Monday, March 3, 2008

The Flower and the Flame

I often saw the etymology of "pornography" translated as "the writings of prostitutes"; later I found out that it's actually "the writings ABOUT prostitutes." I'll stick with the first option. It pleases me to think of assorted "loose women" scribbling away, like Sei Shonagon in her Pillow Book, over the centuries and countries. Why shouldn't they have quite a bit to say, and say it well?

Having read many, I like "the writings of prostitutes," especially "the Graphic Novels of Prostitutes." (Thanks to Nathaniel Mayweather, fancy lad for the gift of that book; you always could pick em.)

So am I impossibly geeky because I visit a porn star site just to read her blog? Belladonna (NSFW) has such an honest, emotionally up-front voice--such a cocky voice, so to speak.

Another star, Penny Flame, (NSFW) doesn't write much--she paints! She has a MySpace page for her paintings, but they're really not very well displayed there. And she smokes and does yoga. Would I were 20 years younger, and that she had freckles.

In that vein of romantic yearning and nostalgia, I found these great colloquial English translations of the Pillow Book, made by Simon Cozens. Makes Shonagon sound like a blogger. And that's not a bad thing, to me.

The Rain That Swells the Water
One time, I had a boyfriend who would always mail me the day after we had slept together. Once he said that he saw no point in our relationship and didn't have anything left to say to me.

The next day came, and there was nothing from him. I was pretty fed up when the dawn came with no next-morning mail. "Well," I thought as the day wore on, "I guess he actually meant it."

The day after that it rained really hard. Dawn came, noon came, and still no word; he'd forgotten all about me. Then I was sitting outside on the veranda in the evening, and a boy came up with an umbrella in one hand and a letter in the other. I tore open the letter, and the message was: "The rain that swells the water."

I thought this was more beautiful than a whole pile of poems.

Art: Sei Shonagon by Kikuchi Yosai; public domain.

1 comment:

mark said...

It's porn, dear, not pron. The latter was Diney live-action movie about living in a video game.