Barry Wallenstein

A Kiss

In Delay, There Lies No Plenty, So Come Kiss Me — Angela Carter

Smack me a kiss - quick
before I do it myself.
Plant your roses right here
before I abuse myself further
in front of you – or in that beveled mirror
behind you. I’d leave this ache behind
if, led by affection, the old-fashioned
getting-to-know-you, prevails.

We — if you can imagine
two small letters composing a word,
a date, a place to be in,
an hour in which to play
shy, but please,
be shy in my mouth, osculate,
and stay this way forever.

The Carnal Life

Too few were the decades
of working the blood pressure,
shuffling the rules;
misremembering each other's names.

The first time — alone and then not —
fiercely into it, but then,
after decades,
less a thrill, less soil.

The memory bank is flush and scarlet;
the week ahead is blank and dull
but for a date with the Gonad twins,
cousins of Onan, holder of the crown jewels.

Barry Wallenstein is the author of ten collections of poetry, the most recent being It's About Time (New York Quarterly Books, 2022). His poetry has appeared in over 100 journals, including Ploughshares, The Nation, American Poetry Review, Live Mag!, and Manhattan Review. A special interest is his presentation of poetry readings in collaboration with jazz. He has made twelve recordings of his poetry with jazz, the most recent being Lisbon Sunset (2018) and Lisbon Sunrise (2022). Barry is Emeritus Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the City University of New York and an editor of the journal, American Book Review and advisory editor of BigCityLit.