This poem may seem like an ugly tease at our recently updated Blasphemy laws but I find it saucily life-giving and intellectually stimulating! Funny as hell too, oh, and clever. A conceptual poem. Schwartz has a real talent for writing about sexual truths, and women’s sexual desire in particular, with a heady level of explicitness. More power to her elbow, I say. Down with repression and all who ride in and around her!
Oh God, Fuck Me (by Ruth L. Schwartz)
Fuck me, oh God, with ordinary things
the things you love best in the world –
like trees in spring, exposing themselves,
flashing leaf buds so firm and swollen
I want to take them in my mouth.
Speaking of trees, fuck me with birds
say, an enormous raucous crow,
proud as a man with his hands down his pants,
and then a sparrow, intimately brown,
discreet and cautious as a concubine.
Fuck me with my kitchen faucet, dripping
like a nymphomaniac,
all night slowly filling and filling,
then overflowing the bowls in the sink-
and with the downstairs neighbour’s vacuum,
that great sucking noisy dragon
making the dirty come clean.
Fuck me with breakfast, with English muffins
the spirit of the dough aroused
by browning, thrilled by buttering.
Fuck me with orange juice,
its concentrated sweetness,
which makes the mouth as happy as summer,
leaves sweet flecks of foam like spit
along the inside of the glass.
Fuck me with coffee, strong and hot,
and then with cream poured into coffee,
blossoming like mushroom clouds,
opening like parachutes.
Fuck me with the ticking
clock, which is the ticking
bomb, which is the ticking heart –
the heart we heard in the first months,
in the original nakedness,
before we were squalling and born.
Fuck me with the unwashed spoon
proud with its coffee stain –
the faint swirl of a useful life
pooled into its center, round as a world.
Ruth L. Schwartz is the author of four award-winning books of poetry and a memoir: Dear Good Naked Morning, selected by Alicia Ostriker for the Autumn House Poetry Prize (Autumn House, 2004), Edgewater, selected by Jane Hirshfield as a 2001 National Poetry Series winner (HarperCollins, 2002); Singular Bodies (Anhinga Press, 2001), winner of the 2000 Anhinga Prize for Poetry; Accordion Breathing and Dancing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996), winner of the 1994 Associated Writing Programs Award; and Death in Reverse: A Love Story (Michigan State University Press, 2004).
She’s won over a dozen national literary prizes, including two Nimrod/Pablo Neruda Awards, two Chelsea Magazine Editor’s Awards, the North Carolina Writer’s Network Randall Jarrell Prize, and the New Letters Prize in Poetry. She has received grants from the NEA, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Astraea Foundation. Her poems have been anthologized in The World in Us: Lesbian and Gay Poetry of the Next Wave (St. Martin’s Press, 2000), American Poetry: Next Generation (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 2000), The New Young American Poets (Southern Illinois University Press, 2000), and elsewhere.
Born in 1962 in Geneva, New York, Ruth spent her childhood and early adulthood moving around the country. She received a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Writing from Wesleyan University, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology from the University of Integrative Learning. The San Francisco Bay Area has been Ruth’s chosen home since 1985; she’s also travelled extensively in Latin America, and speaks fluent Spanish.