Our Acreage and Lux Carnis
By Anel Viz

The two works contained in this volume celebrate both the physical and spiritual sides of the author’s love for his partner of four years. Both are frankly and unabashedly homoerotic.

The prose poem cycle Lux Carnis (“Light of the Flesh”) focuses on a diversity of aspects of the gay experience, following two men as their love develops into a monogamous, committed relationship, admittedly an exception in the current gay subculture, though not as uncommon as some would have us believe. The author attributes this to psychological factors, i.e., the underlying promiscuousness of the male sex drive, but to societal pressures as well. So the progress of the couple’s love is interspersed with contrasting experiences of other gay men, or perhaps their own: the fear of declaring one’s desire, the awareness of others’ disapproval and their need for acceptance, the self-destructive impulse to lose oneself in anonymous sexual contact. The gaudy tattoo in the third poem, for example, is an allegory for the overwhelming need to “be himself” that every closeted gay man feels at one time or another: “The rainforest shrieked its shrill cries unheard, as silent and insistent as the repressed sexuality of his workaday world.” As the cycle progresses, the spiritual dimension of gay union comes to dominate the physical. The “Light of the Flesh” does not proceed from the flesh, but rather infuses and transforms it. “A million gay men walk about who bear the transformation of this searing sunrise.”

By contrast, Our Acreage is a single prose poem in five cantos that focuses on the physical aspects of gay sexuality. After the initial explosion of mutual discovery, each canto describes in a variety of metaphors four acts of homoerotic love: rimming, fellatio, cuddling, and anal intercourse. But the spiritual dimension is always implicit, for the two bodies are one. “We have ceded one another our bodies from tongue to toes – blood, bone, skin, nerve endings, the most secret folds of the mucosa. Drifting off, sleeping, or slowly returning to consciousness we each feel the other’s body as our own.” Thus, the sexual union of two bodies is presented as a microcosm of the seasons, intimately tied to the most basic and universal processes and activities that characterize human life: breathing, sleep, nourishment, work, leisure, worship, and of course love. The recurring references to the fecundity of Nature speak to the objection that a same-sex relationship is by definition sterile, since it cannot produce offspring.

As Lux Carnis ends with the triumph of love, so Our Acreage ends with the triumph of life: “trees cling to the earth, and the proudest and most towering cling the most fiercely, desperately for survival, desperately in love, and they draw as much of their sustenance from that love as from the nutrients dissolved in the soil. And Mother Earth feels their roots as a part of her flesh.

Anel Viz was born and raised on the East Coast of the United States, but has lived about one-quarter of his life abroad, mostly in French-speaking countries. The French poetic tradition has had as large an influence on his work as contemporary American poetry

Letterpress printed from photopolymer plates on Frankfurt Cream mouldmade paper. Digitally typeset in Adobe InDesign using Aldus and Trajan types, with linoleum relief print illustrations by Laura J. Thomson. Quarter bound in a dos á dos form with Asahi Japanese silk bookcloth, Roma and Fabriano Ingres papers

Edition of 50 with 10 proofs
5x7 inches, 52 page

$95.00 including shipping in the U.S.