Coming Home: Day 28 — when is it too late?

Today I want much more than my hands on myself, than the water between my legs, than some simple contractions. Today I want the soar of connection, of hands touching, of love in and through a body that didn’t expect to do any more, ever, than just survive.

Today I am slippery in all the poems, I am drinking tea and not eating enough, the tears are all stain and open throat, the quiet is broken by the sad songs, the puppy I let myself love is curled into a small groaning ball. Today I am preparing for what has always been my vocation. Today I want to slip out from under the writer/watcher, the part that analyzes and is already crafting description of my every lived moment — I want to breathe into an unwritten moment. I am writing now, will come later, and I will not tell you about it. Today’s orgasm will be just for me. 

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Didn’t we have to include this one during this month’s ode to the love and struggle of masturbation?

The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator

ANNE SEXTON

The end of the affair is always death.   
She’s my workshop. Slippery eye,   
out of the tribe of myself my breath   
finds you gone. I horrify
those who stand by. I am fed.   
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Finger to finger, now she’s mine.   
She’s not too far. She’s my encounter.   
I beat her like a bell. I recline
in the bower where you used to mount her.   
You borrowed me on the flowered spread.   
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Take for instance this night, my love,   
that every single couple puts together   
with a joint overturning, beneath, above,   
the abundant two on sponge and feather,   
kneeling and pushing, head to head.   
At night alone, I marry the bed.

I break out of my body this way,   
an annoying miracle. Could I   
put the dream market on display?   
I am spread out. I crucify.
My little plum is what you said.   
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Then my black-eyed rival came.
The lady of water, rising on the beach,   
a piano at her fingertips, shame   
on her lips and a flute’s speech.
And I was the knock-kneed broom instead.   
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

She took you the way a woman takes   
a bargain dress off the rack
and I broke the way a stone breaks.
I give back your books and fishing tack.   
Today’s paper says that you are wed.   
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

The boys and girls are one tonight.
They unbutton blouses. They unzip flies.   
They take off shoes. They turn off the light.   
The glimmering creatures are full of lies.
They are eating each other. They are overfed.   
At night, alone, I marry the bed.


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What does it look like to let go of hyper-vigilance, to release the energy that has been focused for twenty years on looking back over all my inside shoulders? What does it look like to have all of this one self present in this one moment, no fragments floating off to keep watch for any interlopers, any threat? What could it possibly mean that I am beginning to imagine such an embodiment, that, in my moments of meditation, I can feel the tremendous relief in my muscles, that I weep (it feels that heavy) with the ability to let my shoulders fall into right here, right now

What does it mean to know that I will still get hurt, whether or not I am hyper vigilant, whether or not I was on the lookout for the next assault, whether or not I thought I was protecting myself? What does it mean to breathe into that assurance, let it be just true: not a tragedy, just a human fact?

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I’m all questions and huge hope today, and I think this isn’t so hot — last night I dreamed about the Masturbate-a-thon: I logged in to the site just in time to see a gorgeous friend of mine saying, calling to Carol, that she’d just come. She had her clothes mostly on, a red dress to offset her pale skin and blonde hair, she’d been on her back and had her hands under the dress, the dress was wrinkled where it’d been pushed up around her hips. But when I get to the video stream, she’s already pulled the dress back down, her face red and grinning, already re-composing into her public-performance persona. Later in the dream, I got to the Center for Sex and Culture just after the event was over. The room was filled with the energy of the just released, a few stains on the floor (the room was carpeted and in some industrial building, nowhere that the CSC has ever actually been housed during the years I’ve known about it.) I was disappointed to have worked up the courage to come out for the event and then have missed it, was a little electrified. I helped Carol and Robert with the last of the cleaning up — 

What can I say about this dream? This line was in a poem I wrote in response to this weekend: too late to find / comfort enough in such small daily moments — and I wrote, over and over, is it too late for me? I’m forty years old — is it too late for this embodiment, this understanding and acceptance, this joy, this still-mourning. Is it too late to expect that I will wake up happy tomorrow morning, that my dreams can come so true that I will finally need new ones? Is it too late to take hold of my own hands and bless them? Is it too late to wake up?

I know — it’s a ridiculous question. We can say, reflexively, that it’s never too late.


 And yet — to feel it. To feel it.
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Come again tomorrow, ok? Only and always as you like it. See you then.