As someone who has been tasked in this world as an incurable wailer, I journey into the moist realms grief nearly everyday of my life. There is no way that I could avoid noticing how erotic a good grief-session can be.
Take this poem for example—-
Seduced By Stone
You rest there
as you do
as you were taught by your ancestors,
old as the Earth, and older.
You see through,
see to, see all,
and judge none.
So I come to you now to confess,
to open that small frame of beginnings,
yawning its rusty hinges until
the creaking becomes undeniable.
You say yes.
My belly drops from its precipice,
landing, oozing over your shallows
in shapes never before known,
which you welcome.
I make sounds for you
that do not come from me,
the shivering loose of millenias who choke no more,
the bleating repeating, repeating,
but you are not bored,
nor offended by expression.
Only repression insults you,
not my ugly croaking, which is coming now in squirts
so old I didn’t know you could hold that too,
Friendship is older than we are, you say.
That is why I have come.
To press my cheek against your cool,
my tongue gratefully sliding from its dungeon
as you take hold of my mind,
gathering all its frizz,
all its complexity
into one smooth braid.
Chains have never been, you say.
Erode me, drop by teardrop
and sing with a mouth that I do not have
that you have only to slip my ancient speech inside,
to lube-open jawbones, spilling jewels with your slobber.
And we both say,
ahhhhhhhhh, ahhh, ahhhhhhhhhhhh…..
Til the quiet of dusk.
28 December 2021
This poem slipped out fully-formed just after Yule, in one rapid push. I was stunned by its birth. A friend read it, and commented “you astound me.” But to me, it feels like I did not do anything.
This poem did me.
Having recently been dared by the animist author Paul Kingsnorth to speak to the forest directly, not about the forest, I put my pen on the page, and out she gushed.
In its lines, I am recalling a few of my recent wailing sessions in the forest above our tiny house–loud and slimy experiences, where I am witnessed by cedar, soil, and a large jade boulder who I am becoming quite intimate with over the years. When I read it back to myself, I am bemused by how much
THIS POEM READS LIKE EROTICA.
As I was writing it, I felt my body come alive, glowing warm, wet, falling open.
Yet I was writing about grieving, not a “lover.”
Ah, but this is precisely what I am getting at. When I am fully engaged with it, grieving IS a lover.
This poem adds to the mounting evidence of a fundamental truth about griefwork. Namely:
DEATH, GRIEF, SEX, AND ANCESTORS are intextricably linked. They are not paradoxical or antithetical to one-another, as the grief-o-phobes would have us believe. If we let it have its way with us, grief taps us into EROS, and can be deeply connective.
When we grieve, we may be paid a visit by our olde-tyme ancestors, folks who might have lived during times when eros wasn’t nearly so tame and small-minded. If we are open to it, our ancestors might be willing to teach us some useful stuff about the mysteries of our bodies, such as being washed by the Deep Source where they reside; such as how to allow pleasure to arise in the least likely places; such as the liberation of connecting all the way through our suffering to the place where we become Gaia; such as riding the alchemical wave where grief meets gratitude and joy.
Oh yes, grief can be SEXY. But we need to vastly expand our Pantheon of Erotica far beyond the narrowed, trigger-happy fare of our perpetually adolescent society. Building ecosexual and celibate relationships with stone, cedar, and soil must be considered a deeply satisfying act. To wit, the roots of the word celibate relate it to “wholeness,” “health” and “unboundness.’ Far from being outside of the erotic spectrum, as it is typically characterized by the ecosexually illiterate, far from being “frigid,” “stuffy,” “prudish,” or “stale,” celibacy can be sexy AF.
Not only is the nature of grief unitive and erotic, but the exclusion of it from our erotica is what underlies our dominant culture of rape, domination, and pornography……Ah, yet another topic to explore in a future post. Expect to see more writing from me on the EROS of GRIEF…..