A Man and a Woman
By Alan Feldman
Between a man and a woman
the anger is greater, for each man would like to sleep
in the arms of each woman who would like to sleep
in the arms of each man, if she trusted him not to be
schizophrenic, if he trusted her not to be
a hypochondriac, if she trusted him not to leave her
too soon, if he trusted her not to hold him
too long, and often women stare at the word men
as it lives in the word women, as if each woman
carried a man inside her and a woe, and has
crying fits that last for days, not like the crying
of a man, which lasts a few seconds, and rips the throat
like a claw---but because the pain differs
much as the shape of the body, the woman takes
the suffering of the man for selfishness, the man
the woman's pain for helpnessness, the woman's lack of it
for hardness, the man's tenderness for deception,
the woman's lack of acceptance, an act of contempt
which is really fear, the man's fear for fickleness,
yet cars come off the bridge in rivers of light
each holding a man and a woman.
From: "The Best American Erotic Poems from 1800 to the Present", page 135
Kept Burning and Distant
By Linda Gregg
You return when you feel like it,
like rain. And like rain you are tender,
with the rain's inept tenderness.
A passion so general I could be anywhere.
You carry me out into the wet air.
You lay me down on the leaves
and the strong thing is not the sex
but waking up alone under the trees after.
From: "The Best American Erotic Poems from 1800 to the Present", page 128