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The Affair

Beefsteak tomatoes: as if no larger

or more succulent food could be

poised there on the fiestaware without

being flesh, the fruit that would be a New York Strip,

medium-rare, saignant, the French say, meaning

I want it bleeding,

which is so vulgar, it touches me.

I want to stay here at dinner

detesting you so intensely

it is delicious, letting you skewer

a clump of watercress from my plate

before I offer it, then watching you

swallow it smugly, your face

entitled, cocksure.

Later we will take off our clothes

and what we do afterwards you will tell me

is called borrowing.



©2000 Melissa Kirsch and Nerve Publishing


What Is Carnal

That last night, he went to bed with his socks on.

Then he moved close to the wall and started breathing

that heavy don’t talk to me I’m asleep breathing.

I said but don’t you want sex.

And he said yes, as if he were dying

to not want sex, but he wanted it anyway.

And I said, as a last effort,

well, I’m dying for it.

Who’s ever really dying for it? I think now

that I said it because I wanted

to feel like the neighbor’s dogs who had to have it so badly

they got stuck together like two pieces of cheap white rice.

Because if I were a dog, any other dog could give it to me,

they would smell it in me, a thick, pheromonish smell,

and I wouldn’t feel ashamed of it.

I wouldn’t know otherwise.




©2000 Melissa Kirsch and Nerve Publishing


Figure Drawing Class

To be this close to a naked body

and not touch it. Instead make of it

an object in Prismacolor on newsprint,

the furious shading where the shadow

hits the face, hits the tip of the nipple

and the tremble there in the quadracep.

I take my time making a topography

of your cock, curved lines, the flat charcoal

side, I feel it coming out of the paper.

I smile at you, checking your watch,

20-minute pose almost up, you’re

thinking about dinner. Stay here

with me and I will let you in on things:

your likeness on fifteen easels,

how many of us stroked your genitals

tonight, graffitied up your torso,

fused your ass with the wooden chair.




©2000 Melissa Kirsch and Nerve Publishing


The Last Love Poem or What I Will

Make me a resting place

on the cave of your hip bone

soft space of stomach you

know where you end.

I learned the term vanilla

to describe sex that’s not

political and I was ashamed

at being thus — crusts cut off

and quartered vs. a cause

worth starving over —

I begin. And so continue,

your knuckles pressing

my leg in the car, next

to you I am a lifelong project,

a dissonant chord or lopsided bowl.



©2000 Melissa Kirsch and Nerve Publishing