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Page 109

Our investment in nakedness went out the top,
but it proved to be a balloon, puffed up by years
of wild adolescent speculation. The balloon burst,
and soon you couldn't trade a young male or
female body for a pair of wrinkled pajamas.
Bareness had gone into a bear market,
and we haven't seen the bottom yet.

(It is not bodies that are topless
and bottomless.)

I could still look at hair and breast and crotch
and all that soft curvature, feeling
nothing at all. ("Such maturity," I suggested
to myself.) I could touch them and feel
the texture of things much like
the things I see in the bathroom mirror;
my tongue in your mouth no more exciting
than my tongue in my mouth (maybe if
just once, unexpectedly, you bit me...?)

It's not love that's to blame, for it wasn't
bodies we loved. Never was -- no matter
how loudly our hormones tried to out-scream us
(silly whore moans). It's true we valued nakedness,
which made it useful as a token, something
we could give each other. Remember, reader,

when you lay in a crib, bored with spit-sticky toys
and shifting shadows, and then a gentle finger
poked your chubbiness and gave you words --
said "baby!" and you said "bahbah!",
said "Good!" and you said "Goo!", curling up
into an ecstatically giggling ball, then uncurling
to kick out your feet, as if kicking free
a joy too big for your body? ("Foot! Oh
little foot! I've GOT it! I'm going to
EAT IT UP!" -- warm lips teasing
your foot with loud kiss-kiss noises.)
What a joy in words! Why? Because they meant
"Someone is here to play with me!"

Note: Stanza 1: When love and communication cease to illuminate sex, the flesh of another becomes about as exciting as rumpled pajamas (a word that suggests "bottom" which leads to infinite (topless and bottomless) spirits (stanza 2). People try to solve this by using odd positions, having affairs, anything titillating. That uses itself up fast. What's missing is someone here (me, her -- not just two clumps of cellular life) to play with.

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