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CLOSE / Parnassiad

Peace and Other Stories

Fragments of a Formerly Active Sex Life

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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The Annihilation of Longing:
He dared, the muses said
On Wordsworth and Romantic Assumptions about Poetry
Self-Exile as a Means of Preventing Prophecy
Objets de méditation
I Want a Girl Like Doctor Doom's
The Ape Cheers at the Bride's Vagina
l'Esprit évacué
But in Her Heart Suspects / And How Much He’d Like
le Carlin
God’s Five-Fingered Hand, American
Old Silt
A Post-Colonial Tea
Julian the Philosopher
Growing Chilies
The Problem with Such Self-Congratulation
Songs of Sadness 1
Songs of Sadness 2
Songs of Sadness 3
Songs of Sadness 4
Not a Song of Sadness
Songs of Sadness 5
Songs of Sadness 6
Songs of Sadness 7-9
Songs of Sadness 10
Unrealized Soulmate
Another Original
Letter to the Other Man