Marta was born with a Port-wine stain birthmark on her face. Though disfiguring of her features, it was held as an auspicious talisman by her bucolic community who were wine-brewing folk, fortified by their faith in god. (Not for them any Bacchanalia honouring the intoxication of the grape. They tirelessly trod it under foot as if it were the spawn of the very Devil himself they were charged with purging). They took Marta’s blotch to be a sign that their grape would always fructify on the vine, since the hue of her blemish was exactly that of the infant grapes they grew.

However, the sons and daughters of the farmers were far less permissive towards Marta. They teased and mocked her for her ultramontane pigmentation. Some brazenly tripped her over so she fell head first into the soil, “dust to dust, grub to grub”. Then they blotted her face in the loam, trying to scour it off against the grain of the earth, or just interring it beneath the grime. Marta couldn’t reconcile their reactions towards her with the awe and indulgence shown to her by grown-ups. The adults refused to take their children in hand and remonstrate with them which further confused her. In this village it seemed as though the children wielded the power and the adults remained helpless bystanders.

So Marta’s skin flared and raged by way of response and warning. She developed the colouration skills of a chameleon, though it rendered her no security of camouflage. In the presence of children the rest of her face and exposed skin of arms and legs reddened to match that of the original imprimatur. That only made things worse for her of course, but it was something she had no control over. It was intimately attached to the guilt and shame these children made her feel. In the presence of adults however, the rest of her skin would remain normal, though the Port-stain itself would darken during the season as it matched the ripening and maturing of the grape. This naturally made her seem even more divinely portentous to these simple peasants, though a few secretly wondered whether she was a witch, toying and aping and scoffing at what was most their most precious value after god himself.  But none dared bring their fears out into the open.

And so the village spun on through the cycles of the harvest. When Marta’s first period struck, her skin chemistry moved on apace once again. Now in the presence of adults too, her whole face could darken to the hue of the stain, for no seeming reason. She no longer mirrored the darkening spectrum of the blossoming grape, rather she blazoned a livid purple-red, augmented into further ugliness by a puckering of her skin at the forehead. Her poor mother and father lay in their marital bed discussing the forlorn prospects of their daughter ever having suitors, though they were cheered at the prospect of not having to provide a dowry. They resolved to discuss it with the village priest, though they were sly enough to dress up their concerns behind the question of whether their blessed daughter was actually elected too divine to marry a mere farmer’s son.

Yet Marta’s skin resolved the issue in its own animated way. With her first period had also come fantasies. Thoughts about men (not the hideous, persecutory boys). Fancies about some of the farmers, working with sweated bodies out in the vineyards. She had no one she could confide these feelings in. No one to console her whether they were as natural as the ripening of grapes. But her treacherous skin told her. And thereby informed the rest of her village. Every time such a lascivious thought entered her head, her Port-stain would tumesce and throb. Radiating her thoughts like a balefire. The villagers didn’t catch on at first. they were just initially perplexed by this new encrypted development. They feared it might actually portend a contagion striking their vines. or a pestilence settling upon them and sucking the lifeblood from the precious fruit. But when their vines persisted unmolested, they peered harder at what Marta’s own blight might be signalling.

Of course it came about that it was their children who provided the first key. For they were in the habit of staring at her fixedly in a manner that the adults could not afford, seeing as they had wholly to succumb to the pulses demanded by Nature. The children however discerned that when Marta’s affliction struck, she was pointedly looking at some adult or other. And not just any adult, but always a male, usually pigmented himself by the exertion of his labours out in the field under the hot sun. They could not believe their findings and for once were careful not to shoot any premature bolt without rigorous evidence.

