20 November 09

Backstory

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Photo by Eric Francis.

It is some months after these events; I’ve lost count. Not so many, let’s see—this was in September, and now it is November—so just under one season ago. It seems so distant and it seems like last week at the same time.

I remember that night as Siobhan and I walked across the playa. It was a journey on the surface of a different planet than the one we had come from, and neither of us forgot the image of the city as a temple complex. I described it when I had settled down a little. My description resembled both a feeling and a visual she experienced at the same time.

Fun Sway, who said she would be back to try that thing, thanked us for sharing the experience, and she plunged into the night. I was one to one with Siobhan and aware of the warmest space of acceptance by another person, safe and embracing. She didn’t need to speak to me and I didn’t need her too. This encouraged me to hold my silence and let so much that I was feeling swim around and find its world within me.

After a long silence, she leaned toward me and whispered into my ear. I smiled and squeezed her close. We gathered our things and I tidied up after the evening’s experience. It felt good to have clothes on; like I was snug and protected in my teeshirt, shorts and dusty sandals that had followed my feet all the way from Paris.

We slipped silently into the bright world of darkness that was a Burning Man night. We knew intuitively where to walk, which was to the western edge of the city. As I placed my feet on the Earth, I felt the space between my hips; the space inside my pelvis. I felt full and strong inside, with my weight centered below my naval.

I glanced at Siobhan as she walked, at her face and her hair streaming back, and then at her hips as they swayed. Her dress embraced her and trailed behind her as well. I smiled at her incredible beauty, the feeling of love spilling through my heart like a cup in there that had tipped.

We emerged onto the vast plateau from an angle that neither of us had ever seen – the far corner, as if on the distant edge of a strange continent. The world seemed to tip a little bit. All the perspectives were different. The lights exploded along the plane of the desert. Vehicles draped with illumination ambled along the terrain, some of them blaring music. Fiery exhibits lit the night with their dangerous orange flicker, splashed across the dust. Everything converged at the center, in the direction of the absolutely friendly effigy of a man standing high in the night, lit from within by blue and yellow neon strips.

I took her hand and we stepped into the open lake bed at the center of the city and headed toward the Man, far in the distance and halfway to the other shore.

16 November 09

A ripple in time

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Photo by Tristan Savatier / Playa-Dust.com

The next thing I remember is sudden a stab of pain, around my ass and extending to the base of my spine. Fun Sway had pulled back hard on the lever when I was not expecting it and I did all I could do, which was cry out and try to instantaneously relax the muscles that had suddenly spasmed around the penetration. I was spinning and afraid that I had blacked out.

Suddenly, in the wake of the shock and my fast response to relax into it, everything changed. In my mental vision I could see a vast temple complex across the floor of a desert. I recognized it as ancient Egypt. Yet I also recognized it as the city we were in. In my vision, it was daylight now; from the golden shade of the Sun and the angles of the shadows, I knew it was late afternoon.

Then I felt like I was vacuumed toward the land, into one of the temple chambers. I knew there were thousands of them, that I was in one of thousands of spaces, made infinite because of their trail in time and all the future souls who would inhabit them. I watched the scene unfold in the temple chamber. The priestess was kneeling before a man who was merely standing still and tall with his penis erect before him, and she was instructing him in breathing, in the exploration not of surrender but of his need to do so; in the art of desire, which he learned through consciously desiring her.

Behind her was a vast mirror – the only place mirrors were ever seen, giving them a mystical power of self-reflection that we don’t know about today, a force so potent that it could only be experienced with the assistance of a guide, and from time to time she guided him to see.

At the moment he touched himself to masturbate into her hands, with the rapid sense of being drawn as if by suction, I was called back into my physical body by the experience of my pelvis and torso throbbing. My feet clung to the floor for any stability at all, and I found it in Siobhan’s face, which glowed with yes like nothing I had ever seen.

My liquid spilled into her cupped hands as she moaned and I let my voice go in empathy with her and flooded her hands as she said, “Give this to yourself. You’re giving this to yourself,” which she repeated as her hands met my mouth and without hesitation spilled their contents onto my tongue and lips and flooded my throat as my throat throbbed in the rhythm of my climax.

Her hands slid across my face, warm and wet and then we were laughing uncontrollably, and she embraced me as I collapsed into her arms.

13 November 09

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Photo by Eric Francis.

When my senses faded back in, I began to understand rationally that I was naked inside a dome in the middle of a tent city, straddling a selfucking machine, my ass still fucked, my breath loose and breathy. In the distance, the deep beats of music throbbed – the basic sound of the Burning Man nightworld. Naked felt first like having bare feet with toes clutching the playa, through a thin sheet of dusty plastic tarp. Then the rest of me felt naked, particularly my face, which was wet.

An inner voice narrated silently. I had just orgasmed openly onto a cum-spattered mirror in front of two women I barely knew who were in that moment looking at me. I gazed into Fun Sway’s eyes, which were full of hot curiosity and the hint of confusion, and then shifted to Siobhan. I exhaled deeply, relieved, and drew in another breath looking at her face, as if the oxygen were coming from the vision of her. That oxygen fed a fire in me that burned the self judgments as they emerged into my awareness.

