“Yoko Engorged” by Eric Snodgrass

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Open: “Yoko Engorged” by Eric Snodgrass

This erotically charged generative poem imagines John Lennon and Yoko Ono engaging in endless sexual exploration. This famous couple was controversially open about sexuality, nudity, and used their celebrity to cut through bourgeois prudishness. After Lennon’s death, Yoko Ono continued with her artistic and musical career, with creative practices associated with the Fluxus movement. For example, this poem uses the “audience volunteer(s)” to reference her famous performance piece titled “Cut Piece” in which audience members cut her clothing with scissors until she was naked on stage.

This poem is a bold remix of Nick Montfort’s “Taroko Gorge” code, which started as “began with the rather awful titular play on words and just evolved/devolved from there.” This titular play was initiated by Scott Rettberg with “Tokyo Garage” and echoed in many of the remixes, consisting on having a title with words that begin with the letters “T” and “G.” His introductory essay is almost as witty as the poem itself, particularly when he states his remixing method.

All I have done is command, cup, exercise, explore, finger, flog, fondle, graze, grope, imagine, lick, manipulate, massage, plow, poke, pucker, range, reveal, ride, roam, rub, smear, soften, squeeze, stroke, suck, stimulate, tease, tickle, tongue, and trail the variables.

A look at the source code shows there are many more variables for verbs than for subjects and objects, which is understandable given the subject matter. If you care to probe deeper, I recommend you right-click anywhere on “Yoko Engorged” and view the source code, paying attention to the data sets, particularly the erotically charged “Cave” function— which, by the way, is the original name of the variable assigned by Nick Montfort in his original nature poem.

And consider how poised and collected Yoko Ono appears, as a figure who is both a participant in the performance yet is spiritually untouched by it.