When I first read Mona's post giving us this Friday's Challenge word, and the term 'repro" all I could think of was Orwell's 1984, how the four controlling Ministries all had shortened names like Miniluv and Miniplen, and the desire of the government to pare down the language to words so short and meaningless that someone who could speak it well gabbled like a duck.
And then I segued into Blade Runner, thinking that maybe replicants like Roy Batty might father children in their short lifespans, and they'd call the process "Repro."
My first year of high school we were taught Sex Ed by a rather stony-faced Jesuit priest with the misleadlingly amiable name of Father Tom. I know we spent something like six weeks on sex, reproduction, the biology and the physics and all those wonderfully dirty goings on, but I can't remember any of it. Father Tom had a knack for sucking all the life out of any subject but religion, and he managed to take a vital, meaty subject and strip it down to it's absolute bleached bones. All the life, all the sweaty, grunting joy of it had been rendered out like a piece of succulent pork left in a jerkey machine for way too long, leaving only a crisp, inedible bit of rind.
This was also the man who could fire a chalkboard eraser at you with unerring accuracy and uncanny speed, so you dared not giggle, talk, or nod off. I clearly recall him having to send a student out to see the school nurse after nearly giving him a concussion with a foot-long foam board cleaner.
The next year we were taught a whole unit on human sexuality in Biology. Our teacher was a homely, motherly little redhead who never married that we know of, but whose knowledge of human sexuality and the nuances thereof pointed to a very active after-school cirriculum. She warned us boys that if we wanted a snug fit we'd better not engage in too much foreplay, and she warned the girls that most boys would last about as long as it took to unhook a bra so they'd better get theirs fast if they wanted any.
She spoke in such glowing, living terms that I spent most of that unit blushing furiously, hiding an errection, or both. There was a rumour going around that she had in her top center (locked) desk drawer a tiny bottle with a fingernail-sized human fetus in it, a rumour that never got disproved, but it didn't matter to me. With her boundless enthusiasm for the human connection she made me want to reach across the aisle to any available young lady next to me and try to apply all those wonderous things, all those tricks for multi-orgasmic behaviour and longer-lasting encounters.
Unfortunately all my knowledge, both gathered from those classes and from years of reading Redbook, Cosmo and Ladies Home Journal didn't get an outlet other than my strong right hand for a few more years, and any actual repro I was to manage didn't occur until several years into my first marriage, a fact for which I'm obscurely grateful.
As for the upcoming poetic travesty...ever had one of those poems/stories/days/parenting opportunities where the image you hold in your mind for something isn't how the hands produce it? It doesn't usually happen to me when I'm writing, it's much more a function of my painting or sculpting, but this time it slopped over. I've given it the same polish and editing I would give any piece of my work (which is to say 'slapdash') but it's not where I intended to go nor what I intended to write.
I had in my head this morning the image of a doctor with his cold chrome turkey baster and a mouth full of golf, and his nurse, with pale yellow scrubs and warm hands but empty, dead eyes, each working while the woman lies there unhappily, her feet in the stirrups, waiting for reproduction to occur. I was going to juxtapose that sterile, unloving view with the purple prose that DID survive below as the first half of the poem, but you'll soon see that none of the clinical stuff made it.
I also want to state up front that I'm not sure where that cynical second voice came from...it's not me. I had intended, after the change in the poem arrived that the second voice would be dry, geeky and a little clinical, but it turned angry and empty and cold very fast. Not sure WHAT happened with that. I can, however, say this--I feel confident in assuring you that the first voice is me; the second is a cold reflection in a steel instrument.
So, now that I've teased you--
Repro: A Love Poem In Two Acts
My lover crosses the room, eager to lie with me
Her skin is pure, like fresh cream
Freckles across her shoulders and breasts like cinnamon sprinkled on foamed milk
Her eyes flash with desire, with her inner fires
Her belly is a soft, desirable swell
Thighs over mine, promise of heat and slick floating over me
The long, incredible, gasping slide
Friction of body on body, lust in the air and in our hands
My mind is afire with her presence
Clenching, gasping, starlight and moon shine
Lying together, satiated.
She walks over
Oh, she's so white
She ought to have the dermatologist look at those, could be cancerous
She's looking at me like she wants to do it
She's getting kinda thick in the gut
My hip hurts, and her knee is pushing against my leg...augh that hurts
Geeze I hope she doesn't get on the upholstery, it'll stain
Thank god for Astroglide, she's so damned dry
I've really got to plaster that hole there
Come on, think about that porno, the chick with the big fakes
I wish she'd get off me, I want to wash. God I hope it works this time.
It's interesting that I had started this post almost on autopilot--jot down a few quirky, clever memories about my sex ed classes and stick in a fun little bit of prose to poke fun at doctors and I find at the end that I've descended into quite a bit of self-exam at what might have prompted the poem that you see up there, miring me deep in the dirt and the sweat and the grunting.
Thank you Mona, for being the catalyst.