Poets Online Archive - the erotic


Erotic is a word that is greatly overused these days. When a film or book is described as erotic, I am inevitably disappointed. Is it just that we all have our own ideas of what it means? Is it all context? I came back to the Shakespeare sonnets recently after listening to a CD by Michaela Carter of her reading selected sonnets. (You can listen to these two at the MP3.com site which offers excerpts from her recent recording of Shakespeare Sonnets.) They sounded far more sensual than I recall them being. The two sonnets we are using here seem to me good examples of that line - sensuality / sexuality, that erotic seems to bump gently against. Sonnet LVII " being your slave", seems headed one way, while Sonnet CXXX, "my mistress' eyes" goes off in another direction ( He almost seems to be celebrating her ordinariness)
The prompt was to explore that erotic area without wandering too far from the line. 

The Reading

Reading the poems I felt naked
as if they were staring at my body
instead of hearing the words.
I tried the use the podium as a towel
and wrap it around me.
Freshly showered, this clean poem
that smelled so good to me
had suddenly picked up odors.
I mention my age and a woman
looks at my hips appraisingly.
She whispers to a friend
who nods agreement.
When I say tongue
a man in the front row licks
his lips slowly and I feel it,
and smell his breath roll
over the poem.
My eyes lift over all of them
and find a man in back
staring into my eyes.
His eyes, serious and sad,
want to turn away,
but I hold them.
I will him to come forward.
Right up the center aisle.
And coming behind me,
he removes his jacket and slides it
over my bare shoulders,
and presses himself to my back.
His arms cross my breasts
and I go hard and soft.
“Everything is fine”, he says
as I finish reading the poem.

Lianna Wright


From Delight To Wisdom
"Love is like a piece of ice on a hot stove, riding on its own melting." Quoted freely from Robert Frost

Lonely weeds are growing in my garden
and only dreams are roaming there, still free
to pluck yesterday's flowers.  Will he pardon
my hedonistic scheme -tomorrow's spree
away from sorrow - back to carnal planting?
Then, at plot's first bloom,  he picked the best
of all I had to offer, even chanting
"Gather  rosebuds now and damn the rest!"
Perhaps across the miles and sultry years,
the pungent odor of a well remembered power
will titillate my Eros,  shedding fears
enough to plant another passion flower
 and tingeing deeper red this bleeding heart;
but not again to tear this place apart!

Catherine M. LeGault

Love Is Not Erotic. Period.

So, it's like this.
Sometimes you fall in love,
or you think you do,
and for awhile it's just you
being a little crazy with yourself,
making up stories about how it could
all work out -- you have scenarios --
there's even theme music --
just wait,
this might be the truest love,
better than anybody's.
And the whole time, days, months
even, you're just blind with it,
writing it,
and calling up all your friends
to document the wonderful torment.
And of course, you haven't a clue.

Listen -- you'll get over it --
one day you'll be sitting next
to some guy -- a new guy -- and he'll
bend down to get something on the floor,
or to retie his shoe,
and when he comes up
his shoulder will be touching yours
ever so slightly -- ordinary cloth separating
your nakedness from his, and you'll
want something then -- and when you get it,
you might be tempted to call it love,
but don't.
Because love doesn't taste this good, honey.
Love licks the salt lick once, and dies.
It's the cow you rode in on.
Save yourself for skin, and for
whatever other burning thing won't stay.

Mary DeBow

The Way

It’s the morning after and I’m still in bed,
still thinking about it.

How I pulled your jeans down while you lay
sleeping on your stomach on my bed.

You turned your head to the side, half of you
looking at me and still sleepy, you said nothing.

And I ran my hands over your ass, the fingertips
in that valley, pressing, and my hand

finding you soft and hot below, I wanted
to make love to you then, there, that way,
knowing I couldn’t.

And during the night, you awaken, and pulling
my flowered panties down my legs, you

did it. And in the morning I woke up
on my back, breathing through my mouth,
taking enormous breaths.

Pamela Milne

2:30 AM haiku

Moist skin in bedclothes
desire wakens as jasmine-
night blooming passion

William Weaver

El Amor

When a thought is not the same,
and the feelings run free.
Your heart is no longer tame,
and emotions express me.
The warmth is felt when everyone is cold,
the sun's rays are always near.
Actions seem so bold,
memories are not of fear.
My mind and heart are in sync with each other,
as the sweet smell of love fills the air.
I need not think of another,
with you there is a feeling that I'd like to share.

Sarah Reen

Power Surge

Mama always warned me
   about live wires
left dangling
                    from strong storms.

I found one
   visiting with Grandma
when I came home from school –
   cousin Bill's good friend
come to see some home folks,
fair skinned Anglo-Saxon
   lookin’ good in his Navy blues.