Another current of feeling sought my attention and this one verged on being uncomfortably honest; and then I remembered to love myself for giving myself an experience that I wanted so deeply, and that having fulfilled could not get enough of. I lifted the mirror from Fun Sway’s hands and, approaching it with my face, licked it cleaner, letting the remaining wet semen dissolve the old and swallowing a mixture of both.

I did this knowing that some part of me wanted to be ashamed of my actions but for some reason I did not understand could no longer could be. I grieved that loss because misgiving, which had once paralyzed me, had gradually become such a familiar friend, and we had learned to make love. I felt disoriented not knowing if the self-approval that was replacing it would feel nearly as intriguing. I opened my eyes and licked the mirror out to its edges.

As I swallowed with my watery mouth, I felt my heavy balls hanging down. My shaft was still hard; it never went down and I knew I wanted to let myself go again, this time gentler, grateful for the sex that gives me to myself that only i can do. I submitted to the paradox of the solitary beauty of my experience yet my profound need to be witnessed and understood as well.

I knew my honesty about this paradox would help heal me; as I opened my eyes I reminded myself of this and looked again through the stained, dark glass as if through a window; searched for the inner truth of the entity looking back, one less familiar than a moment ago; to whom I gave conscious permission to do what he wanted to do in that moment. This implied an understanding that I would not judge myself on the other end of the journey.

Then gazing up at Siobhan, she smiled with a glint of mischief. As she did, the whole other dimension of the experience – our sense of the expanded space and journey to the soul playa flashed back to me, as if a veil had been lifted from a whole portion of my brain. I could not sense the presence of distinct others in that space, but I could feel that they were there somewhere and that I could summon their attention. I touched the realm of infinite companionship of selflove.

I don’t know where I went or how much time elapsed but when I was again present in my immediate surroundings, Siobhan was holding the mirror and verbally inviting me to look, and what I saw were her extended hands of friendship, cradling the mirror, her sweet eyes and her neck that led to a torso whose delightful breasts informed the shape of the sheer fabric that gently covered them.

I fixated on her nipple, which in its erect state offered itself as a reason to surrender, or rather, gave me no choice.

9 November 09

The Plateau

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Photo by Eric Francis.

“Does it feel like we’re in a much bigger space than we are?” Siobhan asked.

“Vast space,” I said.

“A plateau,” she whispered.

My consciousness spread across the playa, in all directions over and across the miles of powdery skin, beyond the bounds of our city.

I breathed in and ascended. I exhaled and breathed in again and was lofted to an altitude where I could sense the perspective of the wider landscape. Playa, silent except for the wind, wrapped around many other mountains and reflecting the cosmic fire of the night sky.

There were people, and there were souls. The people were concentrated in our city. The souls did not speak, they only vibrated; like a fountain of energy moving mostly in one direction, which was tumbling. The wordless place, it was called among those in bodies.

“It’s so beautiful here,” I said.

“I understand,” she said lovingly. “I can feel the souls. You can let go of yourself here.”

Pleasure turned to nauseous fear. I don’t know why, sudden and harsh. The plane of the playa did not disappear, but I could not sense where it was; vertigo. What did that to me? I didn’t have time to think about it. I pressed my feet into the floor and the sensation subsided. My eyes had been closed; I opened them slowly and saw that I was in a dome with a high priestess sitting on the lakebed floor beside the oval mirror. Another was beside me, Fun Sway. She had picked up a round, black-framed mirror that had been laying on top of my belongings. She was studying her reflection. It was coated with a petina. The layers danced in an intricate pattern, spread in a plateau.

“Oh, I know what this is about,” she said bluntly. She’d been unaware of the space Siobhan and I had reached, the soul playa. She was very much in the real-life world of the sex dome at Burning Man on a summer evening. “I think you need to show us what you do with this,” she said.

My face must have shown my embarrassment. I was suddenly queasy with it, being here like this. In this position, having invited their presence so I could go deeper into my selfindulgence. But now I felt old and foolish and a little sick for putting myself in this position. I looked at one woman’s face and then the other, and then as if instructed glanced at myself; then I held my gaze; the supreme shame of this, as I moaned, and in my mind’s eye saw siobhan’s soft expression so unlike my own; so approving; and I understood that I was learning to see myself and feel myself as she witnessed, with her unmitigated compassion.

Then a reckless passion took over, and I pushed my knees apart, massaging my shaft with one hand and pulling the throttle back with the other, determined to release myself for her: an excuse.

Fucked, fucked again harder, being stared at and gazed at – Fun Sway held the platter with authority, and instructed me what to do.

“You know it. Let it out right there.”

Pressing into full-up and stretched inside and the sense of pressure was delicious; the most gorgeous anticipation. My most perfect empathy. I looked at Siobhan and understood she had never felt this; by her own soft admission, never having been reached into by so much as a finger.

I smiled wildly and oohhh was drawn out and elongated. My ass bucked against the seat and I looked first into the surface of the spattered mirror and then at Siobhan and then back at the mirror. I knew I would soon reach a point where I controlled nothing, and felt deeply welcoming of that; revealing myself to the inevitable.

