The Cadence of Lovers

The incessant, high-pitched eee of a squeaky bed. Quick and regular moans. What better way to capture the cadence of lovers than with repetition?

In “Little Fuckers,” Butler carries readers into an emotional landscape on language forged on the rhythms of sex: “and I am wooing still and she will say yes and we will marry.” In Walt Whitman’s interior monologue in his clutch with Oscar Wilde, words propel the poet into sex: “cast off pink cravat, cast off white silk shirt, cast off salmon-colored stockings.” And Jean-Paul Sartre attempts to smother Simone de Beauvoir in lust: “too much of her too much silk skin, brick nipple, face of porcelain, too much of this room too much cane chair and claw-foot table and orange divan too much orange-papered wall.”

Words, names, swears repeated like mantras, and steady, low-pitched grunts pull us into these private worlds.

—Peter Grandbois

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