Festive Fetish – Special Edition of Games Perverts Play

christmas-crackers-uk-1890It may be the holiday season, but there is no rest for the wicked. So here at Games Perverts Play HQ we have put together a christmas cracker selection of our writings.

With offerings from Quiet Riot GirlPenny Goring, Marc Nash and new GPP contributor Simon Marriott, we hope our gift to you will keep you going till the first GPP edition of 2013 is published.

Happy New Year!

Quiet Riot Girl

Swap Death By Simon Marriott


At precisely eight o’clock on the morning of April fifth the telephone rang.  I was not expecting a call. No one had my number at the apartment I was staying at.  I let the phone ring.  Once… twice; it continued insistently.  I tried my best to ignore it.  I answered on the fifth ring. 

The voice on the other end of the line was muffled yet uncannily familiar.


“Hello, who is this?” I said in reply.

“Meet me at 12 o’clock in the room above the bar at the top of Jackson Street, on the end closer to the park.  I have something for you.”

The line went dead.  I decided at precisely that moment to go to Jackson Street.  I had a shower, got dressed and ate breakfast.  Jackson Street was a twenty-minute walk away, so I took my time.

At a quarter past eleven I walked out my door. By half past eleven I was outside the bar looking for the entrance to the rooms above.  I found a door down the side that opened when I tried it.  It opened onto the bottom of a stairwell.  I made my way up the stairs, round one landing and on to another flight.  At the top of the stairs was a lone green door.  I knocked. 

“Come in. I’ve been expecting you,” said the same voice as earlier.

I opened the door and walked into the room.  Behind a desk sat me, or at least the man who sat behind the desk looked like me.

“Mmmmm …  yes, hello.  You called me earlier?”  I said hesitantly.

“Yes.  Thanks for coming.  I was beginning to wonder if you would come.  But I see that you’re early in fact.  A good sign.”

I took a seat in the seat across the desk from him.

On each end of the desk were two shut wooden boxes.  There was a window directly behind him and I could see the trees in the park beyond.  There was a tree right next to the window and the shadows of leaves dappled the windows.  The room was simply but tastefully furnished.  The walls were white.  A cool well lit place.

I smiled at myself.  Or rather we each smiled at the other.  I sat back in my chair.

He sat forward in his and opened the box on his left. 

Inside was a single sheet of typewritten paper.

‘She caught fire.’ 

In a sense that is all that you have to say, but you’ll pause and continue. To speak of the rage, the madness, that followed would be meaningless.  Instead you say:

‘They left.’

There is neither solace, nor resemblance to the thing itself, in words. 

‘It was dry.  Hot and dry.  The air was still and the lake made it no cooler.’

Superman continued mechanically in Spanish.  You, a three-year-old foreigner, only half understand.  Not that any of us ever does. 

You watch television.  Up, up and away.   You are alone – alone, apart from the smell of soap.  When the memory of the rest is forsaken, that — and that alone — shall redolently linger.  Already the screaming woman is a dream — like the naked woman the middle of the road in the Vietnam news coverage.  Unreal repetition.  Superman ends.  You switch off the television.  Look at the curved reflection of the room. 

Candlelight plays on the surface of the wine glass.  I can think of nothing else to say. City lights dance on the river as we leave.

After the fire, she spent eleven days in hospital, repeating one phrase:

‘Tell the police I was burning rubbish in the yard.’ 

Then she died.

Smoke curled from an unsmoked cigarette in your hand. Expressionless. Unhearing.

I dread the sound of your footsteps, the rasp of your breath, the news you will one day bring.

“You will go home in a few minutes and write these words you have forgotten,” he said.   He took the sheet of paper and set it alight over an ashtray in the middle of the desk. He set the dying embers down in the ashtray and opened the second box.  In it was a gun and a gold coin.

“You have a choice to make now.  You can get up and walk away and know that I will shoot you in your back,” he said. “Or you can pick up the gun and shoot me and take the gold.  There is only one condition.  In precisely ten years time you shall return to this room and sit in the chair I am sitting in to another who is already a younger version of yourself.”

 As he said this, a pained expression came over his face.

“What’s to stop me from shooting you now and not returning in ten years’ time?” I asked.

