Galway Kinnell

On the pot-holed road from the Port

Authority Terminal the Newark Airport bus

sighs up and down as if moguling.

In my experience, motion of this kind

while sitting in a bus oftern increases

the size of the penis.  It does now.

A mixed sign.  In certain operas

the desire for sex and the allure of death

seem to be present just before or just after

each other but occasionally simultaneously.


Consider the love life of the prostate.

During love-making this gland, which is,

as doctors like to say, the size of a walnut,

and has very few pleasure fibers in it

but a great many for pain, tranmits

the sensation of pain with growing intensity,

until at last, when our walnut can no longer bear it,

the duct opens and semen burts out and gives

shuddering relief or ecstatic joy, as you like.


Climbing the Pulaski Skyway on a faulty

pneumatic suspension, the bus gasps

and blows and develops a bucking rhythm

the lets me imagine what the fuck-

ing of buses could be like.  Minutes later

I find myself thinking the bus moves

like an antediluvian mammal

being shoved to its grave without first

having been fully persuaded its time is up.

Though not kept informed explicitly, the penis

instinctively senses this turn of thought, and shrinks. 

Found In Volume 35, No. 05
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Galway Kinnell
About the Author

Galway Kinnell is the author of nine books of poetry, including The Book of Nightmares, When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone, and Imperfect Thirst.  He has published books of translations, including the poems of Francois Villon and Rainer Marie Rilke.  His latest collection is Strong is Your Hold. Galway Kinnell has been a MacAuthur Fellow and State Poet of Vermont.  Books of his have won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.  He taught for many years at New York University, where he was Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing.  He lives in Vermont and New York City.