When I began spouting, I bathed myself in compassion as urgent, delinquent forces of my soul throbbed and I announced my existence to the universe. The first jet splashed clear across the smaller mirror she was holding, and then dripping down the oval one that Lucille had played in earlier that day; the one facing up at me. Another gush happened to me and I glanced Siobhan’s expression of acknowledgment and respect, and as the shame surged through me I noticed how incongruous it was with the delicacy of her caring.

My resistance gave way and I loved myself.

One gush after the next spilled onto the plateau, some onto Fun Sway’s hand and wrist, and a bit onto the floor and I studied it all gathered there, fascinated with my existence. Siobhan’s eyes were flushed and as I glanced her face she sobbed delicately.

I felt myself sink toward the humiliation like psychic quicksand. Before I had time to submit I was confronted with something more beautiful, humility. Fun Sway raised the mirror to my face and I leaned in toward it, and we met; it was cooler than I was expecting and sweet to my scent and my mouth sucked in the liquid that had just come out of me. I opened my eyes knowing there would be a reflection, terrified at the prospect of what I might see. My face was sweet and relaxed, female and male.

7 November 09

Curiosity

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Photo by Eric Francis.

I was alone again, in the dim light of the Erodome. Just as human presence had sent me deeper into myself, solitude sent me deeper still. I was again aware of faint sounds from the street outside. I pumped and rocked with new abandon, and I let my voice go. My awareness burst onto what felt like a wide field of reality, where I was alone but not alone; where it was silent but where the invisible presence of others vibrated with an energy that most resembled sound.

Each time I rocked and pulled and penetrated myself again, a wave of energy rippled into the ether, carried by my voice. Then I would listen into the silence, and I recognized that I was listening for a reply. In the distance, I could sense that others were exploring themselves as well. I responded to this by dropping deeper into myself, by letting go of any vestiges of resistance that I was aware of, resistance that I recognized as judgment or as shame as it immolated. Naked felt beautiful and beautiful felt free. I pressed my feet into the plastic sheet that separated me from the ancient lake bed of the playa. As I felt myself ground into the Earth, my awareness expanded.

My pleasure felt like a beacon of acceptance and selfsurrender. I plunged again, and the energy surged up through my core, light up my heart center and emanated from my forehead. I looked down into the mirror and made eye contact again and I was aware of being on the etheric level and in the room simultaneously; the sense of two places at once.

“Listen to that. I’m curious what’s happening.”

It was a softly spoken female voice, behind me.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” another female voice replied. This one I recognized – Siobhan, the Irish girl I had been speaking to and longing for this morning, the youngest member of our camp. Her long, dark blond hair swayed in the dim light of the room, and I could see the outline of her body in a white sun dress. She was 18 and, from what I had learned that morning, a virgin.

With her was Fun Sway, who I had met in passing a few times but hadn’t had a chance to meet; this was our first direct encounter.

She sidled up next to me and said, “Hi Fidel! Nate sent us. She said something interesting was happening in here and that it involved you.”

I looked at her and then I looked at Siobhan. Her eyes searched deep into mine, too deep for comfort. I looked into the mirror for refuge, and her eyes followed me there. They were both as consumed in their curiosity as I was in my experience. I looked back and forth between their faces, continuing to plunge into myself repeatedly. I had stopped moaning when I became aware of their presence, but again I let go of my voice and let the feelings of pleasure and confession.

Siobhan studied my face and I studied hers, and I felt a surge of orgasm percolate from me, the rare, magnificent sensation of orgasm from penetration alone. I was suddenly aware of my cock springing from my core like a tree branch, and with the sensation of imminent orgasm I did not want the pleasure to end.

With a wave of emotion and a deep rumble in my chest, I single perk of semen spouted out of me, bubbling up from a new and unfamiliar place. I caught it in my palm and licked it off without hesitation. Its grassy scent and indescribable flavor washed through my senses and seemed to fill the room. My face was wet and cool in the night air, and I swallowed looking at Siobhan as she gasped softly. I had climaxed but the tension I was holding did not leave me. In fact it only heightened, and I rocked and plunged again. I barely recognized my own face. I knew that soon I might need to again, and I wanted to be looking at her, such a beautiful mirror.

“Oh my god, this is intense,” Fun Sway announced.

Siobhan sat down in front of me, next to the mirror, and gazed at me compassionately and held me in her deeply comforting empathy. I pressed my feet into the floor again and pulled hard on the rocker, arching my back forward and showing her what it was like to be fucked.

The space opened up again – the etheric dimension where people go when they are making love to themselves. Again I was fully in both places. I wanted to explain to her where I was and what was happening. But I could not speak.

5 November 09

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Dancer at Burning Man ritual. Photo by Eric Francis.