“Nothing apart from the fact that it has already happened” he replied.  I picked up the gun, blasted him away and took the coin. I made my way out of the room and tread carefully down the stairs.  No one saw me leave.  Though I scanned the newspaper obsessively in the weeks and months that followed, there was never any report of the murder. I play with the gold coin incessantly.  I count days.  I try to forget.

Courtroom By Quiet Riot Girl


I’m always wrong.

I am in the feotal position on my bed, at least I think it is my bed, I am not quite sure the world is spinning somewhat. He is standing over me packing his bag, an army type kit bag he would always cart around when we were an ‘item’. He is telling me that he is a ‘misogynist’ and that he would like to gather an army of ‘misogynists’ against me. I am presuming he means to finish the job. It was less than an hour ago that he stood outside my front door and said ‘I’m going to kill you’ and then he got past the door effortlessly – I know, I am one of those women who doesn’t totally lock herself into her own home, what a slut- and stormed upstairs to drag me around. and grab my throat, and kick me in the back – all those cliches that as far as I’m concerned have nothing to do with gender and everything to do with the animal in us all. I’d have done the same given half a chance, given a different viewpoint from my own pathetic masochism. so anyway he said he had this army of misogynists or he wished he did and then when he’d finished packing his kit bag he told me we could play ‘courtroom’. And I knew what he meant, because before, when it was all intellectual conversations and that Nirvana Live at MTV cd he gave me and when he fucked me on the pavement on new years eve down an alley way that I am still worried might have been for an old people’s home. he’d given me that book. Games people play by eric berne. and one of the games was courtroom. games perverts play. and we played courtoom later. nobody won of course. this is courtroom:

Thesis. Descriptively this belongs to the class of games which find their most florid expressions in law, and which includes “Wooden Leg” (the plea of insanity) and “Debtor” (the civil suit). Clinically it is most often seen in marital counseling and marital psychotherapy groups. Indeed, some marital counseling and marital groups consist of a perpetual game of “Courtroom” in which nothing is resolved, since the game is never broken up. In such cases it becomes evident that the counselor or therapist is heavily involved in the game without being aware of it.

Courtroom” can be played by any number, but is essentially three-handed, with a plaintiff, a defendant and a judge, represented by a husband, a wife and the therapist. If it is played in a therapy group or over the radio or TV, die other members of the audience are cast as the jury. The husband begins plaintively, “Let me tell you what (wife’s name) did yesterday. She took the . . .” etc., etc. The wife then responds defensively, “Here is the way it really was . . . and besides just before that he was . . . and anyway at die time we were both . . .” etc. The husband adds gallantly, “Well, I’m glad you people have a chance to hear both sides of the story, I only want to be fair.” At this point the counselor says judiciously, “It seems to me that if we consider . . .” etc., etc. If there is an audience, the therapist may throw it to them with: “Well, let’s hear what the others have to say.” Or, if the group is already trained, they will play the jury without any instruction from him.

Antithesis. The therapist says to the husband, “You’re absolutely right!” If the husband relaxes complacently or triumphantly, the therapist asks: “How do you feel about my saying that?” The husband replies: “Fine.” Then the therapist says, “Actually, I feel you’re in the wrong.” If the husband is honest, he will say: “I knew that all along.” If be is not honest, he will show ‘some reaction that makes it clear a game is in progress. Then it becomes possible to go into the matter further. The game element lies in the fact that while the plaintiff’ is overtly clamoring for victory, fundamentally he believes that he is wrong.

After sufficient clinical material has been gathered to clarify the situation, the game can be interdicted by a maneuver which is one of the most elegant in the whole art of antithetics. The therapist makes a rule prohibiting the use of the (grammatical) third person in the group. Thenceforward the members can only address each other directly as “you” or talk about themselves as “I,” but they cannot say, “Let me tell you about him” or “Let me tell you about her. “At this point the couple stop playing games in the group altogether, or shift into “Sweetheart,” which is some improvement, or take up “Furthermore,” which is no help at all. “Sweetheart” is described in another section (page 107). In “Furthermore” the plaintiff makes one accusation after the other. The defendant replies to each, “I can explain.” The plaintiff pays no attention to the explanation, but as soon as the defendant pauses, he launches into his next indictment with another “furthermore,” which is followed by another explanation—a typical Parent-Child interchange.

“Furthermore” is played most intensively by paranoid defendants. Because of their literalness, it is particularly easy for them to frustrate accusers who express themselves in humorous or metaphorical terms. In general, metaphors are the most obvious traps to avoid in a game of “Furthermore.”

