May 25, 2007

welcome to the house of the bats


Uri Korn, The Bubble, 1994

Poems by Denise Duhamel, from her book The Woman With Two Vaginas, poems based on Eskimo mythology:

Learning How to Make Love

This couple couldn't figure it out.
The man licked his wife's genitals while she stared straight ahead.
The woman poked her husband's testicles with her nose.
The man put his toe in the folds of the woman's vulva.
The woman took the man's penis under her armpit.
Neither one of them wanted to be the first to admit
something was off. So it went on --
the man put his finger in his wife's navel.
The woman batted her eyelashes against the arch of her husband's foot.
They pinched each other's earlobes. They bit each other's rear ends.
To perpetrate the lie, they ended each encounter with a deep sigh.
Then one day while the husband was hunting,
a man stopped by the igloo and said to the wife:
I hear you have been having trouble.
I can show you how to make love.
He took her to bed and left before the husband came home.
Then the wife showed her husband,
careful to make it seem like the idea sprang
from both. After all these years of rubbing one's face against the other's belly
or stroking a male elbow behind a female knee,
this couple had a lot of catching up to do. They couldn't stop to eat or sleep
and grew so skinny they died. No one found them for a long time.
And by then, their two skeletons were fused into one.


Him-Whose-Penis-Never-Slept

There was a husband who married a wife he found so beautiful
that his penis was in a state of constant arousal.
His wife was delicate and needed her sleep, but the needy penis
kept after her night and day. She served her husband dinner
and he wanted to have sex. Her shoulder brushed his as she passed
in the igloo's passage way and he wanted to have sex again.
He often woke her up in the middle of the night, his hard penis
nudging against her soft thigh.
Soon he'd rubbed inside her so many times, that her vagina
wore away. The husband didn't see his mistake
and stroked his penis between her knees until his wife had no more legs.
He used up her belly and her arms. Her breasts were next
to disappear. When nothing was left that he could touch,
Him-Whose-Penis-Never-Slept ejaculated into his wife's shadow.
It vanished, his semen a liquid ghost dripping down a lonely snow wall.


Her-Whose-Vagina-Ate-Men

She wasn't a giant. And no, her vagina
didn't have teeth. Instead it was like a hollow snake
able to swallow whole big things.
This woman's vagina didn't lead, like others,
to a womb. Instead its slippery path
pulled men like metal right to her magnet stomach.
There, the men churned with blubber and seal meat
she'd recently eaten. Other women looked for the remnants
of their missing husbands in the shit
of Her-Whose-Vagina-Ate-Men. Sometimes,
a gold tooth, an unmistakable button.
Widows didn't cry much. They knew
a stray husband was worth less than a dog --
which wives could at least have for supper
if they grew hungry enough.


The Woman With Two Vaginas

The woman with two vaginas tried her best
to hide them from her husband. It was difficult
because her vaginas weren't in the usual place

but in the palms of her hands. To distract her husband,
she tickled his penis with her nipple,
or she took him into her backside.

She had traveled far, from a place she preferred
not to talk about, and her husband assumed
she learned her sexual practices there. He was happy

until he discovered his wife
pissing through her fingers, as though she were trying
to cup running water. He wished

that he didn't know what he then knew --
that his sexy young wife was also a ghost.
This was no time for sentimental lust --

a ghost can only bring loneliness to a snow hut.
So he strapped his wife into his kayak
and deposited her on an ice-floe far from home.

He told her to go back to the Land of the Dead,
but she was trapped like a moving shadow
that was neither here nor there. Some say

they still hear her sobbing: "My husband
will not have me! My husband will not have me!"
But she has no way of knowing how he misses her

twin vaginas, how he tries his best to
hide it from his new wife -- yet the village is small,
the gossip as fast as wind during a storm.

It's said he makes his new wife slap his face,
to feel the warm tingle of her fingers,
that he then cries out into her barren palms.

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