Thursday, February 12, 2015

Poetry: How poets have been getting lucky since forever

There comes a time in every marriage, long-term living arrangement with a lover, and romantic written correspondence with a death row inmate, when epic professions of love no longer get your motor running. 



When you've been listening to the same man snore for a decade and the kids are clamoring to climb into your marriage bed, you might forgo the "I love you like a love song, baby" and cut to the chase. Because while pop music may have most of us conditioned to expect the carnal natures of love to be expressed through Barry White and Marvin Gaye songs, sexual healing has been the art of poets for ages. 

Before LMFAO was sexy—and they know it—John Donne was wooing ladies into bed with fleas. Keuroac was handling his manhood with metaphors. 

Maybe you're the proverbial virgin, about to be touched for the very first time by romance's sweaty cousin, smut. So brace yourself, some of literature's greats are about to ask you in for a romp. 

  • Shakespeare, the Bard who gave us the world's most famous hopeless romantics (Romeo and Juliet, duh) also brought the dirty line "making the beast with two backs" into popular usage. Villainous Iago uses this classy description of coitus in Shakespeare's Othello(Abridged version: Othello's a man, baby, not a board game.) Although Shakespeare made famous a phrase that was probably already popular in pubs across Europe, if your partner whispers this to you tonight, chances are the honeymoon's over.

  • John Donne: preacher, husband, philanderous poet. That's right, object of John "I'm Too Sexy for this Century" Donne's conquest, why the fuss over a forbidden dance between the bed sheets? "We are already married in this flea who sucked our blood and you might as well give up that maidenhead. I hear this blood sucking business is going to be a big hit in romantic teen novels of the 21st century. Won't you be my Bella?" Sure, he's a brilliant man with a big conceit (if you know what I mean) but does 17th century poetry get more suggestive than this bit from "The Flea"?
It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.


  • Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Cassady, a beatnik collaboration that brought us "Pull My Daisy" a crazy little poem, man, that may be about illicit drug use or financial reform, but I think winning lines like "Call my worm to sup" make it a candidate for poetic Penthouse Letters. Call my worm to sup, Jackie? Gross. If my husband asks me for something like this, he'll be taking his worm to the guest room for Valentine's day.



  • Edgar Allan Poe was, if nothing else, a dogged lover of the macabre. Really ladies, is there anything sexier? Creepy death birds, deformed midget murderers, people walled up alive, I know that makes me think "Can't get enough of your love, baby." But the most blatantly necrotic love ode is his "Annabel Lee." Because nothing says Be My Valentine like a giant Hershey's Kiss and hints of necrophilia. Hey, hey, you, you, get outta my crypt.
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea. 


  • I'll end with a ray of poetic hope. A poem that only a woman could have realized would surely win lovers a ticket to naked town. Even the title is a hint, fellas. "Come Slowly," by Emily Dickinson is a quick read that reminds us that five minutes may not be enough time. This poem may be the original sexual healing. Ahem, is it hot in here?
Come slowly, Eden
Lips unused to thee.
Bashful, sip thy jasmines,
As the fainting bee,
Reaching late his flower,
Round her chamber hums,
Counts his nectars -alights,
And is lost in balms! 


Poetry, the lost art of "takest thou off thy nightie because it's time to do the Humpty Dance." How better to commemorate Hallmark's greatest holiday than with a few of our favorite lines? Show me the poetry. Bonus points if it involves sex acts hiding behind metaphors.