Acker and the Anus as the Center of the Brain

by on Jun.03, 2011

"Once the rocket exceeds the speed of sound, it outruns the shock wave, which we hear as a sonic boom."

To continue my foray into the erotics of reading and writing, I want to offer the following passage from Kathy Acker’s Rip-off Red, Girl Detective as a porno model for all literary pursuit.  As Acker writes a few paragraphs before this, “let’s cut the crap […] and get down to business”:

I’m too sensitive I can’t stand to have his cock in my cunt against my cunt, I can’t stop coming, I keep moving. Barely so I can feel his desire. We fall to the left; his arm moves under me; his middle finger slips into my ass: that’s the center of my brain! That’s where all my thoughts are located! We swing against each other deep into the freezing then fiery center of the earth around, now it’s working, I want to come to, I want to get mine in I can feel his muscles move beyond his will, tense some then more, we’re still moving in curves only faster, faster and harder; his finger leaves my asshole: rays of light shoot inside me from by ass to my belly button to my clit: the Holy Trinity O it’s coming I don’t give a shit anymore where he’s at or what he’s doing; my clit and my mind are one being light shoots through my body clit to legs! Clit to nape of the neck and outwards! Heat shoots through my body! Sound supersonic fluorescent waves.

I love this passage because everything gets confused in the coital act Acker describes and somehow enters.  Suddenly, as in the lyric of the power bottom, the anus becomes the point of access for creativity:  “That’s where all my thoughts are located!”  The narrator, too, gets fucked by art.  Far from operating through some straightforward autobiographical narrative in which Acker by default = I, the text instead undifferentiates author and character by unraveling itself, or thwarting the conventions of its operation.  Through a viral somatic charge, language conflates writing and fucking so that both acts exceed their purpose and annihilate their agent.  How can we say where the book ends and Acker’s body begins when the latter’s words likewise “keep moving” and “can’t stop coming”?

With the closing sentence “Sound supersonic fluorescent waves,” we even arrive at the pure sensation of the aesthetic object as a bodily effect.  If Acker spells out this effect, she does so to point out the nonrepresentational role of her words:  they don’t so much signify fucking as become sex itself, they don’t so much arrive as continuously leak through the orifice of the colon.  This conclusion to the paragraph confirms how Acker’s body blasts out of the book.  Her literary erotics strike us as ‘supersonic waves’ from which our own pleasure, as readers, was always meant to erupt.

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