David Lehman's latest books are A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs (2009; Nextbook / Schocken) and Yeshiva Boys, a book of poems (2009; Scribner). He is the editor of The Oxford Book of American Poetry, the series editor of The Best American Poetry, and the poetry coordinator of the New School's graduate writing program in New York City.
Photograph by Chris Felver
Here’s to the duality of flesh
and blood, neck and rope,
and the temporary flush
of skin, absence of hope.
As far as foreplay is indicted,
here's to his length and her depth.
The whole vice squad is invited:
gambling, booze, dope, and death.
He will paint her not as a painter paints
a woman but as a painter paints a wall.
If sex is the athleticism of the saints,
here’s to her autumn and his fall.
You will become addicted to his smell,
so use it well or not at all.
Tell me what you would do,
and whom you'd like to do it with,
which member of the crew
or figure out of golden myth
you're dying to screw
a few minutes before death
and you mate in the vanishing blue
when day and you run out of breath:
your life once equaled your room
and yet you evaded your doom
it didn't happen to you
a hero without a wreath
who told us what would ensue
if we did what we didn't do.