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                                                                                                Charles Levenstein



I Can't Write Erotic Poems

Impaired or obscure, my fantasies don't ride
down dark alleys or into plush bedrooms.
I flinch at the thought of leather straps and
once when I was invited to spank a friend
I cringed (I regret) in judgment.
What can I say, I tried many ups and downs
and ins and outs when young, but
now I am happy for the cushioned bed and
Friday afternoons with my sweet wife, and
as she knows I never take the dates for granted,
I am grateful for her favors.


Once I loved a gangly girl, all bones and white skin,
she was the experienced one and she tried one night
to dance for me, I was such a bookish boy,
I didn't know a thing, I had a general idea
but even when we broke the lazy-boy recliner,
I still had only vague ideas about what
we were doing with what and to whom,
she smiled with intense blue eyes and said she'd
teach me, I was a slow learner.


Once I loved an olive-skinned beauty, she captured
me on the way back from an anarchists' convention
and I was enthralled by her arms and legs and curly hair,
I am still sad about losing her but I was a broken man
by the time we met, I could not love so well because
my heart was spitted, my spirit in tatters.
She did try, she touched me sometimes gently, other
times with ferocity, but my skin fought back,
I was barbed wire and dry crusts of bread.


Once a tall woman said you seem to like small ones,
and I was shocked because I saw suddenly that she
who appeared long, even willowy in bed, stretched
to the fullest in happy ecstasy, or rising in white silk
seemed to me to last forever, but not to others.
In the practical world of objective observers, she was flannel-
shirted and in jeans, her ankles a little thick, it was
the juts and angles of her face that kept you on your toes.


I remember one erotic night, damped light, mind pillowed
by dope, time and place lost: I was sheltering a temporary
nymph from an awful ogre, and she stayed with me all night,
we touched and tasted, played at vinyasas, restorative positions
and others requiring much energy, she had thin unnaturally blond
hair and soft skin, she was small and she may have been the last
of a summer season. In the morning, she was gone and I was
accused by a bitter friend of being a predictable slut.


And dreams of course are different from fantasies. I dream
and dream, my nights are filled with stories, flight, chases,
once he (whoever he was) walked the terrace of a dark palace,
he seethed with jealousy, she (whoever she was) was off with friends,
he was sure they were lovers, but she had promised if not
with words with black eyes and hand that took his hand to
her lips, when he finally found her he made her swear, he made
her fall to her knees and pray, he would not kiss her because
he was so filled with passion and anger. There was a big moon.


And once he was with this same black-eyed one in a sun-filled
room, they made love on linen sheets, on thick down comforters,
they touched and rolled and when he entered her,
there was no question that this was a dream but not a dream,
they would not forget this place, this room, the warm sun.
Such dreams are dangerous and so he woke and could not sleep again.


I cannot write erotic poems but merely report from the crevasses
between many lives, the day and night, the truth of dreams and
waking. An old man once told me I was engrossed with power
and sublimated to sex, fucking a metaphor for politics of a certain
sort, so I should be careful with my dreams. Machiavelli was
a better guide than Freud, he said, for the likes of me. I benefited
from the insight.




     I get maudlin when I drink: two scotches, another just before dinner and I am off on self-examination, as bad as a hypochondriac looking for nodules in his testicles, I grate friendships like nutmeg, I grate myself as though looking for some great answer to a pathetic life of underachievement. But then socialism is hard to achieve in a country where you cannot say the word at all.

     What are we to do when the language, the values, the sounds necessary for social intercourse are banned, not by a board of censors but by a board of consensus. You may not name the sucking system, you may only point to bad apples, rotten tomatoes, a spoiled cucumber here or there, but nothing to say about the garden.




It should be easier to stay present
when mind is not teased by limitless possibilities:

Once I applied to be doctor, lawyer, etc.,
but now the applications have been selected

and the figure in the mirror is one carved
by time and can only get more like itself.

Nevertheless the habit of planning projects
is difficult to ditch, even when it is unnecessary,

no cv to build, no escalator, formal authority
has no standing at the Four Freedoms Inn.

And so it should be easier, but itís not. Be here
now sounds like Alzheimerís prayer. Amen.



                                                                                                © Charles Levenstein

triple rule

Loch Raven Review Winter 2005 — Vol. I, No. 2
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