Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

Poem by Patrick Shaughnessy

Painting by Samantha Milowsky

Riddle, March 2009

At the end, I'm going to tell you a riddle.

This butt
isn't going to paddle itself.
And if I have to keep getting up to work the camera,
that means I can't tie myself very much up,
doesn't it.
I don't know what it looks like up my own skirt,
moment to moment.
Someone else would know,
but it's not something I get to see.

I'm hoping you understand my problem here.
I'm supposed to be an object.
Or at least I'm trying to say
"Suppose I'm an object,"
in images.
But images need an observer
and I can't bloody well see myself
when I put a blindfold in the way,
and I like the blindfold,
and I want someone else to like the blindfold
so they can focus on the seeing
and I can focus
on nothing at all and go dead and
pose where I'm told and be looked at.

And it'd be nice too,
while I'm wishing here it'd be nice too,
if they held more than a camera.
A paddle;
not a whip, I wouldn't trust a whip,
but a leash,
a toy gun to fear,
a set of keys,
maybe other

Or not; or just a camera,
digital so we don't have to stop,
and that camera could mean everything
if we let it mean everything,
"I love you,"
"I own you,"
"you owe me,"
"I want you to feel happy,"
"I want you to feel frustrated,"
"I want you,"
"I want you to feel."
And what I want to mean is:
to hang as a decoration in your mind.
I want to play what a pet knows about its master,
and if there's a human part,
if there needs to be a human part,
if there should be a human part,
if there wants to be a human part,
it's in taking turns.

I would learn the view up your skirt
and the way your wrist bones parallel against rope
and the sound you make
when you want it to hurt more without saying so,
if those are things you want me to learn.

But you might not have the wishes that I have,
and maybe you just want to hold a camera
and help me with rope
and let me know what looks good when I pose
and not mean anything about owning,
not even for pretend.
We could do that. It'd be something to do.
And the pictures would be far better
than what I can get on my own.

I'm going to tell you a riddle now.
We could answer it together.
If an image cannot speak, why does it matter whether a model is gagged?