(Note: I wrote this newsletter before protests broke out in America and so none of it will mention that. Also, I have no plans to write on it. When things like this happen, every blogger, freelancer, etc starts writing frantically to find some viral angle, often with little care except to ride the exposure train on a trending topic. I tend to write with humor and there is nothing remotely witty to say about the tragedies that are unfolding. Maybe someday I will try to turn my attention to writing seriously about my concerns over Donald Trump and the state of America. Unfortunately, every time I go down that rabbit hole it just makes me want to cry—not a sadness cry or a loss cry, but cry like a confused and helpless child.)
In other terrible news, my hair is long enough to put into a man-bun—and worse: according to people, it doesn’t look bad. But, I’ll never know because I can’t face myself in the mirror when it is up.
On to the newsletter!
I’ve started a number of pieces over the past two weeks about coronavirus but haven’t been able to finish them—like trying to masturbate through a nature documentary on syphilitic giraffes.
Still, I try. I put on mood music, invite the blank page onto my screen, woo it a bit with empty words and then sit there with ten impotent little penis fingers just slapping against the keyboard—somehow only managing to type:
WE’RE FUCKED! WE’RE FUCKED! WE’RE FUCKED! WE’RE FUCKED!
over and over.
In the end, I wrote a follow-up piece to my Elemental article: ‘I’d Rather Be Here’ - An Expat Perspective from South Korea. This one is called: Life Feels Safe in South Korea Right Now also published in Elemental. It focuses on the steps Korea is taking toward a new normal:
“Watching from abroad as Covid-19 eats its way across America feels like sitting through a poorly written dark comedy. Except, I am not witnessing an actor play the role of an egomaniacal leader who bumbles his way through mismanaging a made-up virus as thousands of nameless fake citizens of a fake country die. Instead, from South Korea, I am on the phone with my brother, quarantined in NYC; my grandmother who can’t see anyone because this virus could kill her; and my nurse friend who tells me his new responsibilities include holding up an iPad so family members can say goodbye to their loved ones from a safe distance, before they die.”
If you’d like to read the whole article, you can find it here.
So, to cope with my new hairstyle and America’s rapid descent into a beehive of fear, racism, ignorance, and hate, I made an artificially intelligent robot write me sex poems (because why the fuck not). It was published in P.S. I Love You earlier this month along with another humor essay of mine called: My Lil Dicky Problem.
And, as part of my on-going war with self-help writers, I have a new humor piece in Slackjaw: 10 Signs Your Favorite Self-Help Writer Is Gaslighting You
On to the essay!
I Made An A.I. Write Me Sex Poems!
It was hard for me to find a home for this essay since it is a whole bunch of topics rolled into one. So, after a number of initial rejections, I prompted the AI with: “where to publish sex poetry,” and it said:
The delicious smell of you, tasting like cum
The hot-fucking shit
And the back of your dick, erect, virgin dick, unable to get a blow job
The long hard strokes
Wet, sticky piss
Turning with me
Knowing I was going to shoot you
The kind of morning I always imagined that I'd have
Willing you to do whatever I wanted you to, my cock-worshiping bitch
The image of you, my wanker worshipper
With all of you naked under the light, drooling all over me
Me-me-me, the kinds of morning dreams I sometimes hear you from
Nah, I’m kidding, I just typed: “Butt sex”
But you can see this machine has talent, right? I mean … wanker worshipper? Sold. Take me the fuck to church.
All of the poems in this essay were unedited by me—copy-pasted from the poems the AI wrote me based on my prompts. The only one that had to be changed for publishing in PSILY was the erotica the AI wrote me which was a bit too racy for them but has been returned to its former glory below.
Anyway, here is the essay along with a fucking stunning piece of art by Nikita Klimov to pair with it:
One of my tech-savvy friends recently directed me to a website called TalkToTransoformer. It is a project by Adam Daniel King, using Elon Musk’s open-source AI text generator, which creates a coherent text one word at a time based on the user’s prompt. So, I did what any reasonable human would do: I stayed up until four in the morning trying to get it to write me sex poems.
