day I picture curves arching under me
Dripping the sweat of passion, the heat
Jeering at the bodies we use to strain for pleasure
Equaled by no other. We quest together for the
Coolness and calmness that follows it.
Tonight I must make this image into reality.
I cannot live on images. Sustenance craves
Veritability of pleasure, not phantoms of fever.
Each moment stretches into eternity; I
Long to run my hand down the spine, cup
Each buttock in turn, lick a line of
Shivers along the spine hiding behind you.
Soon I will make love to you.
by Jason Paul Fox
When I wrote this poem, I was primarily writing short erotic poems for poetry class -- and, obviously, for the women in my life at the time. A young man doesn't spend much time single if he devotes most of his free time to sexy poetry.
Anyway, my poetic conspirators and I had one classmate whose poetry we didn't like. It really wasn't poetry at all, just hand-wringing prose broken up into shorter lines, and missing punctuation. I was the only person brave enough to critique her writing in class (other than the teacher.) No one wanted to be mean, and neither did I, but I started to feel sorry for her. Sometimes half an hour would be spent discussing one of my poems, but no one wanted to touch her stuff. I tried to gently suggest directions for improvement, and she said she was trying to follow advice, but she wasn't improving much.
My co-conspirators and I finallly collaborated on a poem that lampooned her writing style. (Unfortunately, this poem is lost to the wind unless I can get my old Osborne computer working... more on that another day.) To this young woman's credit, she wrote a response, and also presented her text to the class. (Even in distant memory, it's hard to use the word poem to describe anything she wrote.) In her piece, she singled me out and criticized me for using "too many adjectives" in my poetry.
Again, while I can't personally admire what she wrote, I admire her for her strength of character. She was a fun person to have in class, and I liked her. Just really bad writing, in my honest opinion. (Leaving out conjunctions doesn't make something poetry! Just arrange your phrases so you don't need conjunctions...)
This is the poem I wrote in response to the young woman's rebuttal. It was an attempt to write a sexy poem without any adjectives at all. As I worked on it, I realized that no-one would recognize what I was doing -- it was a very difficult exercise for me, but it wasn't clear that it was a counter-rebuttal. The lack of adjectives didn't seem to reduce the impact. This is when I chose to write an acrostic poem. I could write one of my usual brainy sexy poems, and let the first letter of each line ensure my point got across. A "secret" acrostic message.
To her credit, my adversary immediately declared this acrostic poem her favorite of my poems. That is an important lesson in life, to me. In many, many areas of life, it doesn't matter who is right. It matters who fights honorably. I may still remember this girl's writing as execrable, but I discussed it honorably, and she gave me the same respect.
My final note about this poem is that it has become a perennial favorite. It's been over twenty years since this poem was written… When I ask friends, fans, and freaks to name favorite poems, this one pops up over and over. So thank you, whatever your name was! I hope my critiques helped you as much as your critiques helped me!
copyright 2007 Jason Paul Fox