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ISSUE:  Summer 2005

How much medication human mating requires
in the United States, in the twenty-first century,
gallons of beer and rum, kilos of hash and marijuana,
all to dispel the counsel of parents, and priests, and mirrors,
so every Bev and Bill can function as healthy adult creatures
and touch one cape of their erotic destiny.
And if the act succeeds, it replicates in more
and more fluent instances with ever less potent dosages.
And if it fails, the same drugs may aid in forgetting,
or multi-task as anodyne and aphrodisiac
as ever so gently begins to billow the sails
of the ship of addiction on its ancient voyage to Mars
with the standard license issued by Venus.
Gallons of beer and rum, kilos of hash and marijuana—
Jesus is little help. He circles like a vulture.
Do you have baggage? the bellboy in hell asks,
and it is a suitcase Flannery O’Connor packed:
miscellaneous hair and skin and body parts—
the brain of one lover, the legs of another.
Funny, but very sad too, to love jealously
and know oneself unworthy of love, or not to love
and suffer for having to hurt a friend.
And crazy, isn’t it, crazy love, when lovers drag each
other off like bones, and when they run to fat?
Dumped, they starve themselves beautiful again,
and, eventually, they talk, as all the tortured do,
“What kind of children would we have together?”
And they see them then: their future offspring in tiny
black robes, the justices of their supreme fun.


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