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Jonathan Wald, U.S.A
In 1994, I was working in a childrens book store in New York City. One day a co-worker turned to me and asked "Do you ever write erotic poetry?"
I glanced at the six year old reading a picture book a few feet away. "No" I said. "Too bad" my collegue responded. "If you ever write any raunchy poetry," he continued, "you should show it to me - I edit erotic poetry collections, and I'm always on the lookout for new work."
I hadn't done any creative writing for six years, but two weeks later, i wrote a poem, and my co-worker published it. I have been writing regularly ever since.

sweat lodge, winter solstice, 1994

That icy dawn
we woke to work
piling dead wood
silently.  We
suspected what we
loved, hid
in dark corners;
if we'd known what
awaited we'd
never have lit
the match.


in the forest
by the frozen lake
we stacked cold stones
on our bed of wood
place ice on the pyre
sang to the fire
and the fire sang back:
are you ready now?
The branches above
swayed in response..


stepping in
to the night
icy and black
skin on fire we
blinked away sweat
naked and blind
the forest was singing
singing us home.


If you fear your heart
is cold as ash,
don't despair. It
merely awaits
the proper
commitment of
terror and joy
darkness and light
to ignite again.

No matter how long
you wait the fire
accepts you when
you're ready to burn.

What's so sexy about speedos?

Just say the word
lighting briefly
on the ee's
hurrying through to
surprise endings,
the final oh!
the possibilities,
just barely contained
in suggestive shapes,
a Rorshach test
of sexuality.

Say it lovingly.
your lips lingering
like that, at the
end, reaching,
pursed, ready.

Scientists will discuss
resistance and hydro-
dynamics with a growing
excitement they pull
lab coats over
laps to disguise.
Don't be distracted.
Ask them: Is there
a measurement for
ease of removal?
There is magic in
spandex and elastic
no physics can explain.

So next time
you're at the pool,
and you see a man,
suited, sexy, poised
to dive, or dripping,
looking somewhere
else, breathe a silent
sigh of thanks, your eyes
all drawstrings and logos,
to the scientists, hands
tense in pristine pockets,
always reminding you:
your imagination
is your greatest lover.

Cupid and Psyche

who, after all,
was stingy:
like most gods
refusing to grant
the only gift
he possessed. Like
a new boyfriend or
a teenager's parent
he gave her things
he loved and she
didn't want but
didn't know better:
a well-muscled body
a beautiful house
comfortable routines
the accessories of ecstasy.

How often did you
convince yourself, Psyche,
in the dark, touching
his cheek, his chest,
his inner thigh,
that you you needed
nothing else?
Can a virgin truly settle
for the silence of a toga
easing like a zephyr
over smooth bronze skin?

Meanwhile, Cupid
must have known
how pleasure melts
under scrutiny
into uncertainty.
Stiff in bed,
supposedly sleeping,
needing all this
innocence and ignorance,
nonetheless fearing,
like Bluebeard,
deadly patterns
in unique events.

It would never have worked
to sleep afraid and wake,
more tired than before

it would never have worked.

for Greg

No one said sex
would be like this
an anatomy lesson
in internal organs
my stomach
heaving my heart
raging my love
for you is
flooding through
my darkest cavities
my putridest fluids
biting like acid at
the back of my throat
body screaming
heart raging
vomitting clear
in wonder and shame
my fear.

Stealing a Jockstrap
for Matthew

Bergmans Department Store:
my eyes move nonchalantly
from pajamas to undershirts
to The Forbidden,
a minutely calculated trajectory
worthy of the greatest strategists

but I am not cut out
to be a criminal,
too afraid of being caught
sussing swimsuits, underwear
especially jockstraps
apex of my larceny
pictures on boxes
my vision snatching
stretch, bulge, colour
commiting them
to tenuous memory
no security system
more effective

quietly I will hurry home
as quick as possible -
mental anatomies lose
their specificity
and their usefulness
vanishing like Cheshire Cats
even the smile fading
leaving nothing in my hands
but wisps of hair
losing their usefulness
with time and distance
but not their intensity.

                    I want to cup your pouch in my palms
                    test the fabric's tensile strength
                    'til your cock pokes out the top
                    and your balls fall out the sides
                    with a force that only the overly
                    restrained can muster.
                    My recidivism rate will be astronomical.

I should have been a pair of spying eyes,
sneaking 'cross floors of silent aisles.
My love song will not be sung
over store intercoms. I'd like
a more respectable profession:
I am waiting, hoping, ready
to be caught, to hear you say
give yourself up
though in the end, repentant,
too scared to claim my guilt
I'll admit to taking nothing
nothing in my pockets
nothing in my sleeves
nothing in my hands but desire.

Revisionist History

I can only wonder
what divinity inspired me
to masturbate under the table
as the Jews fled out of Egypt.

I'd like to say I had a vision
a rapturous glimpse of God
or at least some sexy, sandalled Egyptian
calling me to service from amidst the crowd -
it would have been less lonely.

I had found the bread of affliction
when athletic Andrew Abrams showed me
my first pornography, straight -
"You have to admit, it tastes great!"
My dick stiffened as I bargained
flush and triumphant, I weighed
a moment's gilded pleasure against
Andrew's ass, angelic, bent
to kiss a fallen prayer book,
and the cup untasted

would not have been enough for me
rising briefly from degradation
to dignity. Two boys, survivors
of plagues buoyed by flight,
self-taught, who were unable to ask,
sneaking a kiss under sheltering palms,
scrambling with sticky, awkward gaits
to rejoin their exodus from a watery fate:

Theirs is the history I study sub rosa,
under the table, in solitary glory
unaided by portents heavy with fear -
not just of miracles but of their aftermaths
the Jews in the desert for fifty years
in the time of bondage the hope of redemption -
creeping through terror towards ecstasy.

Possession/ Transmission


I write to you, plural,
from the galaxy of signs and symbols
the world of lonely silence
your old home. I envy
your shared semantics
your possessive pronouns
your casual hand diagramming
the small of his back.

I, single, signal strangers
shyly speaking secret tongues
desperate dialects
few linguists could decode:
Listen. Respond. Understand
my wordless pleas
my silent exclamations
my glossary of meaningful glances
my incoherent grammar of desire.


The first time I got fucked
I fell in love
for a week. Limping home
in a Bacchanalian glow
I fantasized finance-sharing and
caterers for the commitment ceremony.
I forgot the blood, ignored the pain -
I'd have done what he asked
if I'd seen him again.

When memory is branded
with unattainable cravings
pools of water just out of reach
a resting place for your heavy stone
don't come to me. I am afraid
of temptation, of offering you
the weight of my life.
As we become a tangle
of neckties and underwear,
I may whisper words
relinquish responsibility
dizzy on musks overpowering
caution's light perfume

and if I am lucky
and the gods are kind
I'll limp home bearing only
the scent of frankincense
a bit of caked blood
and a fading memory of abandon.

All works Copyright Jonathan Wald