She rocked my hips and guided me toward myself using her emotions as a beacon. Standing on either side were two men. Their eyes engulfed me with their witness. In the mirror in front of me, I could look at them or look at myself; I chose myself. She leaned with her breath close to my ear. ‘Forget about dignity’, she advised softly. ‘That’s what it’s about. Now’s when you can let it all go’. To me that meant moan. It meant let it happen, and press my feet into the floor to stretch my thighs, so I did. I would say that I grunted shamelessly but in truth I grunted out my shame and loved the guttural quality of the emotion. ‘There you go, baby’, she said. ‘Both of these boys are going to fuck me soon and I’m gonna take it like you are now’.

I didn’t know if that meant she would do it right there, but before that thought flashed through my mind, she was getting up. I would not see, though I would know. She reached over and squeezed the tip of my penis, making it twitch. ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’ she said teasingly. ‘Send someone else’, I said. I heard the words come out, and gasped slightly as my eyes glanced hers. ‘I’ll see what I can do’, she said, and stood up slowly and glided to the door, followed by her lovers. I fucked myself mercilessly. I sang to the city outside as the night world thrived. Gradually I settled back to earth and into a slow rhythm of upward plunges, and flooded the space with my presence.

4 November 09

You are your lover

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Imagine this space in darkness except for a few strings of holiday lights. The little bulbs threw off enough lumens to create some visibility, though it was hazy and sweetly scented by the colors and my awareness of everything that had happened there.

From my musings that evening, I understood that soaking in the specific passions of women gave me the inclination to taste some of what they might be feeling. So I made it a point to indulge the love of their emotional fruit, as witness to their own eating of it. And doing that I empathized and harmonized and committed to find it and feel whatever that was, within myself. Desire to the point of empathy. I can say that now. Then, in that moment, I just needed to let the feeling out.

I slipped into the cavernous white dome as the city came to life around me. In the dim silence of the space, I set up the Monkey Rocker. It was designed so that any flat-based dildo could be attached to the little platform. From my bag, I chose a purple one that fit me well, and coated it in shea butter. I stripped off my shorts and tee shirt and sat on the thing like I knew what I was doing. Then I placed the mirror where I would be able to see myself, if I ever dared to look. The intention of this act had a sweetness to the honesty, as I did the gesture for myself conscious of embarrassment. Yet it was embarrassment in my own presence, alone.

I sat down on the thing for the first time, fully naked to the air in the room, and I grabbed the handle. When I pulled it, I rocked forward and the dildo moved up and pressed into me. I tried this a few times and worked it gently into my body and then pulled it in suddenly and held myself and held my breath and wanted more.

I tried rocking, and I was pierced. I groaned and pressed my feet flat into the dusty floor and pulled hard on the throttle, again.

Images from the earlier in the day washed through my mind, and the feeling of remembering. Mainly the lack of inhibition in the women I had seen and taken in. Set free within myself. Set free by not fucking, and also set myself free, spurred by their presence.

Reassurance held me gently, hot and beautiful, of the eternal nature of woman. Any individual person would pass from the world, but womanity herself would exist for millennia. She would pull apart her knees forever, and my passing through the world felt like a brief instant spent in awareness of that. She was eternal. Then I recognized the selfdeception in thinking that the millennia were endless. That womanity herself would die; the human form would die, male and female. Who first? This thoughtstream as I saw in my mind’s sky her red hair splayed out around her and feelings thrusting in with her three fingers, mirror balanced on her knees as Julia moaned in return. I looked at Lucille’s breasts peaked with nipples reaching out.

I thrust on the rocker again and remembered where I was, the bubble of fantasy pierced by another hot jab of penetration into my body. Energy squished between the worlds of carnal and imaginal pleasures as the colors gradually mixed. When my moan ended I heard faint voices outside, distant, and it occurred to me for the first time that someone could actually be listening to my little orgy. Someone could be standing on the street a few meters from the tent wondering curiously what the sounds they heard related to.

I jabbed again and moaned intentionally, calling for any anonymous auditory witness to love me, yearning for it to be a woman’s ears who took in my cry. Then I heard voices immediately behind me. A woman’s voice, and then a man’s voice.

“Let’s come play in here some time,” she said. He began speaking but she cut him off when she spoke my name.
—Fidel! Look what you’re doing.

I was so out there I thought she meant it literally, to look down into the mirror, so I opened my eyes and for the first time witnessed the spectacle of myself. My own eyes were looking back, seeming very surprised to be seeing what they were seeing.

The woman was Nate, my neighbor in the tent area, the woman with the Venusian encampment with two men; right behind my own tent; both of whom I realized were with her at the moment. Keeping my rhythm, I rocked and pierced myself as I thought these things. Nate squatted down behind me and talked to me through the mirror.
—Yeah. This is it. This is what you’ve been wanting. I could see it on your face. Look at your face. No, look sweetly.

I relaxed and let the judgment out of myself and caught a glimpse of a beautiful man.
—And two beautiful men are watching you. Look at them, look for a moment. She knew that look meant show, and though I already felt like I was doing that, facial contact pushed me down deeper and yet there was nowhere I could go.

I felt hands clasp my hips and encourage my rocking. Encouraging me to rock deeper, sweeter, warmer to the rhythm of oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah as I watched my most fucked face and her eyes smiled up at me.
—Yeah, you’re the one. Be your lover. That’s what happening. Let it happen.

