Fact: My father died on Valentine’s Day 2001.
Fact: I have been doing a shitload of personal work.
Fact: I barely have it together some days.
Knowing I am going to die
is the last gift of his life
that my father gave me.
If we all really knew that,
if we felt it in our skin,
then we would not take lightly
things that matter,
we would not allow injustice so blithely,
we would not give in at work to pressure to conform ,
we would not fail to make that hard phone call
to a friend who has lost someone dear.
I am going to die
and everyone I love is going to die,
some of them before me, leaving me
heartbroken and grieving,
and it seems completely paradoxical,
but because of this,
I am full of joy now every day,
every day more than the last,
joy in my beloved’s skin against my skin,
joy in the beauty of simple things
sunsets and wasps and drizzle and weeds in the garden
and because of this I can affirm,
which might seem a stretch away from death,
that my beloved has the most magnificent ass.
She has an ass I had only dreamed about before
but never actually seen on a woman.
The rest of her is hot as hell too
but it’s the ass that gets me
and I’ve always been a boob man.
I hear locker room talk about a woman
being a great piece of ass.
I don’t know what’s wrong with those guys.
I don’t want just a piece of her ass.
I want all of it.
The left side, perfectly shaped; the crack,
well, we all know where that leads,
don’t tell me you don’t like that
and then the right side,
just as perfect as the left but very slightly rounder.
No, don’t give me just a piece of ass.
Give me the whole thing,
and yeah, I’m not stupid,
I know that’s a turn of phrase
about getting laid, it just seems
like a particularly unhelpful one.
I say, the whole ass
and nothing but the ass.
She has an ass to die for;
see, that was all about death after all.
One of the women’s empowerment groups
she has worked in for some years
instead of talking about women as beautiful
talk about them as radiant.
I love that. I can barely think of any women
I have ever known who weren’t radiant.
When I was a pastor I did hospital calls
and one time I went to see a woman dying
of liver cancer, and she was there in the hospital bed
holding the hand of her daughter
her skin completely bronze from liver failure,
mostly medicated, and when I read to her
the psalm that starts, The Lord is my Shepherd
her face became radiant. My 84 year old
former piano teacher, when we have lunch now,
is amazingly radiant, still thinking and making music
and continuing her career
as a scholar and musician. The lover I mentioned
the one with the magnificent ass, turns 65 this year
and she is one of the sexiest women I have ever met;
age has nothing to do with radiance,
and I hear over and over from women
when they look in the mirror that they don’t like
this or that about the way they look
and I want to tell you, all the women hearing this
or reading this in this moment. every one of you is blazing
with radiance, in your eyes and bodies and minds
and pussies and hips and bellies
and thighs and arms and hands
and don’t let anyone ever tell you differently
especially men who aren’t vulnerable enough
to know that their power begins in knowing their own death.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit around
thinking about funerals all the time.
I’m more likely to be thinking about things she has said to me:
that when I arrive to see her, her skin tingles;
that with me she knows she will climax;
that her desire for me is constant.
I’m more likely to be in the moment,
feeling the warmth of her skin under my finger
as I trace along her spine down to the hollow;
I reach around her and circle her nipple,
she presses back against me, her ass,
the fucking magnificent one, rubbing my cock
she reaches her arm back and circles the back of my neck
with her hand, and with the other
pulls my hand to her pussy, pressing my finger
in between the lips, already wet, and I bring my finger
to my mouth to taste her, anticipating how easily
I will enter her, how her body will move in longing,
how she will sound as I lick her.
Sex and death, death and sex, two sides of the same thing;
I’ll take both, thank you.