In its everyday form, “Courtroom” is easily observed in children as a three-handed game between two siblings and a parent. “Mommy, she took my candy away” “Yes, but he took my doll, and before that he was hitting me, and anyway we both promised to share our candy.”


Thesis: They’ve got to say I’m right. Aim: Reassurance.

Roles: Plaintiff, Defendant, Judge (and/or Jury). Dynamics: Sibling rivalry.

Examples: (1) Children quarreling, parent intervenes. (2) Married couple, seek “help.” Social Paradigm: Adult-Adult.

Adult: “This is what she did to me.” Adult: “The real facts are these.”

Psychological Paradigm: Child-Parent. Child: “Tell me I’m right.”

Parent: “This one is right.” Or: “You’re both right.”

Moves: (1) Complaint filed—Defense filed. (2) Plaintiff files rebuttal, concession, or good-will gesture. (3) Decision of judge or instructions to jury. (4) Final decision filed.

Advantages; (1) Internal Psychological—projection of guilt. (2) External Psychological—excused from guilt. (3) Internal Social—”Sweetheart,” “Furthermore,” “Uproar” and others. (4) External Social—”Courtroom.” (5) Biological—stroking from judge and jury. (6) Existential-depressive position, I’m always wrong.


extract ‘courtroom’ taken from Games People Play by Eric Berne:http://files.myopera.com/eketab3/blog/The%20Games%20People%20Play.pdf?1355075575

QRG first published ‘courtroom’ as a Friday Flash story.

2 empty pipes rattling with passion by Penny Goring


you were in a wheelchair in a courtroom

juddering vibrating

pipes rattling so loud

empty pipes rattling with passion

they threw you into my cell

to teach all madness a lesson

irate and shaking you were shouting

with passion

your wheelchair could not contain you

i took you down longhand

on the table over there

i took you into my arms

we fled down corridors with a posse of escapees

we unlocked gates and got gone

sane relaxed women

with bleach-nurtured quiffs

were urging each other to save me

from the hell bent cripple behind me

crying out he’d been abused

i would rather

take under-age swamp boys

those teens tortured by their own eyes

i could make swamp boys believe

under dust-sheets stiffened by ice

i could make sweet smells with

my lunatic fingers

and i will

until i reach the melting ice-rink

filthy slush shovelled by you

i believe only in swamp boys

i believe in my sense of smell

i trust in the grief of the night

became a rattle in the 2

empty pipes in my cell

( Photo by E-Tank http://www.flickr.com/photos/erictankel/7492128668/ )

Killing With Kindness By Marc Nash


She answered the front door.

“Someone just walk over your grave?”

“What the hell-? But – But, I threw a flower on your coffin this morning you bastard!”

“I know. It bounced off… Like a rubber cheque”

“Who on earth did we put in the soil then?”

“Search me, I wasn’t there. You gonna invite me in?”

She turned and went back inside. He followed her into the lounge. He studied the peeling wallpaper and damp under the windows. She was stood at her hostess’ trolley where sat bottles of spirits with no such signs of mildewed age. She mixed herself a tequila sunset, as her hand fumbled over the order. “Hair of the dog…”

Drowning your sorrows… or toasting mine?

“Look. I’m not even interested in how you faked your own funeral. Cos you sure as hell aren’t gonna be sympathetic to how I survived these past twenty years you’ve been banged up”


She slumped down into the sagging nap of the armchair. Some liquid spilled over the rim of the glass and stained her dress. She didn’t seem even to notice it. He strode over to her and bent down to inspect the stain. “I think that’s beginning to burn a hole”

She raised her glass in mock toast. “You gonna buy me a new one then? With your ill-gotten gains?”

“Setting up my escape cost me every penny I had”. He walked back over and parted the curtain with the flat of his hand and gazed out. He let the curtains flop back. He moved over to the mantlepiece and picked up a coloured glass figurine. He held it up to the light and revolved it around in its dim corona. The smoked glass was too opaque to admit the light through it. She coughed. He spun round to regard that she was trying to light a cigarette. Her hand was trembling. He grasped it with his and steadied the lighter to the tip of the cigarette. He flicked the lid back down releasing her hand. Her fingers went straight up to cradle her temple. He flicked away a loose tress perilously close to the cigarette tip. She took a drag and exhaled loudly.

