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Luminous as numerals in the dark.

August 25, 2022

“You’re more aware of language if you’re a poet. You look at the verbs and you say, “Can I vary them?” “- Erica Jong

Blazing star
endowed with
bell-shaped beauty, –
bachelors,
masters,
doctorate

and PhD- compliant
MyPhys, charming figure
aspiring sister, 

seasoned bee balm
repelling negativities,
lover of African mythology

tastes the
familiarities of a
bleeding heart

under vows
of poverty,
chastity,
obedience&church
religious magic in
shades of pink, purple, red and orange,

balloon flower
cosmos of order and harmony
you’ll never stop loving
familial duty.

Erica Jong (née Mann; born March 26, 1942) is an American novelist, satirist, and poet, known particularly for her 1973 novel Fear of Flying. The book became famously controversial for its attitudes towards female sexuality and figured prominently in the development of second-wave feminism. According to The Washington Post, it has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. -Wiki

I once tried to read a book by Danielle Steel and I was amazed. In this book, a woman doesn’t tell her husband that she puts on a wig every morning and is secretly a TV broadcaster. So, she leaves very, very early in the morning having put on her wig, her makeup, and various pieces of exotic underwear. Every morning she goes and becomes the same television personality and they’ve been married for 50 years and he doesn’t know. I read that and thought, “I don’t think this is believable, but many women all over the world don’t give a shit.”Erica Jong

Novelist and essayist Erica Jong grew up in New York City. She earned a BA from Barnard College and attended graduate school at Columbia University, where she earned an MA in 18th-century literature. She is perhaps best known for her novels, however, Jong is also an established poet. Her poetry is often compared to that of Sappho, Walt Whitman, and D.H. Lawrence, and poet Muriel Rukeyser. Filled with humour her poetry explores female sexuality and often focuses on the role of women in contemporary society.

To enhance our joyful agility for reading and writing poetry, I chose the following Erica Jong poem for the day. I do hope you enjoy.

Becoming a Nun by Erica Jong

On cold days
it is easy to be reasonable,
to button the mouth against kisses,
dust the breasts
with talcum powder
& forget
the red pulp meat
of the heart.

On those days
it beats
like a digital clock —
not a beat at all
but a steady whirring
chilly as green neon,
luminous as numerals in the dark,
cool as electricity.

& I think:
I can live without it all —
love with its blood pump,
sex with its messy hungers,
men with their peacock strutting,
their silly sexual baggage,
their wet tongues in my ear
& their words like little sugar suckers
with sour centers.

On such days
I am zipped in my body suit,
I am wearing seven league red suede boots,
I am marching over the cobblestones
as if they were the heads of men,

& I am happy
as a seven-year-old virgin
holding Daddy’s hand.

Don’t touch.
Don’t try to tempt me with your ripe persimmons.
Don’t threaten me with your volcano.
The sky is clearer when I’m not in heat,
& the poems
are colder.

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5 Comments
  1. Thank you. I enjoy Erica Jong’s work. Inspirational perspective on women’s roles. I like your selection of her poetry.

    • I’ve only recently began reading her poetry. There is so much to explore whilst feeling the throng of her words. Yes Erica Jong is a good chapter in my selections to study.
      Thank you Poet, thank you for reading.

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