From everything they have robbed of poetry, I am playing Robin Hood and restoring the catch of rhythm and lilting melodies.
I am forming, from the mud they have flung, larger-than-life statues of body poetry that they may shelter you against the frigidity of our time. I want to give back to you the arresting magic of the scar on the inner skin of your arm, the story your shoulders tell under thin cotton shirts. I am restoring the symphony of bare skins entwined, darkening under the gaze of lengthening shadows. This is my composition, a melody of bodies in motion, an ode to the love created on the earthtones of skin. Bring back the art that they have pilfered and perverted from the harmony of being sung at the genesis of creation.
In the caress of these words I want to raise back to the gods what the hedonists have thrown to the animals and the moralists given to their devils. I want to liberate the ecstasy throbbing beneath: it has been condemned to the darkest corners too long by religions claiming to preserve the flesh. For you, I want this passion to be birthed whole and pristine, not the deformed caricatures the sybarites are delivering to us. Between those who would prefer that we die brittle and sexless and those who would have us die from the saturation of pleasure, there is no salvation. I bring to you those who would have you attain flight and leave the solitude of this casket of flesh and bone at the crescendo of a melody only the body makes. We are giving back these harmonies of skin to the heavens that we, like St. Teresa of Àvila, might experience God as the paroxysm of sensation.
You have dedicated rooms to making love only to adorn the walls with the beads of your fear and shame. Your fingers are tipped with the shards of guilt that even the lightest of your caresses draws blood. You are here desperately and just as desperately would rather be anywhere else. In the glaring clarity of the moments that you are present you would beseech the lords for blindness that you may be spared the sight of yourself. The only authenticity in your passion is an unacknowledged hatred of this: this act, this intimacy, this suspension in ecstasy, this vulnerability, this absurdity of posture. At the height of it you beg for the mercy of escape. You have not learned to create love. All of your sexual education has only taught you how to fuck; how to fuck with no art.
The pornography industry has done the greatest disservice to sex. It has convinced you that the union of body and spirit is unnecessary. It has created in you a hunger for touch that does not cross the boundaries of the body. Yet you wonder why memorizing the Kama Sutra page by page cannot save you from this inescapable emptiness, this crushing solitude, when all your acrobatics are a conscious pouring from empty into void. Who will bring back the poetry between stunning white sheets, to the light sheen on the soft skin of inner thighs?
I wish to give back to you the art of loving that you may again experience beauty. D.H. Lawrence, ‘When passion is dead, or absent, then the magnificent throb of beauty is incomprehensible and even a little despicable; warm, live beauty of contact, so much deeper than the beauty of vision’. It is your passion you have abdicated in your abasement of one of the deepest connections that can exist between two human beings. You have robbed of its magic the sensuality of a dance through your mechanizations.
You have reduced it to its barest form not realising as Anaïs tells us that, ‘Sex loses all its power and magic when it becomes explicit, mechanical, overdone, when it becomes a mechanistic obsession. It becomes a bore’. It is your insistence on removing the emotional from the physical that has made intimacy a depravity. You are so afraid of being seen that even in your nudity you are in armour. You have yet to learn: Anaïs, ‘How wrong it is not to mix sex with emotion, hunger, desire, lust, whims, caprices, personal ties, deeper relationships that change its color, flavor, rhythms, intensities’. This shame, this guilt, this fear, this astounding coldness is robbing you of a wealth freely given.
Anaïs, ‘You do not know what you are missing by your microscopic examination of sexual activity to the exclusion of aspects which are the fuel that ignites it. Intellectual, imaginative, romantic, emotional. This is what gives sex its surprising textures, its subtle transformations, its aphrodisiac elements. You are shrinking your world of sensations. You are withering it, starving it, draining its blood’. Your miseducation has convinced you that sex is a question of variations in positions. You speak of these with the excitement of a starving man hankering after a piece of bread. Mechanisations. Alain De Botton, ‘The most urgent problems we face with sex rarely have anything to do with technique’.
Anaïs, ‘The source of sexual power is curiosity, passion. You are watching its little flame die of asphyxiation. Sex does not thrive on monotony. Without feeling, inventions, moods, no surprises in bed. Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine’.
They are lying to you. Those who are trying to convince you that great sex is performed suspended upside down on a swinging trapeze because, again, Anaïs, ‘If you have closed your senses upon silk, light, color, odor, character, temperament, you must be by now completely shriveled up. There are so many minor senses, all running like tributaries into the mainstream of sex, nourishing it. Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy’.
I cannot side with those who would wish to divorce sex from feeling. Sensuality exists through the unification of the physical and the spiritual. Yet feeling does not translate into possession. It is not a question of how tight the chain is that has bound you to another person, it is a question of consciousness and a desire to transcend it through union. D.H. Lawrence, ‘Sex is really only touch, the closest of all touch. And it’s touch we’re afraid of. We’re only half conscious, and half alive. We’ve got to come alive and aware’.
It is perhaps not the place of poets to condemn or to extol. But as Camus puts it, ‘One is always prey to their truths. Once they have admitted them, they cannot be free of them. One has to pay something’. I will not advocate for casual sex, but neither will I proclaim that a relationship is a surety to sensuality. It is possible to find sensuality outside the shackles of union, as it is possible to create mechanizations with the one you have promised the entirety of your being. All I can caution against is this attempt to escape yourself through the body of another. All I can warn against is this fear, this shame, this guilt that tarnishes the moon sweating over the dip of a bare back. I can only stand by a philosophy of consciousness, an appreciation for the moments of union, a tenderness towards the one who holds the other part of the harmony and a cultivated openness.
If you wish to create these skin harmonies: be there, stay there, drown in that moment, die a hundred deaths, straddle the ladder of your ascensions, transcend, kiss the foot of God; wish for nothing but this instant, this slice of eternity when you are lost in your own discovery.
And stop fucking without art.
D.H. Lawrence, ‘Yes, I do believe in something. I believe in being warm-hearted. I believe especially in being warm-hearted in love, in fucking with a warm heart. I believe if men could fuck with warm hearts, and the women take it warm-heartedly, everything would come all right. It’s all this cold-hearted fucking that is death and idiocy’.