And in time they came to be certain of the empiricism of their senses. The mechanism of their discovery disseminating throughout the whole village wasn’t clear, but leak it did. Soon every inhabitant knew what her darkening shading portended. “Dirty thoughts”. “Immorality”. “Unclean and impure”. “Rude, lewd and disgusting”, even though they themselves  had their own similar thoughts, merely they were able to keep them hidden under their skin. They proceeded to subject Marta to check her hymen to ensure she hadn’t acted on her impulses. Women hurled invective every time their paths crossed, or they spat at her. While the men recoiled at the thought of her maculated face coming anywhere near them. Though contrary beasts that they were, they also felt slighted if they weren’t one of the objects of her desire beaconed across her flesh.

Less and less could Marta walk the village for the opprobrium cast upon her. The childish goading of her peers was nothing to that of the adults. “Polluted”. “Foul-minded”.  “Filthy, sordid mind always in the gutter”. “Indecent and sinful, her mother must be so ashamed”. “Profane and corrupt, her parents ought to be chastised for creating such an obscene creature”. “Don’t even look at her children, or you could be infected by the taint of her disease”. “She is the work of the devil”.

And so they hung her from a tree as a witch. Some said her Port-Wine stain throbbed and pulsed as she twitched and writhed in the noose, with pleasure. Their grapes blossomed on, though their colour was never quite as rich as previous generations.



Where two (or more) bodies are not gathered into sufficiently proximate space whereby they can fasten upon one another, then oral communication can imaginatively bridge the divide and generate the required mental friction. The brain is exquisitely tickled with a feather, by the stimulus of the words. Be it spoken down a phone, or typed into its text function (note to practitioners, do not abbreviate and self-bowdlerise txt sex words in order for their full effect to be realised. Everywhere else, such words are pockmarked & buboed by asterisks, therefore text sex must preserve the full impact).

But where two bodies ARE consonant, then language acquires a different status. If one of the sexual agonists is able to compose coherent, prolix sex colloquy (or obloquy), then they are probably not fully committed in the moment of the physicality. At the other end of the speculum, lie the bland blandishments of ‘sex talk’. The limited expressiveness our parents always told us was the sign of a poor vocabulary and to go clean our mouth out with carbolic. Those words we learned from a fairly early age to be charged with a certain primordial power for the reaction they could provoke. But in the bedroom, such impact is somewhat denuded, since the context demands that very transgressive meaning and draws their sting. They become hoarily conventional words within the setting of the sex arena and hence their poverty and paucity becomes apparent through repetition. The dirty words are the safe words anchoring our primal aggression.

There is a certain necessity for directional words, “up, down, faster, slower”. Then there are those directing the action, either actor supposedly improvising instructions to prompt their antagonist, such as “Fuck me “, “Suck Me”, “Choke me”, “Bite me”. But such instructions don’t just pertain to plotting the topography of the bodies in motion. These phrases themselves barely matter, much like a dog is said to infer the master/mistresses’ intent from the tone, rather than any comprehension of the word’s meaning. Such words establish naked status and power within the relationship. Erecting the geometry of “I” and “you” almost irrespective of the bodies at play.

In truth, words are downgraded, oft displaced by quarried non-lingual sounds from the depths of the nether regions and stomach. Having surrendered to the unreflective arpeggio of pinched, squeezed and stretched membranes and paying only a cursory doffing of the hat as it is propelled through the vocal chords. The sonorous squalls rent from our deepest marrow, say so much more than either a perfectly formed phrase or an eructed expletive. Fluid, but not fluent. Talking dirty, really, properly covered in scurf and mucus and blood and jism, is talking in sheared syllables. In phonemes that are stripped from their comfortable word sheath. A self-expressiveness that communicates in spite of its solipsistic self. A unique resounding that somehow sets up a resonance within the other body mining its nuggets. Talking dirty is truly inventing a new pidgin. It is an unlearning. Avoiding the regressive transgressive of the child’s naughty words. Talking dirty violates language. Or at least it ought to.



Gertie’s rude. Or so everybody else says. For Gertie, her dirt penetrates her as per the grain does of stone. Indelibly marking her. She is slag, incarnate, yet not the slag you persist in dubbing her. She is scoria from the volcano. She is seething, molten magma. She exposes herself to fresh sensations every day. Sexual sensations. Or at least she essays to, oftentimes snagged and sunk on the rocks of crabbed imaginations and cramped creativity of her recumbent partners.

