Saturday, October 17, 2015

Interview with poet CORVO OBSIDIAN SAHJAZA by Dave Wolff

Interview with poet CORVO OBSIDIAN SAHJAZA
Elder-Magnus/Sacred Scribe et Custos Libros nam Temple House Sahjaza

When Cerebral Agony Zine was in print you had several of your poems published. Was the Zine the first to publish your work or were there other publications that gave your writing exposure?
Cerebral Agony Zine was not the first to publish my erotic poetry, actually. After originally giving the poems to the person(s) the works were intended to go to, I actually had them published on for a number of years. I ended up pulling my content off that website but not because they did anything wrong. Sometimes our “daysides” take precedence. Literotica is a well-known site for erotic stories, poems and an online community dedicated to freedom of expression artistically as well as sexually. What I love about publishing my work is that others can be stimulated or entertained by my words and that gets me off. I am highly sapiosexual (one who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature), so that fits into my wants, needs and desires with publishing and writing.

When you were in contact with Literotica how much of your written work was available for reading there? For what reasons did you decide to pull your material from the site?

Well, it was not so much being in “contact” with the site per se as it was submitting the work to the site and having it published on their servers. Once it went through Literotica’s approval process, it was automatically posted in the genre you submitted to unless your content was THAT questionable that they wouldn’t publish the work. I had several of my short stories, all of which I submitted to you and the Zine, as well as all my erotic poetry to date on Literotica. Most of the works were written in the early 2000s but I still have fresh poems and stories percolating in my head and they make their way out on occasion. I haven’t had the time to dedicate to my craft like I want to but I will make the time. To answer your question of why I pulled my content off, I didn’t really use their services or go to the community end of things after many years. Google spiders the site, so I based my decision on that more to protect my dayside identity, which for most people is crucial, unfortunately. I am sure many who read this interview know what I mean by that statement. Some of us are lucky and don’t have to separate our darker creative energies from our more mundane activities.

Where are the editor and staff of Literotica based? How well known has it become to writers of erotic fiction since the site emerged online? While writing for them were you corresponding with other people there?

The website as far as I know is out of southern California but it has been a very long time since I’ve even been to the site. The site has been around since 1996. I would imagine based on the volumes of material they have in their directories that yes, the site is fairly well-known as a place to publish – however it should be pointed out you do not receive any monetary gain by publishing there as far as I know. It’s more in the realm of sharing than getting money out of the art. It would be great if you could sell your works there, but that isn’t the point of their website – although they benefit from the ads and page views most assuredly. I did not write for them, I submitted my works to them to show the writing off and share with other like-minded people. Sure, I spoke with others in the community but not often.

Where do you think finances should come into play in relation to your writing? Of course the point of having a career is to earn a living and to get something in return for your hard work and sacrifice. But if someone dares take the position that he or she is not doing it only for money, that person is often written off as wrong and given the “starving artist” stereotype. How do you personally reconcile the two? Is the work as important?
It would be lovely to always be paid for my work, however these poems and stories I wrote are of a more personal nature, not intended for sale. For instance Literotica did not compensate for the submissions. While writing is something I do for pay in my dayside, my nightside endeavors I do out of love and for creating art. Perhaps one day I can be compensated for what I do. My work is important and it’s a labor of love. I would not be so arrogant as to state I am the “starving artist” type – at this point in time I am just not being compensated monetarily for the work I do on my nightside. I am okay with that as it is for my House and Matriarch, thus, the bigger picture for me is continuing to educate and further expand others in their personal journeys and practices. However, I would never turn compensation down if offered, as that would be foolish. My work is vital, high quality and integral to whom I am. I think if someone is commissioned to create a work, they should be paid for their work if there is budget to do so. Sometimes just getting your work in front of others can open up doors unavailable before.