“Some of your clobber is still upstairs if you need a change of clothes”


“Look like you haven’t put on a pound in all that time. Should still fit”

“Expect they’ll be moth eaten by now”

“Only kept them so they’d have something to bury you in. I should have twigged when no one came calling”. She dabbed at a leaf of tobacco on her tongue but couldn’t locate it. He lobbed the figurine into the fireplace. The glass smashed leadenly against the grate.

“You can have a bath as well if you want to”

“You come and join me? I don’t mean- Just come and chat”

She shook her head as she exhaled, jagging the smoke as if she was casting a smokescreen to efface herself. ” She drained her glass and held it up and waggled it. “Couldn’t mix me another one?”

He took the glass and mixed the ingredients. He bent down to study the sunrise taking shape. Its colours were dulled by the scratches in the glass. He handed it to her and returned to study the trolley. “Knock yourself out. When in Rome-ford and all that!” She giggled and lost herself further in the depression of her chair. She resurfaced to wipe a dribble of tequila from her chin. He pirouetted away from the trolley and walked over to the sofa. There was a magazine on the cushion. He lifted it up to inspect the title.

“‘Style’ magazine?” He cast his gaze around the careworn room.

“Whatever you do, you gotta do it with style. That’s what you always taught me”

“So I see”

“Yeah, well takes a bleedin’ budget to have style”

“Always got to be in there with the last word”

Get to have the first one too when you’re living on your own”

“See? Doing it -”

“But -”

He placed a finger over her lips. Her top lip moved to enfold the tip of his finger. He tapped against her teeth for release. She complied. He went and sat down on the sofa. With difficulty she raised herself from her chair and almost fell back into its maw. She shuffled over to the trolley. She picked up one of the bottles and tipped it upside down. “Shit. We’re out of syrup”. A thick dribble of liquid finally ended its slow slither down the bottle’s neck and plopped to the floor. She staggered back to her armchair and fell into it face first. She didn’t respond to his queries whether she was okay or not. He rose from the sofa and flipped her round in her chair. Then he left the lounge and started rooting around in the drawers of the kitchen. When he’d located what he was after, he returned back the lounge, now reverberating to her thick snores. He pulled down her sweat pants. He yawned her panties down just to expose her thatch. He worked off her wedding ring and then carefully applied the glue’s nozzle to coat the white gold in adhesive. Then he sunk to his haunches and precisely gaped her open with his fingers. “Still moist… still fermenting havoc after all these years”. He inserted the ring. “This ought to have served as a chastity belt first time round”

He stood back upright and leaned over for a cushion from the sofa. The oblivion she was in, she wouldn’t feel a thing. He would grant her that kindness at least.


Marc Nash produced this story as a Friday Flash Christmas gift for Quiet Riot Girl, who gave him the prompt ‘killing with kindness’ as inspiration.

Oedipus Wrecks

It is a huge pleasure to announce the arrival of the latest edition of Games Perverts Play. The theme this time is Oedipus Wrecks. Family and childhood are universal, and universally complex. I knew our writers would come up with something to meet the subject matter and they did.

I have put Marc Nash  ‘s new piece next to an essay by The Daddy of family romance, Sigmund Freud. Because I think Siggy would appreciate Marc’s take on that age-old dilemma parents have about talking to their kids about sex. And because there is something in the density and ‘clinical’ precision of both writers that is worth comparing.

I am delighted to be publishing two pieces of work by the inimitable Slava  Mogutin, who tells of childhood as trauma, and as sexual awakening. And as history on a small or larger scale.

New to GPP, bringing some poignant poems to shift the tone, are Bruce Coker and Danni Antagonist. And Christopher Herz hints at  family problems in an extract from his novel Pharmacology.

Not content with writing a short piece of work, the unstoppable Magda Sullivan has given us an extract of a novel that just flowed out of her, when she was given this theme to get her head round. I can’t wait to read the whole thing judging by this teaser.

What to say about Penny Goring ‘s contribution? It’s another tour de force from one of our (our meaning the world’s) most original voices at the moment.

As for me, unlike the other writers featured here, I was overwhelmed and defeated by the enormity of the subject I chose this time. Maybe I used up all my oedipal energy in my debut novella, Scribbling On Foucault’s Walls, and so I give an extract of that.

