Tag Archives: Penning the Nasty / Creed

“Penning the Nasty / Creed” – Non-fiction by Lora Rivera

The Broken Column - Frida Kahlo, 1944
The Broken Column – Frida Kahlo, 1944

From our Summer 2016 issue“Penning the Nasty / Creed” is Lora Rivera‘s fascinating non-fiction exploration of sexuality, spirituality, pain, and the therapeutic power of writing. 

{ X }

I AM ON MY KNEES at the table’s end, pen poised over fresh notebook paper. On the first floor below, the air is a warm muddle of voices in amiable chatter. A woman’s jazz alto sashays alongside the human hubbub and the mechanical din of barware clink and clatter, and at the door feet clomp in from the cold to shuffle up to the bar beneath the loft where we are learning to write about sex.

It is a seven-week course and I am reliving seven years of married sex I can only barely remember. Let me tell you what that feels like—to relive something you’ve dissociated from: Step one. Put your finger up to your eye. Hopefully you have a nice long fingernail there. Do you? Good. Don’t blink. Now, touch your eye with your fingernail. Push hard.

I expect you did not follow my instructions. Now on to step two. You must relive that moment of pushing in with your fingernail until you feel the convex mucus lining of your eye give way. Do this now. Relive clapping your hand over your face. Hear it, how you cried out. Feel again the sharp spurt of pain. Relive it, goddammit. Feel it. Why won’t you? Why can’t you?

We are in the middle of a silent exercise, the seven of us, instructor and five students and me: a circle of scratching pens around the long table where our beers sweat on paper coasters. Write about a list of wounds. What does it mean to be disassembled by love? By sex? I have put nothing on my page.

I leave the night class boozy, with a mouth yeasty sweet from two scotch ales and a desperate cup of pretzels. I sob hard on the way home. The welcome green lights blur.

That night, I dream of an old woman undressing. She removes each article of clothing until she’s naked, and then goes on to remove the modesty from her body that had clothed her; the fear, too; and the telltale signs of other people’s cultures and words. She is sexual and wild. And then I dream again of the red, muscly thing inside me, and of vomiting it up and pulling it out of my stomach from my mouth, length upon length of it dropping in wet, loose coils to the floor.

Continue reading “Penning the Nasty / Creed” – Non-fiction by Lora Rivera