strong danger of wandering into boner report territory. Sort of like the "well, I'm an enlightened man; I don't like women who wear makeup!" runs afoul of the many reasons why people wear makeup and makes negative judgment calls on the ones that do.

There is danger in making your sexual attractions and aesthetic choices a source of social and ethical value in comparison to others, the least of which is smugness over what is generally just as much out of your control as the aforementioned bone structure and pimply wibbly skin and bones that make up your looks.
posted by Phalene at 7:09 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The gap between imagination and reality is perfect subject matter for poetry. Too bad Gaiman+De Berandinis on the one hand and West on the other can't, you know, write poetry.
posted by jcrcarter at 7:10 AM on March 20, 2012


WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP SAYING THAT WEST CAN'T WRITE POETRY

YOU ARE WRONG PEOPLE.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:25 AM on March 20, 2012


WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP SAYING THAT WEST CAN'T WRITE POETRY

Because if the poem isn't absolutely perfect (which it most definitely isn't) then it clearly isn't poetry.

I am continually amazed by the ridiculously high standards that some people place on what is and is not poetry, especially when they have no background in it.

Just because you think a poem is shitty doesn't mean that it's not a poem, people!
posted by asnider at 9:37 AM on March 20, 2012


"Can't write poetry" =/= "Can't write in the form of a poem"

I think they are just expressing an opinion about the writer's skill, or perhaps about their subjective appreciation of the product.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:57 PM on March 20, 2012


You people are funny.

This is like reading Youtube comments. Slightly higher reading level and more paragraphs, granted, but just as predictable. :)
posted by mvuijlst at 3:29 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


This article reminds me that one of these days I need to do some art that indulges the part of me that always wanted to be Olivia when I grew up.
posted by egypturnash at 12:15 AM on March 22, 2012


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