It wasn’t my original intent, but once an AI writes you one sex poem, you’re not just going to stop there. I started with simple statements like ‘Sex is a Game’ and it spat out an answer that wasn’t all that crazy from what I’d expect from AI:
Welcome to Burning Ascent. Here at Burning Ascent, we have the rarest of requirements for our consumable BDSM games: there’s two players in the game at any given time. No, the BDSM makes no sense, and you are here for the awkwardness. Please bear with us while we get over our own nervousness.
“Burning Ascent” is not a real game. I checked. A “consumable BDSM game” is also not a real thing, but I imagine it would involve a lot of fruit roll-ups. I had a little laugh and might have stopped there, but the word “Burning” gave me an idea. I typed: Sex is Passion, and that’s when things started to get a bit weird.
Sex is passion
like water and fire
free, free, free
call the law
out of their cages
you’re not hearing any drums
make some noise, man
just like that
Now, this was not even close to its best work of the night, but it showed me that this AI was capable of poetry. Once I knew that, I was done for. I tried Sex is Passion once more and got an entirely different and much more NSFW result:
Of course, I knew what I was getting into the moment she took my cock in her mouth, and I may not be the average boy, but she was certainly pretty hot. And she was more than willing to share that hotness for my pleasure. For me to suck on the head of this pretty little clit, and to take that high of a pitch I wanted to hear the crowd’s reactions, was beyond a one-time-only reward for getting laid tonight.
A few minutes later, I was satisfied and on the edge of cumming as I stood there with my arms out to catch Jess’s head of hair as she stood there with my cock still deep inside her mouth.
Not to be left out
Yes, in case you were wondering, that was some AI erotica.
But, it wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted more poetry. So, obviously, I went with: Sex is God:
Sex is God
I’m just a boy
I’ve never experienced pain
I won’t be your baby sitter
I’ll make you a Mother
I will sit on your belly
I will play with you until you’re bled
You will feel love
Your body will burn with pleasure
You’ll feel pain, you’ll feel in shock
Don’t hold back baby
No, I did not edit that at all. Yes, it gave it to me in stanzas.
Now, I studied creative writing in college. I’ve been to open mic nights. This poem right here beats 75% of the poetry I’ve heard. I was stunned.
I took a moment to grab a sticky-note and write down as many things as I could think of that I could plug into Sex is ______. There were a few misses that, while not poetry, turned out to be absolute fucking gems, like:
Sex is vulnerability
Just like in a verbal argument between lovers, in sex the partner is ‘putting on the other person’ to show their power and vulnerability, something that can be quite intimidating. Although sexual arousal will always be different from a natural biological arousal, in the same way, in a new sexual encounter, there will always be vulnerability and arousal. In addition, the interpersonal dimension means the acceptance, recognition, and desire to be supported in vulnerability.
That vulnerability then needs to be understood and considered within a sexual relation as a real possibility and does not negate the deep importance of being truly intimate with each other. Being vulnerable is for the same reason a date, football match, nightclub, a kiss, an erotic sleep together etc. is for
I mean, “sex is putting on the other person to show their power and vulnerability, something that can be quite intimidating.” Where the fuck was this insightful robot when my gym teacher was telling us about boners?
At this point, I admit, I called my brother and told him what I found. And, of course, he started to help me come up with different Sex is _______ words, and then I’d type them in and read him the poems. We soon found a combination that nearly always gave us a poem:
Sex is love
Love it or leave it
My Prince Charming has a booty too
In either case my heart is full of feelings
As it’s decorated, wear it or send it to the cleaners
Wear it, send it to the cleaners
Wear it, send it to the cleaners
Dress it, give it a warm hug
As it finds love in the mix
I’m wearing the best about me
As I walk to class wearing the best about me
I don’t care if someone turns away
I don’t care what’s on the television
I’m wearing the best about me
The great ones they wear the best about them
And, after we managed to stop laughing — I mean, who says booty these days? You can’t write this stuff! No, really, you can’t. A fucking robot beat you to it. — we tried again:
Sex is love 2
Break up is like cancer
It’s like an alien invasion
Cancer’s like disease
And kiss me before it’s too late
I’ll be your little terrorist
You’re under my control
I’ll be your pretty hole
You’re open for me, baby
You can’t hide your abuse
’Cause I’ve always seen you
You can’t hide your abuse
’Cause I’ve always seen you
“Break up is like cancer. It’s like an alien invasion.” Really? If I didn’t know better I would have thought we’d picked up an Alexa eavesdropping on some broken-hearted teenager.
