Amy Bloom on Wild Nights with The King of Spain.

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Amy Bloom on "Wild Nights" with "The King of Spain"

Love is love no matter who you tumble for, but sex with a man is a perfectly rare hamburger and a
cold beer on a spring day and sex with a woman is silver teaspoonfulls of caviar and very dry
champagne of the kind you cannot afford. Alike in their splendor, delightful and lush in memory, but
completely different moments of experience.

I read this poem for the first time at the age of forty, and thought that I had never seen the
structure and language and content of a poem mesh so beautifully. Those rich, uninhibited
exclamation points. Ah! Ah! Ah! And the manic reckless joy of that foolish, now discarded compass
and chart. And nothing more luxurious than a whole night in each other’s arms, rocking on a soft sea
of bodies. If I had not known what it was like to lie in the arms of the woman you love, this poem
would have told me. -AB

* * *

“Wild Nights” by Emily Dickinson

Wild Nights — Wild Nights!

Were I with thee

Wild Nights should be

Our luxury!

Futile — the Winds —

To a Heart in port —

Done with the Compass —

Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden —

Ah, the Sea!

Might I but moor — Tonight —

In Thee!

* * *

In my world, the best men are nothing like boys, and nothing like women. They are big and hard and
their only gentleness is in their hearts. If you see one of them cry, it will cut your heart in half
and when he unbuttons his shirt cuffs and rolls them up onto beautiful arms, you forget not only
what you wanted to say, but why you ever wanted anything else. Diane Wakoski has spent more time
than she should in love with broad-shouldered pirates and you can hear that warm, replete sigh
whistle right through these poem fragments about the King of Spain. -AB

* * *

From “Sister Diane’s Book of the Zodiac” by Diane Wakoski

The King of Spain


the only man I want.

My anchor

The soil around my roots

The wind that keeps air moving

The kindling for my fire . . .

He is a pouch of gold, a velvet shirt, a codpiece,

disappearing items in our culture.

He is the pair of pliers

I can never find in my kitchen . . .


my King of Spain,

the man I dream of,

the man whose ring once touched my fingers

whose tongue could melt me,

who persuades me of his crystal intent

and leaves me

moaning in my sleep

for oranges,

for someone, I love, to touch

©Diane Wakoski, The Magellanic Clouds (Black Sparrow Press, 1974). Fragments from her twelve
poems, “Sister Diane’s Book of the Zodiac”

Introduction ©1997
Amy Bloom