Were the community members you spoke with readers or other authors? What sort of feedback was your work receiving while you were there?
I didn’t always know who the community members were unless they revealed that aspect of themselves to me. Literotica is a typical online community that is set up with old-school bulletin boards or more commonly these days known as forums. Some of the people I interacted with were authors but most were just looking for a like-minded community where they could get inspired and stimulated. I received mostly positive feedback as they had a rating system you could employ on your works you submitted. It wasn’t required to turn that system on. You could just publish without having other members have the ability to rate your work. My work was definitely enjoyed, however. In fact, one of the poems I submitted I actually read in a recording with my voice, which lent it extra oomph. That one was particularly popular. To submit that recording I had to leave it as a voice message and they put it on the website… ah the old days.

What was the poem you read and recorded that got such a huge response at Literotica? Did you receive any reader feedback that explained why it spoke to them?

The poem that I read and recorded is called Exploration and yes it was on Literotica. I didn’t really get any feedback that was overly useful. It was rather banal comments such as “hot” or something equally not helpful. However, as I mentioned above, this wasn’t really a site that would promote that type of helpful feedback or riveting comments. I was hoping I would get that type of useful feedback, but alas, it was not to be. I believe the reactions were more for the quality and sound of my voice versus the contents of the poem. However, you’d get a comment every once in awhile that would speak to you.

Was Exploration the first time you recited one of your poems and recorded it? Is this something you would like to do more actively in the future?
Exploration was the first time I recited one of my poems for the masses and it was very exciting to do so! It was exhilarating and freeing for me… so sensual and primal. I would love to do more reading of erotica, knowing how that could affect others, absolutely.

Quote a line or two from Exploration and explain the reasons you specifically chose that poem for recording?
I chose this poem because I felt it would lend itself best to the endeavor of reading out loud. The imagery is primal, sensuous, evoking and pornographic. My words make you see, make you feel like you’re really there. If I had to pick a part to share with your readers it would be, “Forcibly bending her small form, forehead close to her knees, her arousal seeps into her nose. His fingers unfolding her swollen dewy lips.” Hot right? (laughs)

It can be frustrating if you channel a great effort into your endeavors and all the feedback you get is a single-word response such as “hot,” “cool” or “awesome.” Do you think this is because of the dumbed-down state of popular entertainment or just because people don’t care to make the effort?
I believe it’s the general dumbing down of our species. We’re in such a “convenience” driven society these days that manners, simple courtesies, even polite and civil behavior have been watered down or become non-existent. It saddens me greatly, actually. I wouldn’t blame any one particular industry or person; it has been a collective effort over the past few hundred years. It reminds me of the dark ages where only certain people were allowed to be educated, have the ability to read and think for themselves. It’s somewhat scary if a person really delves down into the situation. But barring belief in conspiracies or other ridiculous theories, we are always responsible for our own actions. If we want something, we should get off our lazy butts and get it. No one else is going to do it for us. People are lazy, selfish, oafish and generally crass. I know that isn’t a popular position, but it’s the harsh truth. I pride myself on speaking the truth and calling things as I see them but doing so with class.

Speaking of crassness, I’ve seen an increasing amount of faux politeness and faux intellectualism, as cover for intolerance of people who express themselves differently from the main stream. The general public is what I’m referring to; seems like more of the same have always stereotyped punks, Goths and metal heads.
I am not a big fan of insincerity. False or faux anything is a waste of time and a delusional way to behave. Pretending to be nice is nothing more than passive-aggressive behavior in my opinion. If you don’t like something, a person can be diplomatic in giving constructive criticism or voicing an opinion that isn’t completely offensive. I do believe that people have rather thin skins these days but I feel that real manners still have a place in today’s society. Why be mean? We want people to like us, like our works, enjoy our company; a person should be sincere in all actions.

Is all that thin skin a result of how “Brady Bunch-ified” society has become at this point? It seems that people are more sheltered from reality than ever these days.
While people shelter themselves, people remove themselves from personal responsibility, which is a basic tenant for any civilized culture. If we can’t take personal responsibility for our own actions, what does that say of us as a whole? People shelter themselves, refusing to see, refusing to grow, to evolve. It is horrible that people wish to stay like zombies instead of discover more about themselves and grow from their collective experiences.

