V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




People say they can’t imagine their parents having sex,
        but I can. I mean, unless your parents are midgets
or something, it’d be just like everybody else’s
                sex only with different heads on the bodies.
I think where most people get into trouble is when

they imagine themselves in there somewhere,
        because when you’re looking at a movie, and an actor
is making out with an actress, and you’d really
                like to have sex with one of them, you may say
to yourself things like “Boy, I would really

like to have sex with that actor or actress” and “Um,
        um! Having sex with that sexy actor or actress—
what a good deal for me!” So when you start
                thinking about your parents having sex,
naturally you wonder what it’d be like

to look up and see your father’s horrible face
        as he’s leering and slobbering, which makes you
want to, like, so vomit. Sex is fucked up anyway.
                I mean, the best part is not doing it,
right? Like you, when I see a woman’s breasts peeping out

of her shirt, I always think of Richard Tarlton
        of the Queen’s Men, the first great English clown
and the most popular comedian of the Elizabethan
                age, the sight of whose face alone, peeping from
behind the stage, was enough to send audiences

into hysterics. Here’s drama, I think! Here’s
        entertainment! Here’s a curtain about to be thrown
open and an audience delighted! But then she pulls
                her clothes off and you pull off yours, and you do it,
and you’re both, like, “Eh!” Or say you’re gay

and you go to a party and you see somebody
        across the room, and it’s just like the white-winged
dove who sings a song, sounds like she's singing: "Whoo,
                whoo, whoo." But then you do it, and you’re both,
like, “Eh!” The best sex happens when you don’t

know whether it happened or not, as when Bobby
        Bare recorded  “Margie's at The Lincoln Park Inn”
and his wife says, “You're awfully believable
                on that song,” and he says, “I didn’t do nothing,
that’s just the way Tom T. Hall wrote it,” even as

Miss Dixie is saying to Tom T. Hall, “That song is awfully
        believable,” and Tom T. says, “It don’t have
nothing to do with me. I wrote it for Bare!''
                When I was making out a check for my National
Book Critics Circle dues to the treasurer, whose name

is Jennifer, I was writing one at the same time to Roger,
        the lawn guy, who’d just had his knees
replaced, so I put a Post-It on the check for Jennifer that said,
                “Here’s my dues” and another Post-It 
on Roger’s check that said, “Can’t wait to see your knees!,”

but since I was trying to watch the Daytona 500
        at the same time, I switched the Post-Its around,
which might have had Jennifer thinking I was trying
                to get fresh with her, but then I switched them back.
I think. The best sex is funny sex, like funny anything.


© by David Kirby


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