SCROTUM NEAT AND TIDY by Marc Olmsted

And so began, at least for me, the first real public event of the piercing phenomena – now performance art 1989 – video cameras providing close-ups of this guy driving nails into the skin of his balls, the pain lashing through him like a visible hot flash of kundalini.  Later I learned I was seeing the piercing hero Bo Flagellant.

I looked around me at the packed house, another venture of hipster Curtains who had a real touch for trendy pulse, publicizing his new coffee table dick-piercing book – Skin of the Living. At the entrance, a big b&w nude photo of the ubiquitous Revelation T. Orment w/ wife  – both had enough rings through them to carry them home.

Interesting to watch men who tried to look butch as the guy continued to fuck with his own flesh, knitting up his scrotum neat and tidy – a hot dog bun waiting for mustard some of the guys looked like they were going to pass out or throw up, looking away from the TV screens but with Eastwood-like practiced indifference, though their eyes revealed the repressed nausea and fear, and catching my glance they tried to tough it out and bravely reassess the video monitors.  But I also noticed that some eyes – men’s and women’s – glistened with a lust as if their own endorphins were responding in empathetic pleasure-pain – and I wondered if these were the same eyes of the Roman Coliseum.


Marc Olmsted has appeared in City Lights Journal, New Directions in Prose & Poetry, New York Quarterly, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry and a variety of small presses. He is the author of four collections of poetry, including What Use Am I a Hungry Ghost?, which has an introduction by Allen Ginsberg with praise from Michael McClure and Diane di Prima. Olmsted’s 25 year relationship with Ginsberg is chronicled in his Beatdom Books memoir Don’t Hesitate: Knowing Allen Ginsberg 1972-1997 – Letters and RecollectionsFind more of his work here.

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