30 October 09

Into the dream of night

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Center camp scene, photo by Lucille.

What do yo do after that experience? Lucille and I went out taking photos. It was my first moment out at Burning Man with a camera. I had an extra camera, a very nice baby Fuji Finepix, that I dug out for Lucille, and we plunged into the early evening.

I was transcendentally horny. Roaming the streets of the city, there were hot asses everywhere. Burning Man is the place to flaunt your ass like you can nowhere else. I wanted to squish my face into the crotch of every elegantly swaying set of hips. I was thirsty in that distinct way that originates in my pineal gland. But mostly I was burning with curiosity about the female scent in its many forms. I sniffed anyone I wished with my third eye.

My first eyes feasted as well. You never know what you’re going to see when you step out in to the night, and thus what you might feel. At centercamp, a womanly, friendly lesbian named Bobbie was there. I knew her from our camp. She walked as if in odd gravity on spring-loaded stilts, swaying with each step, and with batwings that swayed with each step. Her ass looked at me from face level. I wanted to smell her, but instead I walked up to her and told her she looked amazing. I looked at her sweet, cool face and imagined what it would be like to give her cunnilingus as she stood lightly on her spring feet.

Another woman was with her, ass bursting through her chaps, and it occurred to me that she was likely one who did some licking.

I felt like I had been smoking Cialis freebase, mixed with a mild hallucinogen that gave everything a liquid sense of unreality. We wandered through centercamp and gazed at the oversized art and met the still, silent white spiderwoman. I clasped her hips with my mind and knew how magnificent it would be to fuck myself into unraveling, my cock diving within her introverted space. She glanced at me as the thought flushed through my senses. Lovers, for an instant.

At a certain point Lucille wanted to head off; she handed me the camera, we hugged for a long time. I smelled her hair as I squished her little naked body against me, and I watched her disappear into the dust and haze and people of the desert evening.

I wandered through the labyrinth to Poly Paradise, and entered the camp from the back opening near the trailer of the boob-examining physicist and his nurse wife. I packed away my cameras, grabbed my green flannel bag with my toys, and went straight to the Erodome. Nobody was there; everyone was at some special dinner event that the camp was holding—playa pizza night.

The dome was empty. I arranged the mirror that Lucille had been playing with in front of the Monkey Rocker.

27 October 09

Space and time

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Julia in the Erodome. Photo by Eric Francis.

We seemed to float in space. No other presence around – my mental space shifted and I was joined in a trimind with Lucille and the the lady from Russia, who gazed at us languidly. What we felt among us I can only describe as understanding. On a level so deep it lacked any opposite; as if we were the last or only three on the world.

I could smell cunt and cum in a melange that resembled neither. I softly clasped Lucille’s leg. I wanted to lick and fuck what I was witnessing. Yet at the same time I revered her self-possession and a boundary pierced only by awareness. She pressed her fingers into her flesh, offering visceral delight. Erotic yearning filled me with thirst. I connected this vision to the creation of existence as caused and celebrated by the mixing of waters and breath in penetration.

I recognized two things, in a wave of each, richly blended at the center. I was looking into the source of life; semen, freshly spurted into a vagina. The vagina and vulva were wet with her own secretions and feeling full and strong from repeated thrusting, of which we had all been aware. Received entirely, given fully, and laid open to all our beauty. Her beauty was our own. Her nature.

And, I was not the one to do this; not the one to have done this with her and not one who would. I might want, yearn, crave, desire – but did not have. I wanted to love and to swim in his seed in her soft marsh, first with my mouth and then and leave my own seed as well; but this was not to happen, and I let myself feel that. I glanced at Lucille, young and fertile and alive, and needed to mount her. I would not; despite her knees being pulled apart softly. This was simply a silent understanding. This, experienced with full recognition of her beauty: her lovers were herself and others besides me.

Therefore slipping into the reality that in this moment of encountering the fertile essence of human nature, I was encountering the other human nature. I was thirsty for myself. I understood, subtly, that I was allowing myself to be pressed into this corner of my feelings.

I subtly resented them for not being able to have them, and the moment I felt that, the feeling yielded to being deeply grateful that they provided me with a way in to my desperately complex matrix. I felt them experience my submission to myself and my own ends. Their approval flushed through the circuit that we all made. It was now my privilege or need to accept their grace. I feared I would seem less in their eyes. I felt to such pleasant surprise that in my willingness to accept myself, that I was only so much more.

She brought her thighs together slowly, swallowing the mix of anima and animus in her pelvis. Voices from the street right outside the dome filtered into the late afternoon space.

26 October 09

Anything for art

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In the Erodome. Photo by Eric Francis.

She now begged for her lover to ejaculate into her. Or perhaps she encouraged him longingly. I watched as he thrust his reality into her core, all breath and motion.

For me, witnessing male-female coitus is cosmic. Erotic on a scale I never considered existed. I began exploring first in my imagination. Then, circumstances would manifest occasionally. Unexpectedly, such as now. His ass thrust between her thighs and the dome seemed to rock as he did so.