They do indeed fuck you up, your mum and dad. But judging from  Oedipus Wrecks, they also provide perverse writers with a hell of a lot of good material.

A special mention goes to Dan Holloway for continuing to bring brilliant writers to my attention.

Your editor,

Quiet Riot Girl

Father And Son Sit Down For ‘That’ Conversation By Marc Nash

“Oedipussy. Come on then Oediwuss! Show me what you got. We all know when Oedipus comes to shove, you haven’t got the bollocks to take me on. You don’t dare tackle me, cos you know I’ll crush you like a bug. Little Oedipussyhole, not that you’ll ever get near any hole. Let alone that of your Ma’s. You non-motherfucker. Cos first you’d have to get past me. You and whose army? With your pop gun there. Firing capped blanks. How’s any woman gonna stand for that? They won’t even know you’re inside ‘em with a prick that tiny. Maybe that’s it. Maybe they’ll be senseless all round. Rohypnol the only way you’ll get them horizontal. And if by some chance, some unlikely conjunction of fate, an improbable alignment of planetary bodies that allows you to flop your body on that of some unresponsive, blitzed out female, then I’d take her off you. I’d break her in first, though being a gent I’d wait until she woke up from the mickey finn you’d slipped her. I’d slip her some skin, all natural. I might even let you have your fifteen seconds of immaterial poking and prodding first, until you’d roll off all played out. Since let’s face it, wouldn’t make one scrap of difference, rend not one ripple in the fabric of the earth, let alone hers. Nought point none on the Richter Scale of tectonic movement. Then I’d move in and displace you. Show her a real man. Split her in two and snap off your cock with my free hand and stuff it in your mouth for good measure. Make a woman of you. Bind you and make you watch. Like the voyeur you are. Don’t think I haven’t caught you peeking- that’s double ‘e’ by the way, same as in Peeping Tom. Who knows, watching me you might pick up some tips. The advantage of age and experience. Not that you’d ever be able to act on them. You credit you could cut mine off first? There isn’t a blade big enough. Certainly nothing you could wield within the span of your weak little hands. Miniscule, scaled to cup your miserable organ. I’ll shear it off, with my incisors, but what I’d also need is a microscope to bleedin’ find it in the first place. Maybe you could build up the strength by rubbing yourself all day and every day. Only action your pecker’s likely to see.

Come on then, let’s go at it one on one. Man to man. Only you’re a boy. A mere sapling who bends in the lightest of breezes. A zephyr where I am a barnstorming tempest. I see you shrinking before my very eyes. You want a piece of me? A little slither about the size of your cock? A dribble. Maybe a scrape to adorn your voodoo doll for your black magic. A shaving for your fanciful witchy-poo power over me. In your dreams buster. Or your nightmares to come, since I shall infect and inhabit them. No, you’ll need to go up against all of me. To beat all of me down. This is not some dominance obtained by spinning a whole new tractable being from a fragment of rib. To weave yourself a poppet. A ragged arse moppet and his slutty mopsey. This is flesh and bone and sinew and muscle you have to get across and overcome. Strength against strength. Puissance against puissance. And I back mine over yours any day. And for an eternity. Since yours is laughable. A single drip of pre-cum. You little squirt!

Maybe in your fantasies you imagined I’d be all sweetness and light. The archetypical family man and provider. That we could maybe go on a double date. Like father like son. Me and your Ma, you and your unlikely girlie. Double bubble. There’s two chances of that, slim and none. Cos I’d do both of them of course. Double bubble burst. I’d be forced to after your unimpressive fumbling. So she didn’t have her nose put out of joint, looking over your humping shoulder while I deliver a consummate seeing to your mother. It would only be the polite thing. One can’t have a guest leave feeling dissatisfied. Of course you couldn’t have your Ma in return. Flip her over after I’d run her ragged and stick your woodwormy maggot inside her? You wouldn’t have the spunk, you with perennial wormwoody lack of wood. Oh I’ve clocked your sly glances at her. When you think neither she nor I can see you. But you can barely disguise it, you haven’t got the wit. Led by your recessed cock and shrunken balls, your poor panting body betrays you every time.

