“JOGS”—A Poetic “Joy of Gay Sex”

jogs

Ojeda-Sague, Gabriel. “Jogs”, Lulu 2013.

A Poetic “Joy of Gay Sex”

Amos Lassen

What I love about poetry is that there are no limits—a poet can write about whatever he/she wants but I really never thought I would see a collection of poems based on the self-help manual, “The Joy of Gay Sex”. What is surprising is that it is so well done and by a poet I have never heard of before. In 1997 Charles Silverstein and Felice Picano released their study on gay sex. Now Gabriel Ojeda-Sague has another and different look at the manual and converted it into poetry kept the original chapter titles as the names of his poems. This is not so much a re-writing of the original—rather it is a re-cycling with each poem taking “its controlled vocabulary from one section of this book, rearranging and eliminating words, though retaining the original title of its source section”. I doubt that many of us have ever read poems with titles like “Rimming”, “Venereal and Other Diseases”, “Tearooms and Backrooms” so you are in for a real treat. For me the originality is what makes this collection of poems such a fun read—the important word here being “fun”. I say fun because so many associate reading poetry with a certain degree of difficult while others look at reading poetry as an intellectual exercise. That is not the case here as the poet tells us to sit, read and enjoy.

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague tells us that he  “wanted to take apart that classic book and see what he could find inside of it, take an instruction manual on the lives of gay men and see what was hidden or what could be reformed from it”. When he contacted me about reviewing his book he said that he hoped I would enjoy it and as I read I realized that he had no reason to hope because so the collection is so enjoyable. I would love that everyone else enjoys this as much as I did. I urge you to get a copy. Let me leave you with a sample from the poem entitled “Smells”:

“a body of smells

in crotches and the highest fascination

irrational hold of all products

the very horror of the human body

may conceal a sexual fascination

so much hygiene to curb without repelled”

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