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ISBN 978-1-61390-123-6 (ebook)
ISBN 978-1-61390-119-9 (paperback)
Strip away everything external, and the act of writing becomes profoundly physical: writer, writing tool, medium. In this anthology of erotic stories, THE FLESH MADE WORD, editor Bernie Mojzes shows that from that seed grows the deepest intimacy — the hidden self expressed upon a surface, transforming it in the process, naming erotic possibilities.
The tap of typewriter keys on ink-wet ribbons, the tickle of the calligrapher’s brush, the press of fountain-pen nib to flesh. The scent of hot metal molded into text and the shuffle-clank of the printing press. Give yourself over to the sensuality of the words themselves, to the sound and the shape and the taste of them. The expression of ideas intersects with the body in all its physicality; pleasure is never distinct from how we express it.
Ten writers explore the seduction of written language from the sensual to the lewd, from a mysterious woman whose lovers write their stories upon her skin to a playwright who declares to his rival that he does his best writing in whorehouses. A broken typewriter awakens the searing ghosts of desire, and a woman becomes a living scroll of prophecy. Permanent or ephemeral, the lines etched in flesh reveal an astonishing vulnerability, offering both the opportunity for profound insight, and an instinct to hide and dissemble.
The Flesh Made Word features stories by A.C. Wise, A.B. Eyers, Andrea Zanin, Benji Bright, Trish DeVene, Nadine Wilmot, Delilah Bell, Kannan Feng, Sasha Payne, and Sunny Moraine, who show that while the word may indeed transcend the flesh for a time, it always comes back for more.
Hot excerpt, keep reading!
Excerpt from “All the Spaces In-Between”
by A. C. Wise
Leon tested each key, pressing just hard enough to make sure each type bar rose and fell as it should. He ignored the echoes of fingertips on the keys. Thoughts like that were for the young, for the spry. For those without broken hearts.
“Ah!” He spotted the problem as he peered into the inner workings.
The ribbon had snagged, bunched against the spool meant to gather up the used band of ink-soaked cloth. Leon touched the taut fabric. A shiver ran down his spine, exactly as if someone had whispered in his ear, or dragged a finger over his skin. His flesh puckered, hairs standing on end. He worked the two reels free, lifting them from the body of the typewriter.
The fabric slackened, the tension released. But the ribbon still hummed. No longer stretched taut, the tension was of a different kind. It made Leon think of storms waiting to break, of lightning tucked within clouds, of rain aching to fall. His cheeks warmed; his bent fingers shook.
Bringing the fabric within inches of his eyes, Leon took a deep breath. Did he really want to see? Letters shimmered against the ink-dark cloth, just barely visible. Each keystroke imprinted like a ghost.
And behind the ghost-words, the woman who had written them sat at her attic desk. A shaft of sunlight touched the back of her neck, catching in the fine hairs brushing her skin. Her fingers, work-worn, paused to rub a stiff muscle in her shoulder. Her nails were short, crescents of black ink caught beneath them.
Like the river mud and the poetry of crows, the woman’s life slammed into him, a storm shattering Leon’s bones, unmaking and remaking him in the space of a single breath. Her life opened to him like a book, pages blurring fast until one sliced deep. Leon hissed, resisting the urge to put his finger in his mouth and suck away imaginary blood.
The woman stood in front of a linotype machine. Thinking herself alone, she ran a hand over the keyboard.
At a sound behind her, she whirled. Caught breath became a smile; her startled heartbeat sped to a different rhythm.
“How did I know I’d find you here?”
“Well, I do work here.” She cocked a hip, raising one eyebrow.
“Yes, and the workday is long over.”
The woman merely shrugged. Sweat prickled at the base of Leon’s spine, an echo waking in him at the borrowed memories. The smell of ink, of machinery cooling as the day wound down, the pulpy tang of paper. He breathed through his mouth so as not to drown in the smells.
The man moved closer, cupping the woman’s face. She leaned into the touch, and he drew a thumb along the curve of her cheekbone. They moved at the same instant, closing the last space between them. Her back struck the press.
Even his mouth tasted of ink.
He lifted her. She hooked a leg around him, keeping him close. He dampened his lips with sweat from the arch of her throat. One hand undid the first few buttons of her dress; the other bunched her skirt around her thighs. Her short nails raked his back, stopping short of drawing blood.
Hasty, tearing cloth, he slid a finger into the slick wetness between her legs while circling her clit with his thumb. Her breath snagged; her nails dug deeper, leaving crescents—red parentheses—in his skin.
She crushed her mouth against his, bruising hard. Desperation filled the kiss. Behind the desire, behind the taste of ink, there was salt—not sweat, but tears.
She freed his cock. Her nails cut deeper still into his back as she guided him inside her. More than pleasure, her mouth chased silence as it pressed to his. There were words she didn’t want to hear, words he didn’t want to say.
So they fucked instead, amidst the memory of drying ink and slugs melted back to molten form, as if the melting could erase the meaning of the headlines they printed, speaking of war.
Anger or fear made her draw blood, dragging four perfect scratches down his back as she came.
She leaned her head against his chest. “Tell me.”
She kept his cock inside her, and her fingers traced circles in the sweat-matted hair on his chest.
“Just tell me.”
His hands shook as he retrieved a folded piece of paper from the pocket of the trousers, undone and hanging loose around his waist.
“The draft lottery.” He handed her the paper. “I’m going to the front.”
She took the paper, holding it for a moment before crushing. Without a word, she unwound her legs from his body, sliding his cock out of her. She stood, smoothed her skirt, and turned away.
He touched her shoulder. “We’ll write every day. No matter what, we still have words, and they can’t take those away from us. Besides,” he turned her and placed his hand against her cheek again, “There’s still time before I leave. Two weeks. All the time in the world.”
Shuddering, Leon lowered the ribbon. All that in a glance. All that before he’d even read the words traced in the ink. If her ghost, his ghost, was that strong….
His head ached, unshed tears pressing against his eyes. His body was hot and hollow, drained as though he’d been inside the skin of the man and woman fucking so desperately in the quiet, twilight shadows of a newspaper office. How long ago? Back at the beginning of the war. Before it had reached the city, spilling over from far away to drown the streets of home. A lifetime ago.
Read the rest in THE FLESH MADE WORD!
Also available in paperback!