570 Words on ‘Anus’

On February 25th, I went to a poetry reading located at my college, Georgia Tech. I expected three poets to read their poems on a two-foot-high stage, while I dozed off, or doodled on my notepad, or played candy crush on my IPhone. Shocking to me, I did none of this, for in all sincerity, these three poets seized my attention for the complete reading. I suppose it was the words ‘anus’, ‘penis’, and ‘fuck’, that acted as electric shocks, jolting me awake every time my eyes fluttered in response to a week’s long build-up of exhaustion. Why is it that I am appalled by the word ‘anus’? Consciously, I cannot fathom a reasonable excuse, but I do know that when I hear the word aloud, my shoulders tense up, and I want to forcibly cover my hears with my hands. For a New Jersey native, raised by a Brooklyn-born dad, profanities shouldn’t appear mystical or uncomfortable; however, the word ‘anus’ makes me want to hurl my arms across my face. What on earth is wrong with the word ‘anus’?

Anus, anus, anus, anus, anus… anus. There… I said it six times, but I am deceitful because I am saying it in my head, and as I write this piece while sitting in a student filled, hustling Starbucks, I imagine saying the word out loud. I imagine standing from my chair, clearing my throat, shuffling my feet for a few seconds, and then proudly saying, “ANUS”, and I wonder what the reactions of the students would be. I envision myself taking a survey, and asking all these diligent individuals not thinking about anuses, “how do you feel about the word anus?” Last Thursday, when my eyes were plastered to the poet’s mouths as they read their poems, Jeffrey McDaniel was the poet who exposed this morose word to my ears. I cannot recall in what sense he said this word, but in that moment, I pictured a small infant clenching its rear-end, in the act to defecate.  Can you see a pattern here? Is it beginning to make sense? I say defecate, for I cannot say ___, and I said rear-end because I squirm when I here the word ___. I suppose one could say I am sensitive to literal bathroom talk, and I would not deny it. I could prance around this Starbucks screaming ‘fuck’ and even ‘penis’, but that word ‘anus’ is absolutely intolerable, like suffering from severe bouts of nausea, where you’d rather die than live.

Maybe a shrink could trace my anal anxiety to a time in my childhood where I experienced some twisted event resulting in an ‘anus’ being placed next to my face or my hand. My nose? Perhaps I have deleted vivid memories of disturbing anal moments from my brain, and now as a result, I am extra sensitive to the word. I do not know if I will ever overcome my intense feelings of hatred for the word, and it is unfortunate that it makes me sore around poets who feel they are reading a poem from the heart. More like a poem from the ‘anus’…. Should I be thinking, “how sweet!”, when I hear that word ‘anus’? Pardon my language, but why the fuck does anyone have to include ‘anus’ in his or her literature?

It should be banned.

It’s inconclusive.

I detest it.

Forgive me.


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