And what do you credit that does to your mother? Your worn out, dried up Ma. The poor old stick. You ruined her when you emerged from inside her, you know that don’t you? How she could have no more offspring after you. Her fruitful, burgeoning womb all cankered. Her efflorescence degraded, the petals wilted and withered on the stamen. All through contact with you. Your germ-laden germination. With your overweening jealousy. Your corrupt desire to possess her even then. She’s not been not been the same woman since you emerged and stretched her out down there, sucked her dry and shrivelled her tits. You’ve wanted to keep her all to yourself since day one. You the selfish little homunculus who saw to it that no-one could follow goblin you from her racked body. Perish the thought you might have to share her with a sibling. I bet you even did for your older sister didn’t you? Reached out from the womb to snatch her back and into death. You little terrorist cell you. Blastocyster bye-bye. Prevented her from ever seeing the light of day. From gazing lovingly on her mother’s visage and lighting up each other’s hearts even once. Sent one into kingdom come and the other into kingdom gone. I bet she wishes you had been forever incarcerated in kingcondom. Is that a smirk on your face? I’ll wipe it clean off you. I’ll knock your bleedin’ block off from your chippy shoulders. I’ll rip your head off your neck and spit in the hole. No, it’s gone again. No trace of it. Once again I confront the frightened eyes of a child only.

Do you feel guilty for the blood on your hands? Those digits blooded while they were still unformed buds? Well the stakes are a bit different now you’re up against me. I won’t submit quite so easily. Look at your so-called manhood there, shrivelling up in fear. Even a Greek sculptor couldn’t render you any flattering favours. No your guilt headed south straight for your nether regions and colonised them in prostrated tyranny. You conceive you can throw off their repressive yoke? Think again Sonny Jism. What makes you believe she ever wanted you, let alone now? She was desperate for progeny, something, anything, after she lost her first stillborn. It looked for so long that she wouldn’t be able to conceive again. Oh no, don’t go aggrandising yourself into some sort of miracle. You are here through her willpower not yours. You filled her need superficially. As a tot. A helpless babe to lavish her maternal love on. But you have grown ugly to her now. And she knows there is nothing she can do about it from here on in. She can’t replenish and renew through having another child. That you are her one and only and a blight at that. A huge bitter pill for her to swallow. You tore out her heart, left her with a bloodied cicatrix that wouldn’t heal. The scar tissue of her scion entering the world. So I ask myself which of those two gashes do you indeed hanker after? The natural one, nub of her sex, or that of your own imprimatur, where you reckon you indelibly marked her as yours? Some perverse sadistic desire to savour afresh the pain you impressed upon her. Newsflash, you stand to inherit neither”.

Father, dear father, so now we have it.

“What’s that look in your eye? A fleeting flash, a glimmer? Was it anger? Have I finally moved you to an adult emotion? Provoked you enough to make you a man?”

You’d like to think so wouldn’t you? But out of this farrago of bluster, your maiden speech to me, delivered with the shrillness of a virago it has to be said, the truth comes leaching out from the ill-fitting tampon of your mouth. Way I heard it told, reading between the wrinkles in your forehead, the ‘try your strength’ indicator of your Adam’s Apple bobbing furiously up and down, the pulsing vein in your neck lighting up your red face like an electrical circuit, Mother found it so hard to conceive after your tryst with a clap dancer. That’s the sole infection you have brought home to roost. The dirty little secret at the heart and hearth of our family. Of this generation of it at least. When I am of the next generation.

“Not a smirk this time, but a timid little smile of acknowledgement. So you do recognise you want to take after me? To be strong and powerful and to stand up for yourself in the face of others? Good. Now you can identify with me as a father, an elder and a man? Then my work is done here. I’ve fittingly tempered you. I’m glad we had this little chat. Remember, I’m always here. Guarding the entrance to the family hearth”.


The extraordinary frequent discoveries of apparently abnormal and exceptional sexual manifestations in childhood, as well as the discovery of infantile reminiscences in neurotics, which were hitherto unconscious, allow us to sketch the following picture of the sexual behavior of childhood.[5]

It seems certain that the newborn child brings with it the germs of sexual feelings which continue to develop for some time and then succumb to a progressive suppression, which is in turn broken through by the proper advances of the sexual development and which can be checked by individual idiosyncrasies. Nothing is known concerning the laws and periodicity of this oscillating course of development. It seems, however, that the sexual life of the child mostly manifests itself in the third or fourth year in some form accessible to observation.[6]

The Sexual Inhibition.—It is during this period of total or at least partial latency that the psychic forces develop which later act as inhibitions on the sexual life, and narrow its direction like dams. These psychic forces are loathing, shame, and moral and esthetic ideal demands. We may gain the impression that the erection of these dams in the civilized child is the work of education; and surely education contributes much to it. In reality, however, this development is organically determined and can occasionally be produced without the help of education. Indeed education remains properly within its assigned realm only if it strictly follows the path of the organic determinant and impresses it somewhat cleaner and deeper.

