On the Sixth Meditation and Montaigne (#poem)

black and white statue
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The most wretched and frail of all creatures is man, and withal the proudest.” ~Michel de Montaigne

Budding literary critics are advised that
If they do not see sex in the text,
They should look for death
As these are the most common themes
In literature, but aren’t they really only
One theme? It isn’t an accident that an
Orgasm is known as “la petite mort.”

Consoling a friend who was temporarily
Overwrought by an awkward social situation,
I counseled that it was “only sex” in the end.
Implacable, he reminded me that many species
Only live long enough to pass on their genetic
Coding for future generations, and he was right enough.

Somehow sex is our defense against death,
And simultaneously against the dreariness of life.
The little death is a reprieve from the trial of life,
And some become addicted to constant, temporary
Destruction. Everyone on the pull is merely
Engaged in a frantic meditation on annihilation.

Montaigne’s frank discussions of sexual attraction and
Relations were so riveting that his essays became
Popular erotic reading for ladies of the court,
But I bet they skipped to their favourite parts,
As Montaigne’s essays seemed to be a free dispensary
For the ongoing flow of words, images, and doubts
Flowing through his mind moment to moment.

I must admit, I don’t think I ever read a Montaigne essay
From beginning to end, either. It’s so much easier to just
Dip a toe in here and there, and face lust, barbarity, and
Despair all in one go. This was a man who knew we are
Only animals with the same genetic-driven compulsions for
Procreation and pleasure as any mammal, though we may hide
Behind our idea of refinement, which is only a bias for doing
Things in the way in which we’ve become accustomed.

Pretty Messy Things (#poem)

The poetry is pretty perhaps,

And some may appreciate the aesthetics

While being put off by the messinessSlippery Slope

Of the content, preferring a tidy theme.

And maybe you could clean it up

A bit to avoid making the prigs uncomfortable.

Say something about flowers by the seaside,

For example, and let us forget people have sex.

And let’s forget about messy conflict

In relationships, too, while we’re at it.

Some people just want to get on with

A quiet life, not be confronted with

Confounding crises among the lovelorn.

Put a stitch in it, stuff a sock in it,

Do anything but speak of it.

Poetry is supposed to have pleasing

Rhyme and rhythm, after all,

And make us think of waterfalls,

Soaring hawks, and lovers who don’t

Fumble with zippers and buttons.

We prefer romance that is clean

And smooth, lacking rough edges,

Free of trauma and tribulation,

Free of interest and humanity.

We want the love that is printed

On a Hallmark card in February.

We want the love that we’ve dreamt

Of since we were able to dream.

And we were told the poets owe us

At least this much in reparations.

Cultivating Life

A traffic jam that spans an entire epoch

Is followed by daily punishments of

Dreary Sisyphean meanderings,IMG_2794

Followed by even more traffic

In sweltering heat and sticky humidity.

 

With all energy drained from

Lungs, limbs, and mind,

He shuffles into his house

Seeking only relief and brief reprieve.

 

As he unbuttons his soaked shirt,

“Do me,” assaults his ears

With cheerful urgency.

“My basal temperature spiked today.”

 

Probable ovulation noted,

The expectation is clear.

She lies on her back, spread eagle,

With a pillow under her hips.

 

“Can’t it wait awhile—

long enough for a shower—

long enough to freshen up?”

His pleas are unwelcome.

 

Dejected and defeated, he

Peels off and gets to work.

Somewhere, future progeny

Await their turn at being.

 

And this is how the world blooms—

Not with a bang, but a whimper—

Mechanical sex, dead eyes, routine pollination.

Worker bees serve the Queen

Of procreation with neither question nor zeal.

 

A poet, somewhere, puts down his pen,

And waits for the next fantasy to fall

Into his frail imaginary pool.