Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Poem

Yesterday's experiences had me digging through old poems (mostly prose poems) wherein the subject of the body was much more explicitely at the forefront of my poetic pre-occupations. The poem below is still one of my favorites. It first appeared in Chelsea.


Browsing the Adult Section

Masturbation, you want to remind all the wide-eyed, prurient faces, can best be understood as a kind of preparation for living. The body’s late-night writhe and shudder; the practiced hand’s early morning rub-and-pump. All the various mid-day skulkings about, ears alert, tilted towards car-doors and deadbolts, familiar voices outside calling our return so that during those groaning surges our senses become so heightened that they block us up inside ourselves, and we go from one form of grasping to another. The mind staring in on worlds it creates, worlds consisting without scale and everything it can make of a body—torsos fleshed out to pliant twining legs, knocking breasts and all those slick candied places. Clefts and crevices and strong sweet supple sprawls of delirious eight-sided orgies. Swart hairs matted down by anonymous tongues, mouths grazing our most private ridiculous seductions and weirdest kinks. Where does the life of the imagination leave off, the life of the body begin? What are these fantasies but boundaries, thresholds, secret acts that go on only inside ourselves, which should therefore best not go on at all. Because behind the eyes, we learn early, is where life happens, where we learn double-ness, what a lie is and a certain practical complacence. And you, back at your desk, are thinking how, because none of it really happens, they’ll do everything they want and do it better; letting fantasy climb on its own up and out to wish for some relief from the self. The same deep place, in this moment, where comes a sigh upward against your body. A half-face in the half-dark of the bedroom before closing her eyes. There, below you, she looks concentrated, serious, as if in pain, hoping you can forgive her somehow for leaving you behind, and which, if you could keep from leaving her, you would.

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