After F.R. Barton
While the social structures of pleasure
are conceptual, a privileged few innately
sense a fancy for nostalgic lust. A photographer
must travel to the unwashed of the world’s edge
to collect images of nubile girls tattooed
above the flexure of the iris down the collar
to the inguinal cusp. But perhaps this is
an acceptable First World compromise.
No one wants naked innocence in his backyard
for the neighbors to see, incomprehensible
discernment of foreign facial vocabulary
that cannot be interpreted with Occidental eyes.
Neither joy nor affection is a bother to ones
who watch from the obscure circumstance
of distance; dead girls & live boys do little
to rouse revulsion.
After his death,
an artistic rival spread a rumor: every Wednesday
he paid a Tamili woman, London born, £12
an hour to say the word paprika without her
night shirt while he touched himself
behind a silk curtain. His ledger confirmed
the charge as “Spice Trade.” At the time,
there were no words in her language for
pornography. Only words about exorcising
tenderness, where—in the revelation
of another’s poverties—nascent suspicion
guaranteed the ingredients of fantasy.
Dave Harrity’s writing has appeared in Verse Daily, Forklift, Ohio, Copper Nickel, Palimpsest, Memorious, The Los Angeles Review, Softblow and elsewhere. His most recent book is Our Father in the Year of the Wolf (Word Farm, 2016). He is a recipient of an Emerging Artist Award and an Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council.