Poem a day #6 – Headwaters


Sex with you is a full body
contact sport, never finished
without some evidence

a bite a scrape
a deep muscle bruise
knee-sized, on a thigh,
five-clustered bruises up an arm
a feint but lingering bruise
across the top
of a cunt
a red hand print

Seeing them I smile and then
every love-sick victim-woman
that pop-songs, the blues, the movies,
the years of work in women’s shelters
have trotted through my head chorus
I don’t mind, it proves he loves me.

But they should have.
And it didn’t.

Some of those women were being battered—
I know this like I know the mole
on my own right wrist.
But maybe maybe
some walk out of dreary days
to beds that sizzle with possession
of a want not afraid to fling full force
screaming like a cat in heat and clashing
armor on armor
like giant tortoises fucking.

Between counting only the female bodies
dumped daily onto the ground
in every country, and the insane privilege
of asserting that all sex always
is only good, there must be some land
where I can stand.
and find sure footing.

Porn and pop culture may mine it,
raw product for misogynist mythography
but that is theft, not definition.

When she fucks me
into the place
between pleasure and pain
maybe that place
is a headwater, stingingly cold,
sharply crisp.

And downstream the women,
barely 18, bruised,
slurring stoned at the camera
More daddy, harder daddy, give it to me
live in the toxic stew
at the river’s mouth
where the poor and the dark
and the broken swelter
waist-deep in dehumanization,
drown in the run-off
of obscene profiteering.

Years ago I too was washed
I’ve been fighting
against the current
for so long, back to where
desire is spawned, where
our bodies belong to
our bodies, where teeming,
screaming want is not wrong.

Counting the bodies
as I’ve migrated home
I’ve wept, and known
it was not in my want
that they drowned.


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