SLEEPING AROUND.

Bruised and abused by her pretend lover

She went off intercourse yet still desired

Comfort and company with another

Man, but she was afraid that he would be fired

By lust disguised as romantic passion

So for many long nights she cried alone

Afraid of inviting any man home.

Fat, old and bald were never in fashion

But desperation drove her to phone me.

I was so terrified that her beauty

Would compel me to seduction or rape

That we lay tense, like sentries on duty,

But there was no danger of an escape

From self-discipline for either of us

In the pleasures of our platonic love.

Kisses were all we shared. Friends on the bus

Ride home gave the rumour machine a shove

Start with scandalous stories about us

But we didn’t care. To us, spending the night

Sleeping together seemed just about right

In the literal sense of the word. Lust

Was what she sought later with one who bust

Her lip and left her pregnant in my arms.

And me scared to take her in case her charms

Made me that monstrous. It would be tragic

If we made love and killed off the magic

that we share. Friends tell me they would make love

To her. "Go on, give ‘er one for me, Guv,"

They say. I prefer sex with her rather

Than ‘To her’. I have ‘made sex’ with other

Girls. Laughter hides our sense of miscarriage

Of Justice in our unconsummated

Non-engagement and unproposed marriage.

"How wasn’t it for you, darling?" I dated

And seduced my other lovers badly

Enough for them to ditch me, so maybe

Sexless sleep will keep her thinking fondly

Of me. Warm between our hearts, her baby

Moves. Will I still be here when s/he is born?

Will we become lovers before the dawn

Or stay close friends keeping each other warm

While still frightened that sex will transform

Us, causing us to drift apart, ending

Something rich, meaningful and rewarding?

We’re both scarred by separation and divorce

Celibacy might make us boring and force

The close of our relationship as surely

As our suppressed desires devour away

Our love for one another. "I agree,"

She says, And with her kiss new love breaks free.

Arthur Chappell

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