Reaction Formation and Sublimation.—What are the means that accomplish these very important constructions so significant for the later personal culture and normality? They are probably brought about at the cost of the infantile sexuality itself, the influx of which has not stopped even in this latency period—the energy of which indeed has been turned away either wholly or partially from sexual utilization and conducted to other aims. The historians of civilization seem to be unanimous in the opinion that such deviation of sexual motive powers from sexual aims to new aims, a process which merits the name of sublimation, has furnished powerful components for all cultural accomplishments. We will therefore add that the same process acts in the development of every individual, and that it begins to act in the sexual latency period.[7]

We can also venture an opinion about the mechanisms of such sublimation. The sexual feelings of these infantile years on the one hand could not be utilizable, since the procreating functions are postponed,—this is the chief character of the latency period; on the other hand, they would in themselves be perverse, as they would emanate from erogenous zones and would be born of impulses which in the individual’s course of development could only evoke a feeling of displeasure. They therefore awaken contrary forces (feelings of reaction), which in order to suppress such displeasure, build up the above mentioned psychic dams: loathing, shame, and morality.[8]

The Interruptions of the Latency Period.—Without deluding ourselves as to the hypothetical nature and deficient clearness of our understanding regarding the infantile period of latency and delay, we will return to reality and state that such a utilization of the infantile sexuality represents an ideal bringing up from which the development of the individual usually deviates in some measure and often very considerably. A portion of the sexual manifestation which has withdrawn from sublimation occasionally breaks through, or a sexual activity remains throughout the whole duration of the latency period until the reinforced breaking through of the sexual impulse in puberty. In so far as they have paid any attention to infantile sexuality the educators behave as if they shared our views concerning the formation of the moral forces of defence at the cost of sexuality, and as if they knew that sexual activity makes the child uneducable; for the educators consider all sexual manifestations of the child as an “evil” in the face of which little can be accomplished. We have, however, every reason for directing our attention to those phenomena so much feared by the educators, for we expect to find in them the solution of the primitive formation of the sexual impulse.


This is an extract from Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality: II Infantile Sexuality http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14969/14969-h/14969-h.htm

The Triumph of the Family By Slava Mogutin

this dreadful gray constancy

replaces for me today all colors

green blue red—what other ones are there?

i don’t find a place for me here don’t know where to sit

what to drink and to eat


was it long ago that daddy amused himself with his sonny?

the triumph of the family happened

mother was entertaining herself with the daughter

opening her mouth in the vicinity of hers


saliva poured slowly from here into there

never before two related bodies

were as close as then

green blue red

gray constancy


the identical you will never write like the different one

you were gone gone and the heart was beating

into the armpit like an exploded point

here is this one and here’s another one completely different

you are getting used to signs of differentiation silly

are you getting completely assimilated?


while father was amusing himself

mother was entertaining herself

the triumph of the family happened

green blue red


the russian word for “family” comes from the word for “pig”


1990, Moscow

Translated from the Russian by Vitaly Chernetsky


Guitar by Bruce Coker


I took my father’s guitar from the wall

where it had always brooded;

cradled the soot-black wood, hewn

from an oak that lost heart and died;

struck life into the brutal piano-wire

strings that stung my plump,

pink-fleshed fingers as I

strummed a fragile minor chord.


I picked a trembling, defiant arpeggio

that somehow scaled a forbidding rise.

The instrument opened its throat, swallowed once,

and sang again its unforgiving songs.

The booming bass crowed of Jay and his Rooks,

as sharpened accidentals, lacking sustain,

faded unresolved into the diminishing history

of a foreigner at home, a stranger to me.


It sang of piano-key teeth cracking

a syncopated smile, chewing

on a chicken-town sandwich. My father,

raising his ragged red flag over a broken castle;

laughing, uncomprehending,

at green Picasso beads. My father,

with my mother’s friends; slaking his thirst

with stagnant water,

and singing only of the past.