Guest poem submitted by Ravi Mundoli:
(Poem #812) Sex Without Love
How do they do it, the ones who make love without love? Beautiful as dancers, Gliding over each other like ice-skaters over the ice, fingers hooked inside each other's bodies, faces red as steak, wine, wet as the children at birth, whose mothers are going to give them away. How do they come to the come to the come to the God come to the still waters, and not love the one who came there with them, light rising slowly as steam off their joined skin? These are the true religious, the purists, the pros, the ones who will not accept a false Messiah, love the priest instead of the God. They do not mistake the lover for their own pleasure, they are like great runners: they know they are alone with the road surface, the cold, the wind, the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio vascular health--just factors, like the partner in the bed, and not the truth, which is the single body alone in the universe against its own best time.
[Comments] A poem that is not easily forgettable? I think Olds tries to answer a question that we have all asked at some point or the other in some form or the other. One of the nice things about the poem is that there is this nice balance between the view on the one hand that making love is the wonderful, sharing/caring type thing it is: ... How do they come to the come to the come to the God come to the still waters, and not love the one who came there with them, light rising slowly as steam off their joined skin? ... On the other hand, there is this superb analogy with long distance running. And as a wannabe long distance runner and admirer of long distance running (in a vaguely "Chariots of Fire"-y sense!), that is a particularly powerful image, of the marathoner-hedonist. In the end though, there doesn't seem to be an answer the "coming to the still waters" bit is as weighty as the long distance runner bit. More questions! [Links] There is a page on the poet at [broken link] http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/olds.html Googling will lead you to several other links. Ravi. [thomas adds] See also the third of Peter Porter's "Japanese Jokes": Love without sex is still the most efficient form of hell known to man. (The remaining ten haiku in this sequence can be read at poem #198)