“National Poetry Month” #8: Beatriz Hausner

External Mutation

Still, I am relentlessly drawn to these outward signs of inward subversion. I lust for women who show signs of intensity. Who are not afraid of extremes… I want a woman who wants me, and my attention and my care, in an intense way…
– Russell Smith

There is dominance in submission and submission in dominance. The two ways of being interrelate, as people interrelate; they are inter-dependent, as people themselves are inter-dependent. By this I do not mean that it is always a relationship between one who is dominant and another who is submissive. Both can be both, at once and constantly, putting into action the ultimate giving and taking between those who are unafraid of loving without restraint.



“There is a place where the ties are tight, not exactly leather tight, but tight, as in your throat,” explains Raccoon in the way he has of not speaking evidently.

We are discussing the various obsessions of my other friend, who, like Raccoon, is a practitioner of the kind of bondage that transforms two people when in embrace. I had brought up the subject, hoping our conversation would somehow prompt Raccoon to understand the urgency of the matter at hand, namely his misplaced obedience.

In my view, too much vulgarity is associated with bondage. It need not be so, as it is primarily the work of the mind. “It’s the symbolism of all those knots,” I say, trying to formulate a response to Raccoon’s daring statement.

As I record these thoughts, I can’t but think about those objects, soft and hard, which I have carefully put away in the drawer where I keep my things. Everything that matters takes place there: rhinestones juxtapose with silk scarves, pearls twine with velvet ribbons. In other words, a making of the great body of want takes place.

“Giving is taking,” is all I can say to Raccoon, as I sleepwalk through this part of my life. “Inside is outside,” is his response.

– Beatriz Hausner


The above poem comes from Beatriz Hausner’s recent book Enter the Racoon which, in the literary tradition of, say, Marion Engel’s Bear, ramps things up a notch to present a love affair between a woman and a human-sized racoon that is, in the words of the author, “Amy Winehouse meets the Marquis de Sade.”

Raccoon is still opening doors for BEATRIZ HAUSNER, attracting new animals to her large menagerie, including the publication of two Open Letter issues co-edited by her in honour of the late Barbara Godard. Hausner’s poetry has been published in several languages other than English, the latest of such translations being the publication of her collected poetry in Spanish: La costurera y el muñeco viviente / The Seamstress and the Living Doll (Mantis editores, Mexico, 2012).

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