She moaned yes over and over a few times anticipating his release into her, and then he came, silently. She seemed to reel back in the initial wave of his storm surge. I was watching from behind and slightly beneath, and his shaft throbbed in that magnificent pumping as the semen entered her. Everything about her received him, from her voice to her hands clasped around him, her hips tipped upward to collect a pool in the throat of her uterus.

Lucille’s awareness embraced this as well. We watched together in that moment, astonished, beholding the primal scene. He withdrew himself from her, leaving her semen filled vagina visible to us, and I gasped audibly. My camera was still in my hands. I said, may I please photograph you?

Sincerely and directly.

All I had to do was ask. She reached down and spread her lips.

“Anything for art,” she said.

24 October 09

What we don't have to hide from ourselves

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Lucille in bliss. Photo by Eric Francis.

Her face was melting in that way that is characteristic of being on the verge of orgasm. Her features softened, she was flushed and never stopped witnessing herself. She drew consciously deep breaths, then her breath would shorten as she approached her edge. Then she would breathe deeply again and retreat. She was choosing her moment.

On the bed next to us, the lovers went deeper. I watched as she unmounted him, rolled onto her back, and pulled up her knees in the unmistakable gesture of inviting penetration. Her lover merged with her again, and now relieved of any need to control her body, her moans of surrender were more articulated, blended with bursts of breathless, impassioned Russian speech. Her legs hung apart from one another languidly and tossed in the motion.

Lucille had clasped her mirror between her knees. It leaned toward her at the perfect angle and she maintained eye contact. Her curiosity and her willingness to bestow surrender upon herself was not a furtive experience. Nor was this something that seemed particularly new: though in a new moment, she felt delightfully familiar with her pace of self-responsiveness. There was no self-clinging at all, just wave after wave of freedom.

I watched her pelvis thrust against her hands, and then felt her release as heat and compassion washed through my sensorium. Her soft moans filled the bright room, mingling with those of the Russian woman. It was as if they were communicating empathically through their primal sound. Lucille settled into deep breathing. I wanted to hold her with my strength and steadiness, but I left her to herself and continued photographing.

24 October 09

The Lovers

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The Lovers. Photo by Eric Francis.

Only once did I speak to her during the session, which was to ask if it was okay if I could photograph her hands and her vulva. I was soaked in curiosity what she looked like. She looked at me languidly and nodded yes. I shifted positions and was treated to the most extraordinary perspective. And to her scent, which was lush and inviting, mingled with the ubiquitous background of playa dust.

Having me closer to her seemed to embolden her. I was directly viewing the space between her and he mirror. She lowered the mirror and kissed herself, in the wide-open afternoon. This gesture was so authentic and free that it rippled into my emotions and, in that moment shook something loose from me, some inhibition I had been unconsciously carrying.

Self-awareness is so often wrought with shame that we cannot bear it for more than a few moments. Lucille held herself firmly and without pretense. I understood that her unconditional acceptance of whatever she felt was at the core of her sense of being so at-home in her skin; her creative passion; and her extraordinary freedom to love and share pleasure.

Her hand glided against her belly and I watched as her fingers parted the lips of her labia. And as I witnessed her and loved her and felt her, she masturbated freely and beautifully, sharing from the core of her being. She watched as this happened, swirling into her perceptions, feeling herself so lovingly.

23 October 09

Mirror surfing

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Lucille in the Erodome. Photo by Eric Francis.

When I am photographing someone, I do my best to track them. I use a combination of common sense, therapy skills and psychic skills, and without crowding them, maintain awareness of their state of mind and feeling. Lucille was one of the most self-contained women I’ve ever worked with, fully self-aware and not at all self-conscious. She that awareness of herself like the Earth holds the Moon to its gravity, silently and steadily.

A few feet away, the couple on the air bed was a bit less quiet. I could see them directly, naked and, at the moment, taking turns exchanging oral sex. They seemed to have no inhibitions, and appreciated both company and the experience of being seen exploring the depths of the passion. I hadn’t met them and didn’t recognize them. They asked one another directly for their gestures of love and pleasure. The woman spoke in an accent I could not identify, and and as her passion would grow she lost her ability to speak English and would morph into what turned out to be Russian.

I followed Lucille as she explored herself, gazed into her own eyes and danced with her image. She seemed oblivious to what was going on just a meter or two away, though I was not; I kept pausing, unable to resist looking and feeling the beauty of the erotic communication that was right there for me to witness and in a sense to experience. Then I would return to Lucille, who seemed so self-absorbed that she didn’t notice my absence for a few moments.

She focused her energy and took hold of the mirror, balancing it on her knees and supporting it with one hand. This left the other hand free. I noticed that she was masturbating. Watching herself intently with the mirror at a close distance, both witnessing and experiencing her presence and her pleasure. She was gentle with herself and yet direct, as though she knew exactly what she wanted.

The Russian woman, lifting her head from going down on her lover, looked up and saw what was happening. For a moment she made eye contact with me, direct and penetrating eye contact, injecting her heat and craving into my body; she then turned away and mounted her lover. As she did, she whispered something in his ear.

I breathed, one breath at a time.

