First prey then predator: Shut Your Eyes, Succubi by Kristin Garth


Shut Your Eyes, Succubi: 
Bedtime Stories for Bad Girls 
Kristin Garth
Maverick Duck Press, 2019


We know that eroticism doesn’t need to have a purpose. Audre Lorde has taught us this much at least; however, we are all still attempting to determine for ourselves what that exactly portends. What does it mean for the erotic to just be? And as it does simply (?), merely (?) exist, how does this implicate oneself as onlooker or erotic being?

There are no answers here, just responses. Kristin Garth’s poetry chapbook Shut Your Eyes, Succubi prompts readers, challenging and ignoring them to respond all while reveling in what is and isn’t revealed.

The poetic and erotic urge both partake in transgressive desire (rather than transcendent desire). The poet/poem look to move beyond in less of a hierarchical or metaphysical manner, instead striving to violate boundaries for the sake of becoming a more assured, inviolate self.

Our notions of the self are transgressed as in the poem Purple where focus on a the childhood act of peeling crayons becomes something ecstatic:

Hold me so gentle while we play pretend.

Outline a sky with my viscera shaped

into a friend. Unpeel me. Careful. Skin

my skeleton — paper, wound around grape

wax gelatin.  Discard my defenses. Pick

me, slick, up between two fingers, a thumb,

my paraffin softening.

We also read how the experiential world is transgressed in favor of another imagined and real, both romantic and horrific. This last trait is perhaps best seen in All Humans In A Midnight Woods Are Prey:

Hierarchies, after dark, outdoors,

erase human dominion each sunset

ablaze with promises of end of days:

This is where Garth’s work captures the erotic, it is a dance of death as well as a play—serious but also silly, sensual and abstemious. What we read aren’t poems meant to help us nor hinder us. Rather, these are poems existing outside our bodies, without us, gladly so, and yet they haunt our visions as we are told in one of the opening poems Bedtime Story:

Subtext begets great sex.


The best part happens when you say “the end”:

Undress me sleepy; make me play pretend.


Like the succubi the collection is named after, the pleasure derived from the poems is by the poems through our reading of them. As we do so, our view is rendered into something to be taken advantage of, used by the poems for their own pleasure. Take Garth’s poem Basement Girl:

My pleasures count time lost,

a clock.  I’m open when you turn the lock.

My thighs embrace you, bind you tight. Inside,

my hostage, through the night.  Relentless pounds,

my ravishment replete.  Captive denied

request to sleep.  My hunger has no bounds.

I care nothing about your life outside;

your basement girl, in candlelight, will hide.

Here we read something wholly disturbing but seeming to suggest a control or power akin to sadomasochistic the play. Such a maneuver is enticing; it is the very core of strange addiction.

Whether your sexuality is cis-het, queer, or asexual, Garth’s poems in Shut Your Eyes, Succubi perform, seduce, discard, and gladly continue on their way making them profoundly fun to engage.




Kristin Garth is a Pushcart & Best of the Net nominated poet from Pensacola, Florida, a kneesock enthusiast, and a sonnet stalker. Her sonnets, poetry, fiction, essays have appeared in several literary reviews.

She has a poetry dollhouse chapbook entitled Pink Plastic House available from Maverick Duck Press and a collaborative erotic chapbook entitled Good Girl Games available from the same press. She has another collaborative chapbook entitled On This Path We Travel available from Moonchaps and a forthcoming solo digital microchapbook from the same press entitled Sock Slut featuring sonnets read by the poet and kneesock photography. She has a collaborative chapbook on abuse, Pensacola Girls, available from Bone & Ink Press She has a chapbook forthcoming in January 2019 from The Hedgehog Poetry Press entitled Shakespeare for Sociopaths. In March of 2019, she has a chapbook Puritan U being published by Rhythm & Bones Lit. In April, she has a full-length poetry book, Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir being published also by Hedgehog Poetry.

She is co-editing two anthologies: You Are Not Your Rape and Mansion. You Are Not Your Rape is a sexual assault anthology co-edited with Tianna G. Hansen to be published in November of 2019 by Rhythm & Bones. Mansion is a Slenderman/Creepypasta anthology co-edited with Justin Karcher to be published by Dancing Girl Press.

She has a weekly poetry/interview column The Sonnetarium and a monthly annotated poetry column Passed Notes & Poems which are both sponsored by Rhythm & Bones Lit.

Follow her on Twitter: @lolaandjolie








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