Thursday, December 21, 2006

I want to live with a beautiful man

I want to live with a beautiful man.
I want it so badly
I’ve waved good-bye, good-bye! to God and, worse,
embarrassed family.
I want him so badly.

I’ve seen the beautiful man in church
worshipped by the choir.
Last night he toweled in the locker-room
his cock, a pinkish pacifier,
and my heart rose like a choir.

I want to tie him to my bed, each limb a sweet arrow
pointing to the keep,
take him in my longing mouth
deep
and there the beautiful man keep.

All day I want to live with a beautiful man.
All night I lie down with me.
I know the world is not a breast
but when did we start starving babies?
Look! When I spin very fast, the mobile stars revolve round me.

11 comments:

Greg said...

I LOVE THIS POEM Jee Leong! in my reading it says something that's there asking so urgently to be said, and yet (thank God) with some perspective and (even more important) some playing (spinning) around.

I'm wondering if you miss God.

Kate said...

I think this is an overall good poem, with a very interesting structure, and the struggle to reconcile mainstream religion to one's own life adds depth and complexity to it, but I found the "pacifier" image very disturbing.

Anonymous said...

have to agree with kate, the ''pinkish pacifier'' is too rousing and graphical to be fitted into the poem. Nevertheless, a nice poem.

Greg said...

Unlike Kate and anonymous, I like the pacifier image very much. Prevailing attitudes towards sexuality (whether in heterosexuality, in homosexuality, or in other sexualities), and troubles that necessarily arise when we try (as we inevitably do) to relate our physical experiences of sexuality to our concepts and language, ARE often "disturbing" (Kate) and "bad fits" (anonymous). I am grateful that the poem does one of the things poetry does at its best-- presenting challenging truths of human experience without succumbing to the childish emotional narcissism that insists, when confronted with problematic areas of human experience like sexuality, that we should not be "disturbed" and that everything in our representations should "fit" comfortably and fluently. If we are to live compassionately and honestly in full and deep relationships with ourselves and others, then challenges posed by strange and ugly aspects of our inner, sexual image-lives need to be directly acknowledged and presented for consideration--not repressed in order to make people feel superficially comfortable. In my reading, that is what the poem does, and I am very grateful for it.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Thanks, everyone, for giving me your take on the poem.

Jee Leong

Larry said...

Hi Jee,

The mix of infantile voice and "bad" poetry with cleverness and skill and honesty is fantastic. It's a very difficult line to walk, and kudos for taking the risk.

I'd give more thought to a few bits:


"I want it so badly" goes OTT before you have established a more trustworthy voice. I can't see this line working in any form, and certainly not twice.

"embarrassed family" - I'd use an article, otherwise it sounds like a foreigner. But I do love the God and family lines.

"the beautiful man in church" - I'd to for "a beautiful man".

Last night he toweled in the locker-room
his cock, a pinkish pacifier,


Great!

and my heart rose like a choir - I'm not pleased with the near-cliche' and the identity-rhyme. You could use "fire" somehow.

I want to tie him to my bed - good, kinky but more to the point, needy and possessive.

each limb a sweet arrow
pointing to the keep


Impossible to portray arms and legs as inward-pointing arrows. How about "his limbs a cross centered on the keep"?

take him in my longing mouth
deep
and there the beautiful man keep.


These do good work with their semi-moronic diction - although you may be overdoing it with the second-line inversion.

All night I lie down with me. - this is a bit too pathetic and simplistic.

I know the world is not a breast
but when did we start starving babies?
- a bad break in voice - it sounds moralistic and adult - just bad writing without the grace of character to carry it.

Look! When I spin very fast, the mobile stars revolve round me. - lovely, naive and lost ending lines.

Larry

Jee Leong Koh said...

Dear Larry,
happy holiday! Thanks for the thoughtful, kind and generous comments! What will I do without you keeping me to the straight and narrow? Keep well.

Jee Leong

Greg said...

I appreciate your comments, Larry, and the close attention you give to the poem. Like you I find the poem very interesting and enjoyable.

The one place where I disagree with you is in your implication that it’s undesirable to sound “foreign.” In my view, hearing things said in an apparently “foreign” way, and/or encountering “foreign” views, can help people to see things anew, and to find possibilities for consciousness, meaning, hope, and growth in areas where those possibilities had been sorely lacking before. I believe that’s part of the reason why there’s resonance in the notion (often repeated in different variations) that the US’s vitality, strength, and staying-power as a nation comes from its immigrants.

In my reading, the poem’s use of the word “family,” without the article, did not weaken it.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Hi Greg,
thanks for coming back to this. "embarrassed family" does not sound foreign at all to my ear; it is idiomatic English, even without an article or a possessive pronoun.

Jee Leong

Greg said...

Yes of course "embarrassed family" is idiomatic English, which I thought of but didn't mention in my last comment (above). Rereading that comment in light of that fact I'm annoyed because I wish I'd written it more thoughtfully and with fuller clarity; I'll try to do better in the future.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Dear Greg,
my last post sounded inadvertently brusque. I don't mean that tone at all, just carelessness and hurry in an internet cafe. Thanks for all your thoughtful responses to my work.

Jee Leong