Venus in Furs

I want to tie you up, he says.
O that will be so good, tying you up, and doing things to you.
I want to do all sorts of things to you.
Will you let me tie you up?
I laugh and marvel at how he doesn’t sound silly saying these things
Across a dinner table, only our second meeting.
In a crowded and the only open restaurant.
Elections hide all the liquor in a city and bring out children and families.
I am a happily married woman, I say primly,
Sucking on my lime soda.
Really? I never thought you were married.
Well, now you know.
That doesn’t matter, I still want to. Nothing changes.
Yes, it does. O have some shame.

I know I don’t. I am enjoying it and him.
Somebody wanting an arthritic body so desperately.
Who would have thought?
I would never do it, I know.
Or would I?
A poet.
I had been with a poet once. A conjob. But a poet all the same.
I am always drawn to poets and their dreams and their desires.
Those phrases that only they speak.
Those lines that only they can utter and not sound ridiculous.
But now I know what it would cost me.
There I’d be, all tied up and writhing
And he’d think of his daughter or a life ahead
And leave the hotel room with me still in it.

My arthritic hands – what would they do?
Perhaps it would be cold in the room with the AC on
And I would be naked
My breasts flopping over
And my vagina plump and without hair.
My knees and arms would get stiff.
I would whimper in pain. Maybe even cry.
I would have to quit my day job and take a holiday at home
Just to recover.
Everyone would get sick of my sickness updates on Facebook.
And they would wonder at the Facebook pictures
She’s surely lying. She doesn’t look sick at all.
In fact she is having the time of her life. Look at how she laughs in this picture.

I light a cigarette to calm myself. I cannot speak of these things.
I must not talk about how negative and painful it is to live with the pain.
The counselor has told me not to share my life with anyone.
But that conjob poet, he is the only one I want to share my life with.
Him, I would allow. I would let him tie me up.
With him, I know. I can tell he will always come back.
If at least to untie me.
There is something binding us still.
Even when we don’t touch or kiss or tie each other up.
Even if it’s only his desire to draw more blood.

But O, the old poet across the table,
who doesn’t look old. He doesn’t look old at all.
Like that undead man in The Game of Thrones.
Unreal. Intense. Just a little bit frightening.
Speaking impassionately about his lust.
So unlike the beginning of the evening
When he moped about his book and how it was not working.
All that is forgotten now with this fantasy of tying me up.
Ah, this man would remember a sonnet,
A phrase that is not working in his new book about chocolate people
And then he would leave the room
With me in it all tied up and nowhere to go.
I can see how this story will end.
Sordid and mortifying and inglorious.
Perhaps even without the sex.

So I speak instead of literature
Dostoyevsky and The Brothers
How I loved it but how I no longer remember anything I read
Except the epic answer I wrote in an exam
That went on and on–an essay beyond 12 pages
And it was still not enough.
So finally, in despair, I asked the examiner in my essay:
How do I talk about all that happens and all that we are to learn from a book that is over 796 pages?
How, indeed, do I convey the ethos of Russian literature within half an hour in an exam hall?
And somehow that had been the right thing to write.
I had topped the class that year in literature.
Nothing great about it, I say.
Really, what is the big deal if you excel at something you love?

But I don’t say any of these things
Because he is not listening.
He is busy staring at my face, concentrating on my red lips
Saying how my lips keep saying no to him
But how my eyes always light up when he speaks
about the things he wants to do to my body.
He only wants to do things to my body.
He is not interested in my mind or literature.
Even though, of course, it is literature that made our meeting possible.
I smile. I’m sure my eyes light up.

Of course they do.
Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t like sex?
Any woman who won’t feel alive by the attention of a writer she admires?
But I don’t say anything again.
I remind him that it is a business meeting.
He insists it’s a date and pays the bill.
I say we need to talk about literature
I want my kids–I always call my writers my kids–to benefit from your learning.
Fuck literature, he denounces.
The prawn I hold in my fork drops down in shock.
Too late, I drawl, literature has already fucked us both.
But. I don’t say anything.
Instead, I pin the emotional prawn to my fork, and roll my eyes.

Or wait, let’s negotiate, he cajoles.
Give me two nights and I will inspire your poets.
I will be so inspiring, everyone will write great poetry.
You know you will agree.
In the end, you will.
See, it’s obvious, logical, inevitable.

A shiver runs down my body.
I think of this connection I have with poets
Their fleeting desires and passing convictions.
Inevitable indeed.
I bleed for my conjob poet
And remember how he advised me
Go with the flow. He can’t fuck you if you don’t want him to.

Even the cigarette doesn’t help.
Fuck poetry. And fuck poets. Fuck literature, in fact.
It has never done anyone any good.
No good at all.
But again I don’t speak.

I just blow cigarette smoke at the sky.
An ineffectual, pain-ridden, arthritic finger to the universe.
It’s no statement at all.

He is still talking. Thrilled and amused by this new idea.
Just two nights, he laughs.
I laugh with him. I say no way.
This would be flattering if I didn’t have a Goddess complex.
You are a Goddess. Let me worship you.
I will worship you like the Goddess you are.
I can do things with my tongue you don’t even know about.
I feel like a 15-year-old. I never thought it would happen again.
You know what I will do?
I will start by tying you up.
I have to tie you up.
See, it’s obvious, logical, inevitable.
Not too tight. But you cannot escape.


About Bhumika's Boudoir

I love to laugh, and end up being a part of high drama and stormy emotion even when I don't pursue it. Being creative, and communicating with people get me going. I enjoy all the good things in life especially those that are slightly risque, and apologise little, if ever, for all that I do. Literature is a passion and so is music.
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12 Responses to Venus in Furs

  1. Tanya Singh says:

    You know how once you’re done reading something, but you’re kind of still reading it over and over in your mind? It shocks you, jolts your brain, makes you feel something really strong and you can’t stop trying to understand what just happened? That’s what Venus in Furs just did to me.



  2. Smoothie says:

    This has successfully blown a a mid-sized bomb upon my comfort zone. And yet there is this mad loneliness, and as prettily constructed as it is, it reeks of the melancholy that you do so well. But don’t fuck literature. Anything else is fair game.


  3. devi says:

    Awesome. So frank and fresh and amazing. Very Plath-ian – is that a word? – too, this one (‘There is a panther stalks me down’).


  4. Prashila says:

    I can’t stop reading this . You are so bloody brilliant when writing about a woman’s head , her heart , her world , her small triumphs and disappointments . Devi is right . I can see so much Plath here and that melancholy kills me and yet makes me smile . You deserve to be read by many many more people Bhumika . I am so glad I met you.


  5. You may have had words untold, but now they paint perfect images. I love the parallel universe factor that goes on in relationships – how people are blissfully unaware of what the other person wants. And you’ve captured it beautifully.


  6. R-A-J says:

    Tongue tied.

    Just like the last time I read this, I have nothing to say..really.



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