Sit Back- Relax- Enjoy: Poems

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Sit Back. Relax. Enjoy.  

Sit Back. Relax. Enjoy.

I remember saying it to my first lover —

frightened, only mildly interested, a virgin,

in a small apartment at 504 South Liberty

Avenue in Endicott, New York, circa 1967,

before the invention of technique

and caution, before there was heartbreak.

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy, I said,

wanting to ease her toward pleasure

the way a man eases a lame spouse downward

so he, too, can come to rest. Sit back.

Relax. Enjoy, I repeated. Sit back. Relax.

Enjoy. Now, twenty years and thousands

of enjoyments later, on American Airlines

Flight 363 from San Francisco, a stewardess

with the sweet scent of a dental hygienist

says it to me: Sit back. Relax. Enjoy.

How beautiful obedience is, I say to myself,

here in midair and midlife, thinking ahead

to the other end of our long flight

when a voice as heavenly as hers

will say it again: Sit back. Relax. Enjoy.

And we will.




Michael Blumenthal and Nerve.com   


Mixed Marriages

The young Cuban mounting the debutante from Cleveland

the mule that wants to mate with a sheep

the Hassid who falls for the Chinese girl from Akron

the canary that sings to a cage full of finches

the flute that wants to play with the oboe

and the gin that longs for a shot of vermouth

have something in common. They are all emissaries

from the world of generous singing.

They are all prophets

of a light that will admit no divisions.

They are all giving testimony

to the fact that we will come in the end

to a place of no borders,

that the way of all flesh is the arc

of a good seed’s longing —

mixing it up, keeping things whole.





Michael Blumenthal and Nerve.com   


Having My Way with You

You ride me into the late light like your good horse

and, because it reminds you of how they once

described women in Victorian romances, you say,

“I’m having my way with you.” What a thing

for a woman to say to a man, I think to myself,

looking up at your white cheeks gone rosy

with the thrust of me, as if you were both Iseult

the Fair and Iseult of the White Hands at once,

and I feel the pleasure of your pleasure

and the pleasure of my own, and realize

we may all yet rise into the good light of love

from a position of helplessness, that this

may be the thing all lovers wish for: you

having your way with me having my way with you.





Michael Blumenthal and Nerve.com   



I love fleshy women whose buttocks rise

in my hands like freshly baked bread,

arms that surge outward from my embrace,

thighs that surround me like love itself.

I love flesh that is firm and tender, flesh

that is wild, I love flesh that is yours

these afternoons when rain falls gently as flesh itself,

when all that is moral dissolves like flesh,

and only the sounds of flesh can be heard

singing, We are still here, love, we are going on.





Michael Blumenthal and Nerve.com   


To His Coy Mistress (II)

after Marvell

Had we but world enough and time,

this coyness, ______, would be no crime.

We’d sit and talk and eat and flirt

and never even lift your skirt.

We’d wonder how it might have been

before the world invented sin,

and then we’d pause and make a list

of all the pleasures that we missed.

But I am nearly forty-two

and know the things that time can do

to would-be lovers prone to pause

at passion’s hem for caution’s cause.

I know the lure when what’s surmised

seems safer than what’s realized,

when hands stay still and eyes undress

and safety triumphs, more or less.

But Hopkins said it, right out loud:

to have and get before it cloud,

and I don’t think it too unwise

to take our caution by surprise

and kiss the thing that’s meant to kiss,

and love what’s taken, more than missed.

These poems are taken from Michael Blumenthal’s forthcoming collection, Dusty Angel, by permission of BOA Editions.




Michael Blumenthal and Nerve.com