Why not every poem is a sex poem

Okay, here’s the story. Early last summer, I was one of 12 participants in noted novelist/poet/activist Marge Piercy’s annual juried poetry intensive. On a day when we were charged with writing a poem using a single extended metaphor, about half of the people in the workshop showed up with freshly-minted sex poems. Sex lends itself to metaphor, after all. I wasn’t a part of that half, but I couldn’t help but write this for the next session. Then my filmmaker friend Ronn Kilby decided to work on it as well . . .


Why not every poem is a sex poem

Some poems are theological, in a biblical sense.

Some are heroic tales of gland-to-gland combat.

Some political poems turn on a joint session of congress.


A poem can be about completing the jigsaw puzzle,

crashing the custard truck, making a magical sandwich,

sharpening a pencil, parallel parking, or exploring a mine shaft.


A poem can be about checking the oil, churning the butter,

Driving Miss Daisy, filling the gas tank, hitting a home run,

jumping the turnstile, planting a parsnip, or disappointing the wife.


You’ll discover many poems about putting bread in the oven,

plowing through the bean field, passing the gravy, whitewashing

the picket fence, peeling the tree bark, or taking Grandma to Applebee’s.


So why did you think sex has to be the thrust of every poem?





Filed under Poetry

3 responses to “Why not every poem is a sex poem

  1. Anastasia Vassos

    Ken, this still makes me laugh out loud.

  2. Such a wonderful meditation on “being present”–because that’s what poetry is about! Thanks, Ken!!

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