If more people opened their eyes to what’s going on around them, what issues would you most want to see them address?
I find that is a rather personal question and only may not be able to answer with specifics and only generalizations. It’s a constant wish and desire of mine to have people awaken to the world out there. The caveat to that however is that you can’t force someone to awaken and be aware – to come out of their stupor – to not be a zombie anymore. So if more people are aware of what is around them, the incredible beauty and ugliness that is our world they can be dynamic. First and foremost people have to be aware of their own selves so that they can better themselves and in turn, be more productive and beneficial people in society. Only then do we actually start to change the world to a better place. Once they’ve managed to better themselves, then tackle the other issues that plague the planet, our cities and towns.

Explain some more what sapiosexuality is and when you discovered this was your orientation so to speak?
Sapiosexuality, as I mentioned above is about being turned on by intelligence and having that be the key attraction for another being. I don’t consider “sapiosexuality” to be my sexual orientation; more a part of what I know turns me on. My sexual orientation is a bit more complicated for others to understand, although personally I don’t find it that difficult to comprehend. I identify as queer, gender-fluid and primal. I don’t expect many to understand what that “box” means, but suffice it to say I don’t care what gender a person is, it’s all about the connection I feel to and with them and in that attraction and connection intelligence plays a huge role. If I find that a person I like can’t play in the same sandbox as myself, I just can’t seem to have a relationship with them that is sexual or deeper in nature. I have to be able to have that special rapport, that stimulating intellectual conversation, discussion for me to whet my appetites and move further and deeper. Intelligence for lack of a better way to put it gets me off. It’s my preferential way of being, to feed upon and enjoy this aspect along with above-average sexual energies and connections as well.

Are there many printed books about sapiosexuality that are worth reading?
I would imagine there are by doing a simple Google search. I haven’t really come across substantial books on the subject. However I have found some articles. “Psychology Today” recently wrote an article discussing the “newish” term:

Are there any examples of your sexual preference appearing in your writing? What poems of yours would you mention?
Oh now that is a tricky question. I would say in all of my writings my sexual preferences comes out. But if I had to narrow it down, “Masochist Blooming” would qualify as one that shows some of my more indulgent penchants. I tend to write more prose than rhyming poetry.

Masochist Blooming
Corvo Obsidian Sahjaza ©2004

Arms stretched
to the ceiling,
Body pulled taut
like a drum skin.

Sharp points
prick and sink
into my soft silky skin.

Droplets of red
trail down my breasts,
my stomach
streams of maroon
mapping my body.

Transformation –
Pain into pleasure,
the masochist blooms
like the white lily.

What are the reasons you chose this poem as representing your more “indulgent penchants”? Please explain what inspired this poem in particular.
This poem isn’t attached to any specific gender. It’s pure and fluid imagery, cascading for the person reading the prose. The reader can relate to the piece whether they are male or female, CIS gender or transgender alike – even if they don’t like power exchange relationships. I enjoy the imagery of the skin, where you can almost feel it, smell it, taste it – see the actions taking place. It’s no surprise that I enjoy and incorporate edgier “play” into my private life and have done so, quite enjoyably, for over 20 years. This piece was inspired by my own personal journey, as is most of my writing. My writings are always autobiographical – it provides a much more visceral and satisfying read in my opinion. In fact, a friend and I are working on a new erotic photography and poetry book to be out soon.

What are the differences you see between poetry and prose? How do you usually differentiate between the two while writing verse?
Using the standard definition, poetry is the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative or elevated thoughts, whereas prose is the ordinary form of spoken or written language without metrical structure, as distinguished from poetry or verse. That isn’t to say what I write isn’t beautiful or imaginative, it just doesn’t necessarily rhyme or have that “metrical structure.” If I go by the definitions I just gave, differentiating between poetry and prose is a simple task. Does it rhyme? Does it have a certain number of beats? If not, then it’s prose.

