I have no clue whether I'm actually posting or not. I've never blogged before, even read a blog. I wondered what to do until I saw DL's description of what we guest bloggers would produce: "brilliant insights." Okay, now that's clear; I'm with the program. What brilliant insight of mine would anyone care about? Well, I just got back from lunch, which time I spent cleaning my dog's backside of the clumps of shit the poor constipated baby got glued into her hair and orifices. My insight might be that it was remarkably not gross, since I love her so much; which gives me yet another glimpse into love.
I was thinking all week about love, since Valentine's Day is at the end of this guest-blogger week, and something in me is celebrating this new "Best American Erotic" volume, too. It's probably unwise to admit this, but it's the first book of poems that's made me read compulsively in a long time. So many books have a sheen of coolness about them that puts me off; but this one is like playing doctor when you're a kid. (In fact, it reminded me that I DID "play doctor" when I was a kid, with Susie and Jimmy Vecchio, another piece of the puzzle.) My gold standard for erotic poem anthologies is the Faber Book of Blue Poetry, a pretty traditional, and English, and effective, compendium. This (Best American Erotic) is so much more like an intimate sexy book. I'm loving lines, images, whole poems, I'm eagerly loving and licking it up. "Like a seltzer in my crotch"--that's so American, what can I say? Deborah Landau's poem is like a combo of Whitman's woman watching the bathing young men and an Edward Hopper painting. "Suck and tongue you till my touch is much"; Strand's and Dobyns's poems; Richard Howard's edgy photo of something the word "pedophilia" just doesn't capture--these are some of the highlights for me. Tony H.'s gleeful misogyny; "A man is masturbating his heart out"--the anxious, the dreamy, the sublime that we are, is here.
When my younger daughter was a baby she and I would often go for a ride at night, so she could calm down and maybe fall asleep. We'd have these great talks some nights. When she was three she had her tonsils out and it was a bit more traumatic than she supposed it would be; in fact, she was mad at me afterward for not warning her sufficiently. But here's a transcription from a notebook of our first ride after the operation, starting as we pull out of the driveway:
"Daddy, I'm going to marry Gabriel and have six dogs, and four babies, and two cats."
"That's wonderful. Do you love Gabriel?"
"Yes, I wuv him and he wuvs me."
"That's really neat."
"Daddy, Gabriel has a penis."
"Yes, he does."
"That's because he's a boy. Steve and you and Gabriel have a penis."
"Yes, we do."
"And I have a vagina."
"It would be bad if boys had vaginas and girls had penises, wouldn't it?"
"Well, I guess it's better that boys have penises and girls have vaginas."
"Daddy, why would it be bad if boys had vaginas and girls had penises?"
"Well, I mean, it's good whatever a person has, don't you think? Whether it's a penis or a vagina?"
"So it wouldn't be bad if a boy had a vagina?"
"No, honey, if he has a vagina, it's fine."
"And people shouldn't make fun of other people, and be mean to them and call them names, should they?"
"Oh, no, they shouldn't do that."
"They shouldn't call them names like--like--'Smudgy Face' or 'Tree Tree', should they?"
"No, sweetie, they shouldn't."
"And people shouldn't say to other people, 'Boy, you're really stupid!' should they? They shouldn't say that, should they, Daddy?"
"No, honey, they shouldn't."
Then she fell asleep.
Ah, American anxiety. No brilliant insights about it, just the observation that after being the father of two daughters--the older one, at age two, once turned to me and said, her face beaming, "My bagina is so soft and fweet!"--it's impossible not to hear the longing in our sex poems, and nervousness, and because of that they seem so truly sexy to me.
I wonder if this is too much blog or not enough. (Anxiously) (Am I in?)