Perched at the edge
   of the nearby sofa
I listened for a while
saw my insides shimmer
   like rippled diamonds
   on a sunlit lake
lay back against the pillows
   in seductive pose
and felt a pulsing power
   pitch between us.

Grandma rapped my bare knees
   with a sharp, “Sit up!”
Mama warned me
   about live wires.

Cherise Wyneken


She trails her pale fingers across my forearm
Leaving faint marks on my sunburned skin
The heavy autumn light perfectly illuminates this room

She is a Weston photograph
Body bold shadows, either black
Or white

I am an Ansel Adams
Sierra storms frozen in time
Clouds like marble
While the granite remains unchanged

Paul Milne

The Slit

in her skirt
as she walks
to me.
It is inviting
but not inviting

She is gliding
on a warm
between us,
Her wingspan
fills my vision,
the tips of her
brush my face
when she passes.

Ken Ronkowitz

He Comes To Me

He comes to me in the midnight hour when all is still and black
When the moon has slipped into the night and light is what I lack
When the eerie silence fills my room and I feel myself desire
The intermingling of our senses, he begins to stoke my fire
Beginning from the lining of my soul he starts to stroke
The very fibre of my being, his eyes of impassioned smoke
And soon I feel his smoldering being surge with pride and strength
And such sensations course through my skin that lies against his length
His breath upon my neck like gentle whispers of a summer breeze
With silky sliding motion our souls begin to meld with ease
Soon we have discovered what only we alone can taste
The urgency has caught us both, there is no time to waste
The intoxicating whirlwind of our souls...oh how we are burning
To satiate and gratify the satisfaction that we are yearning
A galloping of heartbeats and pulsations now are strong
To retreat into any other disposition would be wrong
The sleek union of our beings cause deep rumblings from within
I gasp for air at the disbelief of our resistance giving in
And soon our thrusts to reach sweet heaven echo our bodies' song
The breaths escaping from swollen lips, deliberate and long
A sudden tensing of our limbs as he floods deep within my womb
My flesh does tremble and clasps at him, my lover in my room
And like the leaves of fall that flutter softly back to earth
He brings me down to feel the moon that sets upon our mirth
And as the dawn begins to peak from above horizon's door
I lovingly wait impatiently for tonight when he comes once more.


Gypsy Earrings

The wagons gathered quietly
Tree-hidden, smoke screened
A bright rainbow
Of Lincolns, Cadillacs.
Unseen by all but me.
Fires were kindled
Under the moon
By men in bright silk,
And Levi's, and gold;
Sharing golden smiles.
Then came one
To the circle of light
Dark as the shadows,
Large as a grizzly,
Regal, proud, knowing.
He called for wine,
And all there gathered
Poured for him,
Drank to him,
Sharing black secrets.
The music rose unbidden,
Uncorked with the wine
Thick, hot as steam.
The proud one grinned,
Nodding to the rhythm.
The shadows stirred.
She swirled through the smoke
Parting the music.
Heat in motion,
Copper hair and earrings.
All those encircled
Transfixed by her breasts,
Drawn by her thighs,
Believed her dance
To be their own.
So deeply were they drawn
Into her promise
Her musk, her abandon,
They paid no heed
To my approach.
My eyes caught her
As her back arched,
Hips thrust forward.
Her eyes caught mine
And beckoned me.
I entered the circle
Entered the dance
Entered the dancer.
Abandoned fear,
Abandoned self.
We swirled as one.
Leapt through the flames,
Joined the night,
Chased the stars
Unchaste beneath the moon.
The wagons passed quietly.
A weeping caravan
Of Lincolns, Cadillacs,
Brightly clad men
And their broken king.
They'd never understood
The dance or the dancer,
Never dared share
Her lustful charms.
I dared.

Glenn Burgoon

Sweet Dream of Passion

Sweet dream of passion and rich love-
oh heavenly vision from above.
You make the nights too short with pleasure-
and give desire without measure.
My cup is filled with your pure grace-
I shut my eyes and view your face.
Your warmth abounds inside my head-
your scent still lingers in my bed.
I breathe in times when you're not here-
but live in times when you are near.
My thoughts consumed by your soft charms-
I ache to hold you in my arms.
But once again till we may meet-
my memories must be complete.
My dream of passion and rich love-
my lovely vision from above.

Tom D.

Brush & Canvas

his tongue is the brush
sliding down her pale canvas
dipping in her paint

she tastes like summer
and autumn and winter's kiss
a small, minor feast

peony petals
pressed against flesh, into vein,
small confetti burst

canvas turns and sighs
painting brought to life, at last--
the wait has been long

his tongue is the brush;
he paints in watercolour
and goes outside lines.




Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu;
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought
Save, where you are how happy you make those.
  So true a fool is love that in your will,
  Though you do any thing, he thinks no ill.

by William Shakespeare 
from The Sonnets


My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
  And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
  As any she belied with false compare.

by William Shakespeare 
view the other sonnets


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