On this subject of differentiation, in what ways do you differentiate between sadism and masochism?
The two aspects are exact opposites of one another. Having enjoyed this alternative lifestyle over 20 years as I mentioned, I can definitely say the two are quite different and easy to differentiate. Let me preface that what I am discussing is consensual between two consenting adults. There is much controversy if it is abuse or not and I am not going to go into that debate. In my opinion, it isn’t considered abuse if both parties consent to the activity and are fully aware of what they are doing. That said, consensual Sadism for those that aren’t familiar, is the condition in which sexual or intellectual gratification depends on causing consensual pain or degradation to others. Consensual Masochism is the condition in which sexual or intellectual gratification depends on suffering consensual physical pain or humiliation. For those that enjoy both aspects, we call that Sadomasochism or being a Sadomasochist. The origins of Sadism come from the Marquis DeSade and the origins of Masochism come from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Both labels derive from their names.

Have you done research on the Marquis DeSade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch while seeking writing inspiration?

Oh yes! I have gobbled up as much information and knowledge on these two individuals as possible including having unique copies of their original works. I collect antique erotica in the form of books, illustrations, pulps and even comics. I am a proud owner of an antiquarian original copy of Opus Sadicum from Europe as well as a private printing of Venus In Furs by Masoch. Their tenants are reflected in my work; it is a constant running theme. Power exchange, otherwise known as BDSM, (the term BDSM and the actions are illegal in most states so I prefer to call it Power Exchange) is pervasive in my prose/poetry and short stories. I have co-written some erotic books that are for sale on a particular site based out of Europe.

How did you manage to get your hands on those copies of Opus Sadicum and Venus In Furs? Are these books you would recommend to people with an interest in their subject matter?
I found the books on eBay. I do searches for old and antiquarian erotica all the time to see what comes up. I just got lucky. I recommend reading all kinds of books in this genre to educate and understand what this lifestyle is all about. This lifestyle however is what you make it, so long as you’re not a total dick about it.

How many erotic books have you had a hand in writing? Can you say what website is offering them for sale?
I helped to write and edit several erotic books at this point in time. I am able to share the link of where to find my books as well as a large library of other titles as well. Click here but it isn’t for the faint of heart or prudes!

What first got you into the alternative lifestyle and kept your interest for twenty years? Being there for that long you must have been to many clubs and events. Recount some of these for the readers?
I got introduced to the alternative lifestyle when I was 16. A friend of mine played “Venus In Furs” by the Velvet Underground. He wrote the lyrics out for me and I was instantly hooked and intrigued by what the words were, what they meant… whom were they talking about? This lifestyle keeps my interest because it’s never boring – well it isn’t the way I do it anyway. You have to stay away from, “meh.” If you keep doing the same repetitive routine and actions all the time, anything will lose its attraction. I am always learning new aspects and that keeps me happy. I have gone to many clubs and events. I used to be the Production Manager for Beyond Leather and that is one of the best pansexual power exchange events in the U.S. currently running ( I highly recommend it. I enjoy our local offerings as well but as with any alternative lifestyle we like to keep those locations private, for obvious reasons.

Have you been involved in any events hosted by Temple Sahjaza or Goddess Rosemary who is a mutual friend of ours?

Funny you should ask that! I am heavily involved with Temple House Sahjaza – I am the Sacred Scribe et Custos Libros of the House, meaning, Keeper of the Blood, the Scrolls and all of our History. I am Elder-Magnus in the House as well. Yes, I am always involved with what is going on in the House including hosting our 2015 Fall Event at my home for Sahjaza members only. I can’t really get into the details of that since it is private and for members only. Goddess Rosemary is more than just a mutual friend; she is my High Priestess and Matriarch of our House, my Adra and the blood of her and my blood. Temple House Sahjaza has been around since 1976 when it started as the Black Rose Coven, later Z/n and now known as Temple House Sahjaza. We’ve held many types of events over the years with great success.

