“…the poem which i do not write”

 (title from poem xvii by e.e. cummings)

rumiRumi is a long time favorite of mine.  His love poems speak often of desire, as does the Judeo-Christian Song of Solomon.  Religious apologists say that the use of erotica in these and other sacred writing is an allegorical way of describing an ideal relationship with the divine.   I never really never got it.

Even in childhood, rapturous encounters with beauty and intellectual excitement  aroused my body as well as my mind and spirit.  I had experienced feelings of transcendence during sex.  I groked the concept.  I mean look at Bernini’s bernini-ecstasy-of-st-theresa-7-s1statue of Saint Theresa in ecstasy at being pierced by the angel’s arrow.  I understood how artists and poets could run with the idea, but somehow it still didn’t compute for me as a spiritual equation.

Fast forward  through my life with all its attendant sexual experiences, confusions and life lessons to a moment in my forties.  One summer day, while lying in the shade of a grove of trees on a massage table the masseuse ran her hand along my spine and asked,  “What do you want?  I immediately burst into tears, realizing in that moment that I had never allowed myself to really want anything.  It took a long time to work through that revelation, but it was the beginning of my exploration of desire.

I began reading and writing erotica.  It was fun, enlightening, stimulating and took me several steps further towards self-integration.  Writing erotica is a great practice.  For one thing, it is safe – you can experiment imaginally, without venturing into dangerous real-life situations.  Contrariwise, your poetry can act as an exercise room or sounding board for trying out something you might want to explore in real life.  Your poems can be a way to give yourself permission to try new ways of being and acting sexual.

Fast forward again to an even older more experienced, much more integrated and wiser woman.  I encounter a younger, incredibly sexy man who floods me with desire…


The Naked Man is so good looking

when he walks in the café door

all our panties dampen.

He’s got a pheromone machine inside him

churning out sex appeal.

For that, we forgive him many sins.

…and he feels the same way.  He is a poet (as luck would have it), a narcissist and puer, madly intelligent, well read, full of insatiable curiosity, and adventurous.  He also has a wife and children, whom he’s in the process of abandoning; talks incessantly about Naked Man Cover 01his (rationalized) sexual conquests in philosophical terms and is, in all ways, unsuitable as a lover.

Happily, I knew this all the way through my bones.  (This, in fact, is the definition of wisdom – incorporated knowledge)  But it fascinated and surprised me, how willing and able I was to draw the line at consummation and yet remain in flirtation.

We began writing poems back and forth.  Eventually, he more or less wandered off , while I kept writing and thinking and contemplating and pondering about how much I enjoyed desire itself.   Gradually I realized that Rumi was talking about desire as being the ultimate God connection not the act of sex.  It is desire not consummation that invigorates mind, soul and body.  Longing itself is infinite; more infinitely delicious than any getting.  Desire outweighs consummation.

Me and Mr. Jones

We perch at our tiny table

sharing cabernet and gimlets, I gaze.

You talk and talk ‑ it all makes sense,

reflects my own musing, mingles

with the perfect pitch of a tenor sax.

But I have walked this path before

in other shoes and I see ghosts

pacing the walls, huddled waiting

in the corner of the red leather couch.

Though flame flickers sweetly between us

turning your white shirt cream, dappling

your beautiful neck with gold,

though your blue eyes turn navy

dilating with desire, eventually

we must go home again.

And then there’s this: fulfillment

nullifies desire, collapses possibilities,

concretizes fantasy, defines the dream.

I prefer the swoops and darts of Eros,

synchronistic meetings, unplanned rendezvous

Karma, tossing her gauntlet over a rainbow

time and time again.

The most wonderful thing about coming into spiritual relationship with desire – longing doesn’t fade.  Once you give up getting, the sky remains more intensely blue, the breeze more intensely present – each touch magnified, every sense amplified.  A poet’s dream…

This entry was posted in Consciousness, Desire, dVerse, Eros, Herstory, Poetry, wisdom and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to “…the poem which i do not write”

  1. I love this personal exploration and experience of desire and its many elements and how it works differently for different individuals. One of my first expressions of desire was all about looking intently for Rodin’s sculptures on Google. Ha!
    A wonderful perspective of a very thoughtful and thought-provoking nature. I am still thinking of your reflection that desire outweighs consummation. That is certainly so at times and somehow I feel that the resulting action also fuels longing and desire, as if one leads to another and so on, in a cycle of experiencing certain delights of the body and soul. 🙂

    • I agree. I am 72 so I’ve had a long time to think/feel/experience all this. Like I intimated in the blog post – there were plenty of times in my life when I would not have chosen to forego consummation. But it’s not, not ,not about giving up pleasure – it that the state of desiring can be more pleasurable in the spiritual/ philosophical sense of relating to the world and the idea of gods. It may be easier for me who doesn’t believe in god/s/ per se. If one does however, it might be better never to meet them face to face. (As an aside – have you ever read the chapter “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” from “The Wind in the Willows.” – it contains an amazing description of meeting the divine face – to -face) Anyway you aren’t the only commentator who said that the getting increases desire and longing- but that’s my whole point. Suffering increases too – because now one wants more, because it wasn’t enough or perhaps somewhere, sometime , someone might be better… It comes back to the idea of letting go of outcome. Letting go of the goal.
      What was fortunate for me with my Naked Man was that it was so obvious that sleeping with him would be messy, unsatisfying and not worth it – for all sorts of reasons- Happily for me he was resilient and humorous enough to find the flirtation fun. So I got to experience prolonged unfulfilled desire for long enough to explore it than physically. But I came to that understanding because my body, senses heightened by physical desire, amped up its appreciation of the sensual. So it all came about because of physical desire. I hope that point wasn’t lost. It was being in that state that induced my revelation.

  2. Grace says:

    I specially admire your reflections here on desire:
    Longing itself is infinite; more infinitely delicious than any getting. Desire outweighs consummation.

    And then there’s this: fulfillment
    nullifies desire, collapses possibilities,
    concretizes fantasy, defines the dream.

    I get frustration with unfulfillment. For me fulfillment brings me to a higher level of desire and want.

  3. I do love the wisdom of this… and also desire know no borders… we can crave whatever we want and though it’s still hard for me to project this desire on God, I can actually appreciate it for what it is… a longing for something… a longing that lasts.

  4. Rob Kistner says:

    This was excellent Christine, and a very potent perspective on desire – though I must admit, I am personally still drawn to the getting as well. I love Rumi, I have a book of Coleman Barks’ translations of Rumi. I enjoyed your verse about the Naked Man. This was a wonderful read… 🙂

    BTW, I have left you a click here to read some tastefully passionate erotica, should yoy wish…
    …rob from Image & Verse
    Hedone’s Daughter

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