Sestina for Prolonging the Act of Lust


What are we after here? A little pain,

a little pleasure? Let’s talk some while

you’re on me, and I’m in you. At least

for the moment as the passion is spent.

We are growing deep within the belly

a passion strong enough to raise the dead.


It’s what you’re after isn’t it? Not dead

enough to give yourself over to pain

without pleasure in that spot below belly?

A second, a moment, something to while

away the time.  Soldiers fought, freshly spent,

resting in the trench, they’ll guard at least


the passages which have seen the least.

There might be something to raising the dead.

Think of all the time that sorcerers spent,

and link it in your mind to the pain

at the demands of the hot body while

you wait just hanging about on a belly


for something more to do than nurse a belly

full of frustration and longing for the least

stimulation to keep the glow a while.

That’s the point I’m trying to make. The dead

aren’t really dead, just working through the pain,

a weariness, some frustration. A little spent


but believing in life. If only people spent

half as much time caring for a belly

as it fills up they’d laugh at the pain,

warding off sleep or giving up. The least

bit of joy grows pleasure and dead,

or not, we’ll enjoy and build while


others are just curling up to slumber; while

others allow desire to fade. They’re spent.

They can’t see what sorcery sees. The dead

are just waiting around on Hel’s belly,

resting. The flesh grows new strength. At least

they feel the laughter in pain.


Oh yes, the pain it lasts a while

and veils at least as much as was spent,

but the belly grows lively, below we move the dead.


first published in Living With a Stranger: self portrait, 1993.  Also published in Love is Just Lust Misspelled, 1994.




About johnsmithiiimxiii

John Smith, IIMXIII is the avatar of an award winning poet, artist, etc. who still lives in the Palouse country of the Pacific NW. He has not received much notice with his prose . . . but as his avatar, I hope that he keeps plugging along.

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