Saturday, December 03, 2005
I made love with a man—hugely muscled, lean—the body
I always wished for myself. He kept pulling my arms
up over my head, pinning them there, pressing me down
with his entire weight, grinding into me roughly,
but then asked, begged, in a whisper of such sweetness,
Please kiss me. Earlier that evening, he told me
he'd watched a program about lions, admired
how they took their prey—menacing the herds at the water hole
before choosing the misfit, the broken one.
What surprised him was the wildebeests' calm
after the calf had been downed, how they returned to their grazing
with a dumb switching of tails. Nearby the lions looked up
from their meal, eyed the hopping storks and vultures,
before burying their faces, again, in the bloody ribs.
As a teenager, I wished to be consumed,
to be pressed into oblivion by a big forceful man.
It never happened. Instead I denied myself nourishment—
each un-filled plate staring back satisfied me, deprivation
reduced to a kind of bliss I could lie down in
where I remained unmoved, untouched.
Early on I was taught that the body was a cage,
that illness was a battle fought with chaos,
the viruses themselves unnatural; that sex lived
in some pastel chamber that gave way to infants,
first cousins, the handing down of names.
No one ever mentioned being taken in the dark,
or wanting to be broken open, pushed beyond words,
tongue thickening in another human mouth,
or how a person could be humiliated and like it.
To my surprise, I found myself struggling under this man,
pushing me chest up against his chest, arms straining
against the bed, until some younger, hungrier
version of myself lay back on top of me and took it—
the heaving back, the beard, the teeth at the throat.
-- Mark Wunderlich
1 Penelope's Lament
Back in the sidereal day, remember how we admired
the elaborately-dressed caryatids and,
after cocktails, listened to some colporteur?
That was delicious, wasn't it? Well, Mamma's tired
of waiting, waiting. I have a tight new weave,
I swallowed all the nepenthe in the house —
my little incunabulum.
I want moiety.
There is too much sadness in the sea,
which is as slippery as a vowel.
For the nonce, I would like to bury one, the O —
invocation and the cruel beginning of your name . . .
2 The Last Dinner Party
The foretaste of duck squats in exalted butter.
A word, mélange, slides off someone's fork.
Of course, cork floats in the Merlot, lovelorn,
the salver drools, and there's talk
of turning the clocks back,
of O Maria, virgo davitica, anonymous, seedy.
For dessert, let us play Anagrams
with the names of our dead friends!
Dan Glen becomes England;
Tom Anderson becomes, oh —
a demon snort. What fun, and so on. Tintoretto
should have painted us — circumspect, verily celestial.
3 Après la Première
That was a lot of seat. Though I see
how your crit. fits into a Polonius sandwich.
And another thing — her hair. Sketchy.
It's only natural to expose the Botox:
Unsex me here, she said. Lady. Not
on my wrist watch. (Perhaps her buskin
is couture — that might selvage the night.)
But I like the part when bustards
ran out from under her pannier. Is that legal?
Her private life is very pedicular.
Now the paparazzi are all abuzz: a velvet
has left the building, in an off-road lexicon.
4 High Handicap
The green is glazed, like my ex-faïence,
yet less meretricious. That chicken-wing finish
will get you nowhere, however —
skin's game. Check out the filiopietistics:
because of all the yipping doglegs,
I waggle and skirl, a big girl. Meanwhile,
a swing plane mows the élan vital
down to its white balls,
which are held by my plenipotentiary
deputy. He hands me an iron
and his laundry before we allemande blindly
onto the second. The eyes open to a cry of police.
5 Pot Luck
Our dialectic is in trouble,
so out of respect we grab the writhers
by the hilt. You'll go blonde
if you keep that up! Allegedly, someone's corsage
has fallen into the dip,
dermabrasion is the new black,
and a doxology with short legs is asphyxiating.
Indeed. Narcissus lies by the pool, uncoiling
his pantyhose. (I'd be happy to fluff him
before the eulogy.) Now the swimmers lip-synch
late Gloria Gaynor from glory holes,
their shoes fin de siècle, insensible . . .
6 Blind Date
A bit scurfy and fubsy, perhaps —
but in a nice way. He took my coat;
his edentate cat implicated me
with a look — the little criticaster. The sushi
he served was off-the-hook,
but I couldn't tell if he was nictitating
or had soy sauce in his eye. All the talk
was of his tontine, how to peculate in the market;
his langlauf years. Life hung by what he limned.
On the divan, I tried to ignore
his blatant stridulation. Whoa, nelly. Feigning a fit
of polydipsia, I politely absquatulated.
7 Falling Asleep Over "Falling Asleep Over the Aeneid"
Two words: gagged Italians. The page,
its broken-winded rage
a fine oneiromancy; the fire
hella yellow — Aeneas, fresh from the pyre,
unsheathes his rod
for a little lucubration. (Good God,
if one wants to flocculate on the files,
do so with concinnity, with miles
of tonal holiday flair.) The only chariots are rolls
of tulle et paper — hey, these poles
are made for dancing! Peep at the Trojan men,
reticulate, absolutely glabrous now. And then.
8 The Rape of Ganymede
As Rembrandt saw it (the boy's posterior
bare, fleshier than a man's; the black air,
Macedonia's smoke; the rosy Trojan
all in a tizzy, his rags hitched-up, urine
yellowing his left foot,
the jut of his white gut),
myth is a hoot. Look in the eagle's eyes:
he's slightly amused at the size
of the brat's fat hands, the fact of his death-
grip on a pair of dangling cherries, both
of which are overripe — the eagle knows
the weight of thugs, of thunderbolts, of Eros.
-- Randall Mann
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