How many does it take before she is categorised as “dirty”? FIve? Seven, as in one each night for a week? (But often she takes a man during the day as well. It is this walk-up foot traffic resounding on the stairs like the clack of an abacus that so boils the blood of her neighbours. They presume her to be taking money, when in fact she is only trying to derive free pleasure, that adulterated and clipped currency). Perhaps seventy-five partners a year? A hundred and seventy-Five? Three hundred and sixty-five (or sixty-six in leap years)? A nice, firm, peachy round thousand? What number could possibly trigger the soubriquet “nymphomaniac”? That six point nine on the ich lieber dichter Scale. Axiomatic of an excessive or abnormal sexual appetite, with no hankering for developing any of them into a full-blown relationship.

But then what is excessive-? back to the number thing again. What is abnormal? Deviating from a norm that is mystically laid down and from which everyone would secretly if not openly themselves like to deviate from. A norm is a behavioural, statistical thing, not an ironclad law. It is only the self-repressive fear that perpetuates this norm in the first place. Moreover, there lacks any male equivalence (quelle surprise). Well there is, there’s satyriasis, behaving like the goat, a barely wielded epithet conferred favourably when it is conferred at all upon the male of the species. Don Juanism. Series, scale, the arithmetical and statistical, cardinal numbers cannot lend themselves to the cardinal virtues of indivisible morality.

Dirt is swept under the carpet if our hoover suckers aren’t sufficiently puissant or lithe enough to get at it in the nooks, crannies and folds. Dirt leads to disease, or so the folk wisdom decrees. In fact being exposed as a child to a begrimed upbringing may actually lay down a more efficacious immune system, fitter for fighting off the foul foe. If it were all out in the open. If we didn’t seek to bury it. Of course the entire spectrum of microbes mean that germs are not solely borne on dirt. Bacteria, possibly, but not viruses. Viruses, much like ourselves, are gobbets of DNA which look to reproduce themselves. They merely cuckoo bodies in order to do so. To compensate our moral guardians have of course smeared viruses that are passed by physical contact as ‘dirty’, due to moral turpitude. A numbers calculation again, based on the premise the more partners you have, the greater the probability. Thus repatriating them back into the bosom of dirt’s mucky terrain.

Gertie is not “dirty” in this contagious sense. Not even in her appetites, as her condemners look on longingly at such prodigious hunger. Food of course is one of the main workaday loci of dirt and disease taboos. Wash your hands and all surfaces. Don’t use the same knife for raw and cooked meats. But Gertie doesn’t really give a Fanny’s Craddock for all that. Her concern today is with food play in sex. Not insertions, since that’s not limited to foodstuffs and she’s really had her fill of them over the years. And certainly not food-flavoured condoms, cos that’s just risible. No, she’s meaning for today to be about licking food off one another’s bodies.

Now I towel myself down, with the grease inhabiting the cracks and wrinkles in my skin, with the smear of fats making me squirm while I await the shower water to heat up. Though in truth these are surface concerns, mere irritants that only impress upon me because I am forced to return to the world. For back then, she truly devoured me. Peeling me down to the bone, filleting me and spitting out my gristle. I felt so far removed from “dirty”. I no longer give thought to any notion of sloppy seconds, for this was a sex act made up on the hoof. The cloven hoof. I feel cleaned out and cast afresh. Revivified and reanimated. Like an all-over body irrigation. If there is any dirt involved, it is ours and Gertie takes it unto herself as she sanctifies our being and immerses us in future possibility. Only not with her. She sets us on our way back out into the world, of purity and danger. Of extended horizons and the ectopic. She is the slag of our clinker smeared on to her. If she is dirty, it is only that she has to wash herself clean of us.

And for our humble part, I like to think we each are her daily lifebuoys by which she can reach out and cling to moor her own tidal emotion.


