Lust, a volume of poetry by Diana Raab, was sent to me by TLC book tours. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it seems to me that the depth and breadth and height of the volume reach nearly to the “ends of Being” as I have experienced them.
I expected to feel a little embarrassed, trying to talk about poems on lust, but I didn’t expect to feel so exposed in terms of the details. Reading some of the poems, I thought “oh, that’s how that works” and reading others I wondered, at first, what was going on. Some of them are about having different lovers and what it’s like to have sex with someone you don’t know well. Others are about what it’s like to make love with your partner in parenting, someone you’ve made love with for decades, a situation familiar to me after 32 years of marriage.
I like the way the poet shows bodies and minds working together at the end of the poem “Speak,” as she commands him to
into me and I shall clamp your essence shut.
Tell me you’ve given up so much
for me and I will tell you the same.
Twist your body around mine
like a snake enveloping its prey.
I am yours
there is no
other way to grasp this.”
This theme is continued in two other poems–in “Create,” with “our little secret of the person/we will become together” and in “The Wave” with “the bliss of your healing.” These three are my favorites in the volume.
In other poems, sexual need is spurred by a loving action, as in the double entendre of the title “Pick Up,” the move from a house full of “chaos” to a hotel room in “Going Nuts” or a lift of the skirt “as I stood over gas stoves/stirring simmering soups/rocking baby carriages in one hand/and spoon in another, hands tied.”
There are poems about being left, about how it feels to realize that “I was no longer the fantasy/of all your unmet dreams” and ways to cope “when your loved one clicks their heels/and decides to walk out the door/for some old fashioned sex/with a stranger yet to be met.”
There are a few explicit poems, like “Leashed” and “Protection,” but one of the best things about this volume, at least for me, is its generality, the way it includes the sexual in the everyday, something stomach-tighteningly wonderful to think about “while on the outside/you stand counting the minutes/for the hard-boiled eggs.”