Friday, November 14, 2008

Poetry Friday - Dinner Scene


We sat giggling in a purple cafe,
hands crawling like friendly pink spiders up
and down each other's thighs,
seeking warm dark crannies to snuggle into.
Nothing like body games played under a dinner table
to coax me out of my gray moods.
When my hand has touched down in Ultima Thule
and you press your thighs together on it like a molding press,
I like to think that my hand will melt in your body kiln and then cool there,
so that I'll be joined to you forever.

-- 25 January 1971

By the time I'd written this one I must have met the guy who'd be my Muse until I moved to Bloomington the following fall. Not that long, really. By "Muse" I mean something like the relationship May Sarton had with the women who inspired her poetry, as I understand it: the feeling was largely unrequited, its subject not really accessible, the relationship never consummated physically -- yet out of that frustration and pain came poetry. Or verse, at any rate. It seems to me now that I wrote my best erotic poems in those days, when I had no erotic experience at all, only fantasies and wishes.

A couple of years ago I saw the Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethaku's film Tropical Malady, which contains a scene that could have come from this poem: the two main characters are watching a film in a theater, and one puts his hand on the other's leg. The other responds by gripping the first one's hand between his thighs and wrapping an arm around his shoulders as they both grin with pleasure and delight. Though the two are never shown having sex in the film, the scene makes the erotic current between them as clear as can be.