For All the Angel-Headed Hipsters / Julie Wells

The female Casanovas, inspired by Aphrodite
and laughing in the face of the lord, Man, who has told other men
that female pleasure is a sacrilegious sacrament, holy enough to be sacrificed
but vulgar enough to be entered or excreted or ecstasied only
through the vagina. Our clits are your wombs and your mouths are our
children – hence we cannot make love to you but with you, and we cannot laugh,
either way, except in that one final moment of blind vigil.
We heard our callings but pretended dinner was ready, for sex has always been
a man's business, but our hips were meant for walking and our boots were meant
to be worn with lingerie. My therapist recommends Anais Nin so I stop seeing him
because I have felt the moonlight in my veins and it still hurts –
I have felt the light of daybreak bursting through my eyelids
when love came to town
and I am blind now, blind to beauty or vanity or ego, blind to dirt
and lust and intercourse of ether
but my body, my insides, my reproductive organs are crying out for him
who will fill me like a glass of wine,
him who will worship my cells like Aphrodite.
And I have looked all over the Western hemisphere, only finding two
who ever came close, but the many who tasted, who tried, the many who tired
of their lives of their insides, tried to fill me as if a plastic sippy cup.
You are not milk, I tell you, nor juice, nor water or formula or even
hot chocolate. If you are not wine, I do not want you.
If you do not pour yourself into me like a bottle of red,
you might as well leave still dressed, for I will leave naked
in the dark while you are sleeping to search for him. Him. And there were years
when I thought only a woman would do, a woman of vaginal proportions with a clitoris
the size of Venus – a girl with a heart of amber, perhaps
beautiful enough for a museum – and they were.
The women I knew, whose bodies I touched, the women
who kissed my lips and let me drink their milk
like we were all children and the mother, Mary, was Mother Earth, the
Puerto Rican-Italian-Irish-English-French-Dutch-German women
who allowed me to lift their legs or skirts or belts, I would not be alive
without the women I loved, the women whose breasts
absorbed my ravings of dust and hallways and never-ending sunlight,
my rants about the shadows behind Ani DiFranco lyrics –
this poem is for all my angels who walked me through labyrinths with feminine torches –
I loved you all, even the ones whose legs never opened, even
the ones whose lips never met mine. This poem is for the women who refused me
because she was named after a Buddhist Goddess or she was nervous around clits or she was
dating a friend or she was too tall or she hated the smell
of womanhood, the rising tide of her own scent, the way it split the room into a triangle
of splashing noise and her feet were wet
but her legs refused to wade deeper, to walk into the pool of salt
which would have quenched her thirst for the unknown
once and for all, but instead she waited for days with her feet bubbling against the sand
and her toes' skin mushing into leather. When she walked
towards the sun, she was blinded and drowned,
after all that standing around. This poem
is for the women who loved men more than I do, the women who would only touch me alongside one
or two or strangers of men, the beautiful girls whose hearts beat inside the cocks
of their beloveds, where I could feel them pulsing, all the hearts of all the beloveds
pulsing to the surface within my skin. And I tongued him because you loved him, really,
not because I was trying to get in your pants, but because I wanted to taste you, taste
your love – and it was butterscotch candies in clear plastic wrappers and whiskey
mixed with chocolate syrup. One love
tasted like orchids – and this was the love I envied,
for its sunrise, for its demise, the way it imploded
as a poetic meter bomb, iambic pentameter trapped in liquid
wires, leaving itself open to the chance of writing
a villanelle – I envied the taste of orchids
but also the wool with which they dried each other off after bathing in the stars.
This poem is for the poets I have loved and left, the poets
whose bodies tasted like paper, whose skin was ink, whose blood was made of words
and so had no immune systems. But the others,
oh, the other men and women, before and after and during love, lips parted
to show me the Light
or the Way,
but none of them ever told me where I was going,
so I shied away from tongues for years
and focused on the reliable parts, the parts I could hear
in my dreams,
waking or sleeping,
I could always hear when I hit upon
a string, for breathing is a tell-tale heart
and huh-huh-huh means a song is in the making.
The musicians let me play them, pretended to be investigating
art, writing notes in the dark on the pages of my poet-body, but I do not burn
like paper and so they ended disappointed, wishing they could have inflamed me
like a famous guitar. And I have tasted all these and more
and I do not envy the orchids now,
my beloved, for we taste like spring water, fresh
from the dirt of you, we taste
like a waterfall which becomes a river which will never be dammed.
Though I miss the tastings, miss filling the tiny glasses with different grapes
or differing liquids. You are my Pinot Noir, my darling, filling my cup
completely, but there still exists a body
inside me which aches for whiskey or bourbon or
chocolate milk to be poured over me in the night in my sleep
and I wish to taste the darkness of eyelids' insides. I wish
to scream behind umbrellas of alleyways and curtains of bicycle racks
for the city envelops me with its fingerings, with its men and women
and speeches – my skin waits for overexposure and even the winter twilight
makes me want to strip in the middle of the street. My body aches
for me, for heat, for hair
lapped over the edge of a stardust outline
and strung around my ankles
and the feel of hair on my feet is pepper,
fresh-ground and coarse, housed in a plastic
container, round and flat, the bodies
I have spit out or swallowed whole.

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