Thursday, March 4, 2010

Aristophanes Revisited

I've posted poems by Henri Cole before. This one is from the January 10 issue of The New York Review of Books.


Do not show how jealous you are. Do not
show how much you care. Do not think the bunch
of flowers in his hand connects the hand to you.
Do not close your eyes and kiss the funny
lips. Do not twist your torso, touching yourself
like a monkey. Do not put your mouth
on the filthy place that changes everything.
Do not utter the monosyllable twice that is
the signature of dogdom. Do not, afterward,
appear mangy with old breath, scrutinizing
every hole. And do not think—touching his hair,
licking, sucking and being sucked in the same
instant, no longer lonely—that you
are two animals perfect as one.

One of these days I'm sure we're going to read one of his books. I like how "One Animal" becomes increasingly gender-specific (male/male!) and physical, and twisted—literally—from Aristophanes' original uncut human.

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