Now to one side of me, the Russian woman was fucking her partner, rocking her magnificent hips as I watched from behind, moaning vocally her most private emotions. In front of me, a luscious, alive young woman was making love to herself. She quickly transcended what we think of as masturbation and was submitting to herself entirely, her eyes open for all but brief intervals.

The guy napping in the other bed was stirred to consciousness by this activity. I watched him prop himself up and look directly at Lucille; then at the couple; then at Lucille, who was spread wide beneath her mirror: a sight few people could even imagine, much less actually hope to see. His view was directly between her thighs, which at their meeting place were bursting with soft red hair. At no point was she distracted by him, or by me, or by the increasingly passionate fucking in the next bed.

21 October 09

Opening space

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Lucille in the Erodome. Photo by Eric Francis.

Let’s see if I can describe my immediacy of the experience. One thing I know is that in embarking on this journey with her I surrendered any of my presumed male prerogative to fuck her. This is a subtle shift, and it’s only barely conscious. It’s about space; the nature of the space, which includes a woman dropping her guard and opening her body and her energy all the way. I did not ‘give her her space’, but rather affirmed it. She gave it to herself – as you’ll see, she is adept at creating her reality, and in the process, demonstrating what is possible when we let go of inhibitions. I held my mind open to embrace her freedom and witness her beauty as something entirely her own. I provided an opening within myself, another way of saying that I surrendered control. From there I let her work her miracle of opening, of abolishing any regret of existence.

21 October 09

We weren't alone

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Lucille. Photo by Eric Francis.

I prefer to create photographs in a one-on-one situation with my models. I find that the rapport is so subtle and at times fragile that it’s easier to create a safe container when it’s just the two of us. Initially my traveling partner wanted to be in the space with us, and this was fine with Lucille; but I knew it wasn’t going to work for me to have someone watching. When we arrived in the space, there was a couple on one of the air beds, and a guy I didn’t recognize taking a nap in another one.

We were in a communal erotic space, so I went with the circumstances. The energy felt light and flexible. I began setting up my pristine cameras. Lucille opened up some space in the middle of the floor, and put down a white towel. She found the big oval mirror that I brought from Reno and, using a squirt bottle of vinegar and some newspaper, washed off the coating of playa dust that had gathered on its surface. One of the themes of Burning Man is surrendering to the dust. We spend a good bit of our lives trying to get rid of dust, and photographers in particular specialize in this. We have all kinds of blowers and mini-vacuum cleaners and cleaning kits designed to remove the little bits of the dissolving universe that collect on our gear.

Once you got to the playa, you could barely do this at all, and never for long; but she got the mirror pretty clean. For my part, I set up my lenses and cameras in a way that I knew was a good configuration and, wanting to keep the dust out of the camera bodies and the interiors of the lenses, never took them apart until I was back in my hotel room in Reno a week later.

Lucille began exploring her image in the mirror, without the least hint of inhibition. She told me that she had been fucked by one of her lovers a little while earlier, which got my heart pounding. I glanced down at her belly and pelvis, and envisioned her straddling him or leaning back and inviting him to take her; I could feel her craving for pleasure and her willingness to bestow it on others easily. She told me, I am sure, because in one of her first conversations I revealed that I was curious about the erotic encounters of my female friends. It had the feeling of a gift.

As she related to the mirror, she was curious and intense, which soon melted into a gentle sweetness with herself. In the bed near us, the couple was getting warmed up. From where I was, I could see them; Lucille could not, but she could hear them. They were not inhibited. They did their thing, and clearly they wanted people nearby when they did.

As Lucille began to explore herself, they began to explore one another.

20 October 09

Codename: Lucille

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Lucille at Poly Paradise, Burning Man 2009. Photo by Eric Francis.

I didn’t take my cameras out of my bag till I had a really good reason to, and that reason was Lucille.

This is her modeling codename and it’s taking a little getting used to; I know her by a different name. It doesn’t really matter. As one trippy boy who was an astute scholar of the occult announced one evening, Lucille was the embodiment of Venus on the playa.

There was something blissful and as-if-I-were-dreaming about this girl, with her floods of red hair and unabashed openness about sex. Young (23 years old), gorgeous and a delightful mix of sweet and salty, she seemed to be around Poly Paradise every time I walked into the main tent, though her real home was a dance-themed camp across the street.

All I ever saw her wear was a khaki denim tool belt, which clasped her adorable hips, and to which she attached her flashlight, dust mask, goggles, canteen and various souvenirs, such as her Genital ID card that some camp was producing. You could get your genitals photographed and the picture would be made into a form of identification; typical Burning Man logic.

She was fearless and friendly and all love. I adored her. So I asked her to model; she was the first person I approached. Specifically, I asked her to do a mirror session with no special plans for what would happen; only photos of her looking into a mirror – the basic Book of Blue warmup, and she said yes without hesitation.

We found one another in the main tent when the time came, I got my cameras out of the car, and we walked over to the Sex Dome, which seemed the obvious place to create the photos.

19 October 09

Adventures at Burning Man: The Dome

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Entrance to Poly Paradise at Burning Man 2009. Photo by Eric Francis, nee Fidel.