“Have you tried sex is beautiful?” my brother asked.
I had not:
Sex is beautiful
Yes, the short narrative of sweet flesh that was released to the world three days ago by Kanye West makes us question the reason for nature’s imperative for either men or women to make the first move to be selected in a romcom. But by the time we’re finished questioning if a character can choose her own loving partner, or whether we want to watch the Hulk tear through a fictional city for leather chaps, we’re sure to start questioning the questions that should have been addressed from the beginning: Is kissing really all that bad? (Answer: no, but we’ve already proven it isn’t.) Sex is certainly unique, but it’s not a horror movie. It’s a film.
If that’s not poetry, I don’t know what is. Yet, being sticklers for form, we tried to go a bit more lyrical:
Sex is Beauty
And when I open my mouth, she says she wants to teach me how
The pains of a girl are exactly the same as the sex pains of a boy
When I move my hand, she says she wants to be first
When I hold her hand, she says she wants to kiss me
And my hymen is made of plastic — and the sheets are woven from T-shirts
And I want to push her as hard as I can down into the water
I want to make her scream in delight — and then lay on top of her
But she can’t seem to focus with her eyes closed and her jaw drawn together
So I throw my towel on the ground.
It’s true, I never expected to be reading something like that to my little brother in the middle of the night. But there we were. This foul-mouthed AI love guru had led us into the wee hours of the morning with its outrageously unpredictable insights. It made up people, quoted them, referenced books that don’t exist.
Murdered living writers:
From New York Times bestselling author Brandy Colbert, who died in 2013 (Sex is Sexy)
Made up people:
But after World War II, says Professor Ziv Oren, a specialist in the Israeli author “Ancient Israel,” new attitudes gained ground. “Sex was the main form of commitment,” she said. (Sex is Peace)
Fake quotes from fake authors:
As one of the authors of The Gropenomic Suite says, “When we are with another person it is very easy for our bodies to provoke empathy in each other … By being vulnerable, hurt and showing ourselves in a way that is new, [art is] especially powerful.” (Sex is Healing)
Do NOT, under any circumstances, initiate a “Where are your pants?” or “What’s the matter, buddy?” conversation — (Sex is Desire)
Fear of God:
Those that are a member of the devil put their own selfish needs ahead of the needs of others so they will fail. Those who are concerned with this earthly life are judged by the heavenly standards and God will show you. (Sex is God)
As our collective humanity has descended into an Orwellian dystopia, it’s high time we stopped pretending that, say, male anatomy is more important than female, and stop pretending that a boy being fitted with a boob prosthesis is no more a catastrophe than a girl not getting the prosthesis. (Sex is Human)
And, when my brother finally said, “Good lord, we’ve been at this for three hours,” with 50 pages worth of poetry copied and pasted from TalkToTransformer, it left us with this last little gem:
Sex is Dirty
I will take your virginity
I will lay you down
I will take your clothes off
I will love you to the ends of the earth
And it’s not a matter of me just loving you, it’s my turn.
Let it come to me
Come on baby
And, before my brother got off the phone and I went to bed, he summed up my thoughts exactly:
Poets of the future are fucked.
In other-other news. I’ve been publishing more fiction lately. I have two new fiction stories up:
Nobody Likes a Turkey in Silent Auctions
ORGASM in Muskeg
If you haven’t read my fiction and are curious what it’s like, well—I received this lovely email from a reader the other day that I think pretty much sums it up:
“When I first read some of your work I thought, what a weird little guy - who would read this? But then, I came back and back to it. I remembered ooohhh, I'm a weird little person who was just being judgmental in the moment because I actually want to read this and find it oddly humorous. But anyway, just wanted to say your work is entertaining and thought provoking. Thanks for writing and hope the sun will shine where you are and you'll sit in a field of daisies!”