|The Ape Cheers at the Bride's Vagina |
by Julian X  /  poetry  /  17 Jul 2007
On the plane, they call out newlyweds. All applaud
congratulations. I wonder what sort of marriage,
of its duration and worth. Better
to clap for anniversaries, perhaps one clap per year,
and we do that too, not realizing we brand marriage a test,
an obstacle course, congratulating people for just sticking it out,
finishing the race another year. Then we wonder
why people don’t want to get married.
It’s like clapping for a book, a finer accomplishment than two
people signing a paper, exchanging vows
none believe any more, or practice at any rate:
the question is not the book, the marriage, but
its quality, its fineness and daring, the oddity, the absurdity
of it all. Of course, what’s simply going on is an excuse
to share a couple’s happiness, imagined and imposed,
to celebrate the idea of happiness itself, books being for most
less visceral, less easy penetrated, intellectually,
than a bride’s vagina.
On the plane they enact the industrial equivalent of the village
awaiting the bloody marriage sheets, dangled from the balcony
for all to see and celebrate, no reason known save the base,
a culture’s somnambulistic adoption of its,
and the tribe’s, survival.
Yet I waved at a bride, beautiful in white, as she passed
in a limousine, waving as the driver honked and a street
of tailgaters pursued, making myself some small,
unremembered part of that moment her life turned.
Lives, as usually lived, are too simple
for poetry, too unwilling to strap social values,
or themselves, in the leather chair
and interrogate them with blackjacks.
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