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Michael Blumenthal

Michael Blumenthal

Michael Blumenthal's seventh book of poems, And, was published by BOA Editions in 2009. He is also the author of the memoir All My Mothers and Fathers, the novel Weinstock Among The Dying, and a collection of essays from Central Europe, When History Enters The House. He is currently a Visiting Professor of Law at West Virginia University's College of Law.

The End Of Sex

It was destined to end someday
so why not bow out now, gracefully,
close enough to the top of your game
to remember what was like? It was,
after all, a lot like life—good at times,
better at others, often disappointing,
on all-too-rare occasions, unforgettable.
Pretty girls had sat on various parts of you—
so what if they were pleasuring themselves
elsewhere now? What lay ahead, after all,
were failed performances enhanced
by pharmaceuticals, polite handshakes
after a straight-set defeat. Did you really
need to go out in such operatic fashion, like
Nelson Rockefeller (who, the joke goes, came
and went at the same time), or Leonard Warren
in Il Forza del Destino? Why, you'd had your day
auf der Bühne, as the Germans say, a better one
than most, and now, whether it was stage door left
or right you exited from, it hardly mattered: Birds
had been in your hand once, and now, no pun
intended, were off somewhere in a bush. And
what was wrong with that? Let be be finale of seem,
Stevens said, and why not? You'd already made
your living will: No heroic measures of any kind.
So, girls, take your hands off the old boy's knees:
it'll get you nowhere. Silence may be golden
for the flesh as well. He's happy just to be here,
singing a little song of his own ("No Regrets").
So kiss him one last time, tenderly. And if there's
no heavy breathing in its wake, so be it, and let it
be, and let it have been, and let, if it must, that
sometimes beautiful something never come again.


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