It’s getting harder and harder. The mental vault of grainy images has withered on the vine. Repetitive referencing has voided clarity and crispness. Familiarity defocused the verisimilitude of the two dimensional, flush flesh. Dog-eared pages of crinkled plasma have lost their sheen. Prompted jump cuts between the mental recollection of frames. Bongo mags, TV on slo-mo or freeze frame and internet streaming, any and every home entertainment has been consumed and husked. Endless replication has denuded the power of the image to spark the brain, fire the jaded palate. En/hard core pithed and deseeded, but not in any satisfactory way.

His curled fingers glance his glans listlessly. To stroke without an imagistic filter is a mechanical act. Axis and spindle lacking lubrication. Rasping skin against skin, he is only likely to chafe it sore. He flicks at his member, trying to picture a woman’s tongue in place of his digit. The image breaks up into a melange of multi-coloured pixels inside his head. The vertical hold of his imagination goes south and his cock just stings momentarily at the scourge of his calluses.

He’s thrown back to grasping at the flickering reproduction fabricated by his mind. Its function like that of a car’s spark plug. It just needs to get the motor going. Ticking over. Pump priming. Something to stir the sump. Just to convey him over the hump in the road. Somehow he happens upon a configuration on the web he hasn’t encountered before. Ridiculous, cheesy, but something paraphractical speaks to a teasable synapse of his that fortunately mainlines into the limbic trunkroad. Past the burned out shells of emotion and appetites. More desert storm than shock and awe, but victims of a turkey shoot all the same. Oh for chemical weapons. Or the report of the real flesh and blood mass of a woman to justify that very popping of a pill.

He shuts his eyes. As he begins to manipulate his outward sex, some tremulous scintillations pass on the inside of his eyelids. But he knows they have nothing to do with excitation. More with friction and the rheumatic cranking into gear of attenuated sex circuitry.

As the screen siren played out her desultory show reel, he could afford to break off his engagement with her celluloid eyes and cellulite skin. For his hand had picked up the rhythm. Antiphonal with her ill-dubbed moans, he moved to petting his snake with feathery touch. She receded from his senses, though she remained remotely portending a happy outcome by cats cradling the secretion exuded over her.

His localised blood transfusion was communing with its brethren corpuscles. The penile pulse calling forth a bubbling within his hand and wrist as they fell into metrical harmony. Tempo timpani juddering within his ears. A hormonal catechism. Succussion percussion. His quickening bearing calling forth a matching acceleration of his squeezing. Grazing passing over into tugs and jerks, beyond his localised motor control. Utterly in thrall to the rhythmic drumming of the throb. Febrile scraping of the skin, leaving islands of scalped flesh. The discomfort overridden by the mounting elation, the brain’s analgesic hormones fitfully deployed so as to preserve its meagre high.

Then the fatal crossing over. All scanty pleasures of the sensations, the sparking behind the eyes, any lingering residual visual images or fleeting flashbacks to real flesh and blood interactions, obliterated by the urgent press. The push-me, pull me of wanting to sustain the tension like an endless guitar solo, fighting against the desperate need to reach the summit. The tipping point, the critical mass these days was always asserting itself, pushing notions of sustained relish aside in the anxiety that he might not brush across the finishing tape.

And so the chrysalis cleaved apart its silky goo. But if any butterfly emerged, it plunged straight to its extinction. A sticky white impromptu inkblot test on the quilt. Feeling flat. Leaving behind the shivered puparium, its scaly hide contracting into itself. A failed metamorphosis that neglected to yield transformative, fresh life. But only delivers a stain on the quilt. Dirty beast.

By Marc Nash


4 responses to this post.

  1. I am going to cheat and repeat my comment under Penny’s piece:

    ‘I like the contrast and similarities between the styles of Penny Goring and Marc Nash. I think you both make the reader dwell on every word every syllable every sound, but also you drag us or push us or rush us through the story/the prose so we are left a bit breathless at the end’


  2. ‘attenuated sex circuitry’ love.


  3. Thanks guys!


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