12.01.2005 | Interesting poetry

Be prepared; this stuff is explicit and downright sacreligious. But it's fun, and it shows the power of poetry to expose truth where words (or, gasp!, pictures) might otherwise fail.

The Pope's Penis
Sharon Olds

It hangs deep in his robes, a delicate
clapper at the center of a bell.
It moves when he moves, a ghostly fish in a
halo of silver sweaweed, the hair
swaying in the dark and the heat — and at night
while his eyes sleep, it stands up
in praise of God.


The Solution
Sharon Olds

Finally they got the Singles problem under
control, they made it scientific. They opened huge
Sex Centers – you could simply go and state what you
want and they would find you someone who wanted that
too. You would stand under a sign saying I Like to
Be Touched and Held
and when someone came and
stood under the sign saying I Like to Touch and
Hold
they would send the two of you off
together.

At first it went great. A steady stream of
people under the sign I Like to Give Pain
paired up with a steady stream of people from under
I Like to Receive Pain. Foreplay Only – No
Orgasm
found its adherents, and Orgasm Only – No
Foreplay
matched up its believers. A loyal
Berkeley, California, policeman stood under the sign
Married Adults, Lights Out, Face to Face, Under a
Sheet
, because that's the only way it was legal in
Berkeley – but he stood there a long time in his lonely
blue law coat. And the man under I Like to Be Sung
to While Bread Is Kneaded on My Stomach
had been
there weeks without a reply.

Things began to get strange. The Love
Only – No Sex
was doing fine; the Sex Only – No
Love
was doing well, pair after pair walking out
together like wooden animals off a child's ark, but
the line for 38D or Bigger was getting unruly,
shouting insults at the line for 8 Inches or
Longer
, and odd isolated signs were springing up
everywhere, Retired Schoolteacher and Parakeet – No
Leather
; One Rm/No Bath/View of Sausage Factory.

The din rose in the vast room. The line
under I Want to Be Fucked Senseless was so long
that portable toilets had to be added and a minister
brought for deaths, births, and marriages on the
line. Over under I Want to Fuck Senseless – no
one, a pile of guns. A hollow roaring filled the
enormous gym. More and more people began to move over
to Want to Be Fucked Senseless. The line snaked
around the gym, the stadium, the whole town, out into
the fields. More and more people joined it, until
Fucked Senseless stretched across the nation in
a huge wide belt like the Milky Way, and since they
had to name it they named it, they called it the
American Way.

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