Poetry - Dropping Balm, The Absinthe Literary Review

Eros Poetry 
by SuzAnne Cole, Autumn Collins
Anne Marie Fowler
, and Ginny Wray

by Autumn Collins

Hastily thrown together,

The contents of the last box

From the last trip to the old apartment,

Now his,

Spill on the bed in a grand finale.


Among the stamps and loose change,

His cock points at me

From the corner of an old Polaroid.

How strange an accusation

That is both ridiculous and sad.

A small flipbook of images here

That are no longer rightfully mine,

But I donít know how to look away.

Wickedly bound and bent

I canít make sense of which way is up or down.

Faded and foreign,

They are silent pornography

In a dead language.


© A. Collins 2002 


by Anne Marie Fowler


I collect male nudes
like some women collect lovers,
except my men
                    donít talk
                    donít scratch
                    donít finish first then drift off to sleep
                    while I rattle the foundation with my
                    self-inflicted Category Five O.


I collect female nudes.
Like some women, I am fascinated
by the allure of forbidden

                    Breasts, perfectly orbed

                    Waists whittled

                    Hips that arenít impartial, but sway
                    into a heart pointing directly to the V
                    pressed between sticky thighs.


Imagine me sprawled among them, ripe and sweaty.

Never mind the heat. Watch me as I collect my coital fury.

© A. Fowler 2002 


Word Play
by Ginny Wray

My husband needs to talk to me when we make love.
We are lying together, leg to leg.
He asks, What can I say to drive you crazy?
Iím crazy enough as it is, I say.
No, no, he replies. There must be something I can say
to drive you wild with love.
Say the words.
Just say them!

There are no words to drive me wild, I think,
and yet heís so hungry to hear me speak that I say,
Tell me Ö tell me about the beautiful women
you see on the train every day.
Thereís only you, he says. Thereís no one else.
Oh really? I say.
Well, there is someone.

This isnít real, I tell myself;
it would kill me if it were,
and yet Ö
and yet Ö I draw closer to his side,
and say, Tell me about her.
She has black hair, he says.
And long, long legs.
And you want her? I say.
Do you want me to want her?
Well, yes and no, I think, but I say, Yes.
I want her? he says. Tell me how I want her.

He needs me to give him the words;
he needs me to pretend
I didnít say them first,
so he can pretend he did.
And so I imagine what words he thinks I want to hear
to bring me joy.

Tell me sheís beautiful and you want her, I say.
Sheís Ö sheís beautiful, and I want her, he says, reaching out to me.
Yes, and then?
Tell me you want to kneel at her feet
(Oh God, he says, I wantÖ)
to kneel at her feet
all the way from the city to Pelham
on the Metro North railroad bound for Stamford!
My sweet, sweet man.

And then what should I say? he says.
Tell me you want to pull up her skirt
and bury your head between her thighs.
That will make me crazy, I say.
And suddenly, I am 
crazy jealous, crazy in love,
and forget Iím only pretending
to say the words he wants to hear me say.

Now heís pressing his face into her lap
on the 5:28 out of Grand Central Station.
And I say, Do it to me while youíre thinking of her.
And as he does, I whisper,
Whisper to me between my legs,
and he murmurs like one of the faithful
telling the beads of the rosary.

Now cry out and tell me itís good for you.
Itís good for me, so good.
Oh say the words!
Just say the words!

© G. Wray 2002 


To Inherit the Promise: The Story of Tamar
(Genesis 38)
by SuzAnne  C. Cole

Heartsick reading of women victimized,
sucked dry of sweetness and juice, tossed
aside like empty rinds, I like to remember
Tamar, bargaining with all she owned.

Wife to Judahís first-born, Er, expected
the most a woman couldórespect
through bearing sons.  But after
Yahweh slew her evil spouse, rather
than conceive with her, Erís brother
Onan scattered his seed.  Death for sin. 
Two sons dead, Judah withheld Shelah,
the next, said too young, wait a while.   

Empty-wombed widow watched Judah
become a widower, Shelah a man,
but still not her groom.
Judahís mourning over, she veiled herself
as harlot, sat by the road he must travel.
At first sight he asked for sex.  She bartered
her body for a kid from his flock, pledged
with signet and staff.  Conceiving,
she returned to her fatherís house.

When Tamar swelled with promise, the
people cried out to Judah for her punishment.
ďBurn her,Ē he pronounced.  Brought before
them, she lifted high Judahís signet and staff:
ďBy him who gave me these am I with child.Ē
Humbled, Judah proclaimed her righteous. 
Her firstborn twin became Davidís ancestor.

I like to remember Tamar.

© S. Cole 2002 


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