How often have you been involved in Sahjaza-hosted events and how would you describe the turnouts at each of them?
There have been many events over the years, too many to count but the turnout is always good, as it should be. Many people are curious about who the Sahjaza are and what we do, which brings people out to our events. Since formally being a part of Sahjaza, as an Elder-Magnus I am involved in pretty much everything going on, especially given my position.

Do you regret that many of the clubs that were active in the 90s have closed down thanks to our old friend gentrification?
It stinks that so many have gone away but they were around in the 70s and 80s not just the 90s and in many of the big cities like San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. It also depends if you were involved in the Gay Leather Community versus the Heterosexual Kinky Community. Most activities and events have always been word of mouth or underground before communities like Fetlife and other alternative sites make this lifestyle somewhat more mainstream, which is another gripe of mine but I choose not to speak on that right now. It wasn’t only gentrification that closed down these venues, however. I believe most people understand what happens over time. So of course I am saddened by the venues disappearing and the losses that the community has suffered like Lenny Waller who ran the Hellfire Club and the Vault where Goddess Rosemary used to host many events. They were dear friends.

Are there poets, erotic and otherwise, that you read at your leisure? Are any of them especially influential or inspirational to you?
I have several poets whom I quite adore. For dark romantic love subjects, I enjoy Pablo Neruda, Adrienne Rich, Allen Ginsberg, and William Carlos Williams. Other poets I enjoy that aren’t necessarily erotic are Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Maya Angelou, Yeats, Shel Silverstein and Edgar Allan Poe. All of the artists here have inspired and influenced me greatly for the many sides of my muse. As artists we can always learn and emulate but it’s important to create our own personal style.

Many people I interview admire the writings of Poe and consider him a profound influence. Do you generally prefer his poems or his fiction? In what ways would you consider his writings to be erotic?

Well, I am a gothy vampy girl after all (toothy grins). I don’t have a preference when it comes to Poe. I enjoy his stories and poetry equally. I have never found his work erotic, however. I would classify him as horror-suspense and just plain surreal sometimes. You asked in the previous question, “…erotic or otherwise…” I put Poe in the otherwise category. The poets I found erotic were Pablo Neruda, Adrienne Rich, Allen Ginsberg and William Carlos Williams. They have been more influential for my erotic writings. However the other poets mentioned have profoundly affected my way of being, thinking and feeling because words affect me on an utterly deep level – harkening back to my sapiosexuality.

Can you cite some examples from the poems of Pablo Neruda, Adrienne Rich, Allen Ginsberg and William Carlos Williams that spoke to you with their eroticism?
I will choose one for now from Pablo Neruda: From Love Sonnet 9: “I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair/Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets/Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day/I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.”

With all the topics we’ve been covering in mind, what are your thoughts regarding people who still want to censor music to this day, and people who still have misconceptions about witches and witchcraft?
I dislike censorship of any kind, regardless of genre. I believe in free speech – yes even the ugly and horrible because just like anything else, there has to be balance in the world. I believe that people who wish to silence and censor are consumed by fear and self-loathing that they can’t let change or anything different be heard or seen. Again, the same answer is true for people that have misconceptions of witches, alternative lifestyles and any other choice that is not main stream. My thoughts are simple, “free your mind and the rest will follow.”

Tell the readers some more about this new project you have in development. Who is working on it with you?
Well, I am going to disappoint you because it is a super secret project and I can’t reveal specific details yet. Suffice it to say, it will be racy, titillating and worth buying. You’ll want to own a copy. What I can say it will be a mixture of amazing photographs and poetry to compliment the pictures. But I can’t tell you who, how or what.
Thanks for talking with me today!

Corvo Obsidian Sahjaza on Facebook

-Dave Wolff

1 comment:

  1. This is some fantastic insight from an inspired writer.