I am back, after a hiatus that coincided with Mercury retrograde, the end of Jupiter retrograde and the Libra New Moon.

In this photo, we see the entrance to Poly Paradise, at 4:30 and Chaos. It’s the night view, of course; every evening someone would bring out a box of glow sticks and, in that characteristically unsustainable way reminiscent of Burning Man, decorate the entrance portal to our camp with colored lights.

The path leading to the main entrance is really about three or four meters and the glow sticks were decorating a series of archways. It was one of the most inviting camp entrances I had seen, leading to a friendly and adventurous place; a place where people would attempt to make pizza and roast turkeys in makeshift ovens, and it always worked.

There was soda and beer and chocolate and a “get the camp drunk day,” and the mayor of the camp, who had an unusual aura of authority, was frequently seen walking around with a plate of cookies like the h’ors d’oeuvre waiter. He was the boss, therefore everyone could have fun; the ultimate Long Island guy, who now lived in Texas and his charisma drew on a mix of both. The feeling of the place was, there are no adults around to tell anyone what to do or not do. Burning Man is often the embodiment of true anarchy – a sense of personal responsibility coupled with actual freedom.

All those Christmas lights and a few other devices were powered by a single Honda generator, located out the back door to the right side of the photo. The theme of the camp was nonmonogamous relationships; that is, if you were polyamorous or friends with someone who was, you could camp there. The fee for camping and food was $125 per person for the week, if you were an official resident. Every person also was asked to donate five gallons of water to the camp supply.

What I liked the best about Poly Paradise was that anyone could wander in off the playa and eat, drink, fill their water bottle and/or hang out. I long for places where the leadership is cool and people aren’t hassled for nothing; and where we figure out that there’s actually plenty of food to go around.

My other favorite bit about Poly Paradise was the sex dome. Off to the back of the camp was a white geodesic dome about 10 meters across (of which I don’t have a single photo from the outside, it never occurred to me to create one) that was devoted to erotic activity. The dome, made of hundreds of aluminum pentagons and hexagons, was encased in white plastic sheeting. The space was bright and spacious inside, and the environment gritty from the playa. A curtain protected the entrance from direct view from the outside. Once you were inside, the room was divided by sheets of fabric hanging from the ceiling that created some sense of the space being loosely divided.

The space was equipped as follows: there were about four queen size air mattresses; a safe sex condiment bar with stuff like lube, baby wipes and condoms; and a Monkey Rocker. That’s a thing you straddle, with a seat that rocks (with the help of a throttle stick). There’s a platform that moves up and down to which you attach one of those flat-based dildos and you can basically fuck yourself silly. The whole thing with selfucking is that it’s difficult to be the fucker and the fuckee at the same time; it’s hard to relax and take it when you’re the one who has to give it. The Monkey Rocker solves this problem, since all you have to do is relax and rock. I suggest you Google the thing, it will be more obvious how it works.

To this ensemble I added a large elliptical mirror, which I acquired just before leaving Reno, anticipating the possibility of doing Book of Blue photo sessions.

As for how the space was used, anyone could enter at any time; there were no rules except that if you went in, you might be confronted by erotic activity of some kind. Obviously one was expected to be respectful and give others their space, but besides that, you would do what you wanted, when you wanted, with whomever was willing to be there with you; or you could be on your own while others did their thing, or be there alone.

My own plan for Burning Man was not to have sex; sex being defined as contact sex—oral or penetrative partnersex. Given that I’m fairly picky about who I do that kind of thing with, and tend to want a careful energy check that takes longer than a week, it was a fairly easy guideline to follow. I was curious to see what would happen in the way of interesting masturbation experiences.

This, at the same time as being confronted by so many incredibly beautiful women wearing so little and looking so good; and so many couples where the energy vibed out, and generally a good few people having so much sex that someone remarked (and not about Poly Paradise but rather about Burning Man in general), “All the men taste like condoms. All the women taste like baby wipes.”

Then there were a lot, half a city perhaps, of people who did it only with themselves. A plasma of imagination and soft moans in the enormous night.

4 October 09

A word a day

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Snapshot. Photo by Eric Francis.

My photos from this summer feel like a study in the ambiguity of women’s erotic boundaries with themselves.

These delineations exist in consciousness or below it: the rules we live by, such as how we feel about ourselves. Exploring a boundary with yourself, much of what happens is giving yourself permission to do so. In that space, the permission given is to exist without tribulation. A kind of emotional self-gifting allows the embrace (perhaps based on trust born that moment) of crossing a line, and accepting the pleasure of doing so with awareness. For some the sensation is that of releasing the tyranny of perfectionism and expectation.

When you surrender yourself to documentation, that’s a special kind of letting go due to the undeniable quality of an image. It is a form of commitment that one will live with what is created. That is the honesty of art, that it preserves something of the emotional quality of the past and entices its maker and participants to face the moment, and face it again in the future.

2 October 09

A word a day

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Photo by Eric Francis.

6 September 09

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Back…cleaning cameras…very tan…

That was a dream

I remember some of it

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