Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ode to Sexuality

Leonard Commits Redeeming Adulteries with All the Women in Town
by Louise Erdrich

When I take off my glasses, these eyes are dark magnets
that draw the world into my reach.
First the needles, as I walk the quiet streets,
work their way from the cushions of dust.
The nails in the rafters twist laboriously out
and the oven doors drop
an inch open.
The sleep smell of yesterday's baking
rises in the mouth.
A good thing.

The street lamps wink off just at dawn,
still they bend their stiff necks like geese drinking.
My vision is drinking in the star-littered lawn.
When the porch ivy weaves to me -
Now is the time.
Women put down their coffee cups, all over town.
Men drift down the sidewalks, thinking,
What did she want?
But it is too late for husbands.
Their wives do not question

what it is that dissolves
all reserve.  Why they suddenly think of cracked Leonard.
They uncross themselves, forsaking
all protection. They long to be opened and known
because the secret is perishable, kept, and desire
in love with its private ruin.
I open my hands and they come to me, now.
In our palms dark instructions that cannot be erased,
only followed, only known along the way.

And it is right, oh women of the town, it is right.
Your mouths, like the seals of important documents
break for me, destroying the ring's raised signature,
the cracked edges melting to mine.

Um.  Hi.  Before we go any further, can I just put this little disclaimer on my reckless post?  I am a supremely happily married woman, and think adultery is a one-way ticket to misery, an idiotic choice to poop where you eat.  I chose Louise Erdrich's poem (and all her work, again and again) for its portrait of desire, and exploration of taboo.  These are very sexy things. 

And I believe in sexiness.  So there.

In the long tradition I have of saying what I was going to do, and then not doing it, I was going to title this post, Ode to Tantra, because I've lately been reflecting on the utter bliss that the union of masculine and feminine brings in the world.  And before we get all off course with that little topic, I mean this energetically - although of course physically it's all pretty great too.  (Horn blow.)

I'm not sure, as a culture, we've traditionally been taught to bring these two energies - which reside in all of us - together.  But I think that's changing.  A lot.  My best friends, men and woman, all accomplish this feat.  My husband is the better cook.  I am the stubborn bull in the family.  My brothers taught me, early, how kind and generous a man can be.  My favorite leaders kneel before their mothers.  The divine Liberty statue is unrolling her great coat.  Waves across the country. 

What else?  I overheard a friend say that Annie Proulx once said in an interview that she writes about men so much because she likes men.  That's right, I thought.  She also said something obnoxious and perhaps true, that she writes about rural communities and men in rural communities do the interesting work: outside the house. 

And I was thinking, yes.  I like men, too, Annie.  I get it.  But you know what I like most?  Men who respect women.  Men who get that there is a feminine part to them.  Female leaders who roar, and let themselves be seen.  My towering coworker who can and does kick the crap out of the men she works with, from whom I'd like a lesson in makeup. 

I think what I'm trying to say is, Life Is Hot.  And I'm glad I'm here. 





  1. Welllllll, I need to get some more Louise Erdrich poetry into my life.

    Point being, love this post. And I think about this masculine/feminine divide sometimes with, pardon me, MAVIS. Sorry, but it's TRUE. She doesn't act like a lady at all. Have I gone too far down the doggy path?? Maybe so!! hahaha But i have another comment, less dog-oriented, that I'm going to email you now. So there.

    1. I totes welcome all dog metaphors in this life. In fact, I think friends have often wanted to strangle me, when I draw comparisons between their human children and my half-baked theories about raising my canine.

      Off-line notes! Aren't YOU a master of intrigue... :)

  2. Hello! Amelia - whose blog I really enjoy - was really kind to share this link to your blog. Yesterday evening, I enjoyed exploring some of the earlier posts. I've added your blog to my rss feed - and in the link love section of my blog. Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

  3. P.S. I was just reading this article, and the end part was something I thought you might be interested in about a tribe from the South Pacific island of Tanna who was flown to England as part of a TV series, whose message was: we need to create a unity of nations through peace and kindness: "they thought we need it".