my favourite poem by erica jong

My Love is Too Much

My love is too much
it embarrasses you
blood, poems, babies,
red needs that telephone
from foreign countries,
black needs that spatter
the pages
of your white papery heart.

You would rather have a girl
with simpler needs:
lunch, sex, undemanding
loving,
dinner, wine, bed,
the occasional blow-job
& needs that are never
red as gaping wounds
but cool & blue
as television screens
in tract houses.

Oh my love,
those simple girls
with simple needs
read my books too.

They tell me they feel
the same as I do.

They tell me I transcribe
the language of their hearts.
They tell me I translate
their mute, unspoken pain
into the white light
of language.

Oh love,
no love
is ever wholly undemanding.
It can pretend coolness
until the pain comes,
until the first baby comes,
howling her own infant need
into a universe
that never summoned her.

The love you seek
cannot be found
except in the white pages
of recipe books.

It is cooking you seek,
not love,
cooking with sex coming after,
cool sex
that speaks to the penis alone,
& not the howling chaos
of the heart.

© Erica Mann Jong