Indiana University Bloomington


Kaela Bonaguro, English and gender studies

I do not know where to put my feet you

suck my big toe like you’re giving fellatio I guess it’s the closest

thing I’ll ever have to a phallus that you’ll put in your mouth.

I tell you when I die I want you to eat my hair cut my

skin pop its layers like a mushroom with your canines use

my skull to serve the wine at your next dinner party when your friends

do lines of coke off the coffee table knees mouth eyes bleeding nursing each

other from their wounds from their side one of them says

if he’s high enough he sees god and she’s the drag queen from down

the street the one who wears red fuck me pumps and let me borrow

her lipstick after we fucked on the kitchen table and you slapped me so

hard I saw stars and not even the north star either. And I’ve never

needed something someone something to guide me home but I always

thought it’d be nice to want to live through Christmas. When we go out for

coffee you ask if you can finger me under the table and I let you I never saw

the point in saying no. I still don’t.

Every time I sit down to write poetry about religion and my relationship to religion it always ends up being about sex. There are a multitude of reasons as to why this happens (not in the least being connected to my attempts to experience my body as sacral), but there’s one reason in particular that I always end up coming back to: sex has always seemed to me as spiritual. One of the most beloved and powerful deities of Hellenic Polytheism is Aphrodite, goddess of sex, sexuality, and bodily pleasures. There is a connection between sex, between giving up the embodied part of yourself, and offering up the spiritual part of yourself to the divine. And what better way to show the divine you love them than through “sacrificing” or giving the most embodied part of you – your body itself – to another person in the form of unashamed, unabashed sex? To me devotion is all about energy and its exchanges. There are few ways of intimately sharing, exploring, and connecting with another’s energy other than sex.

However, this poem is not about healthy sex or healthy devotion. It is my attempts to articulate what it feels like when the exchange of energies – my form of devotion – is taken too far. When you experience spirituality and sex as inexplicably linked, what happens when one of these is damaged? How do you make up for the absence of energy provided to the divine? What happens when god is the drag queen with red lipstick who appears only in heightened states of intoxication and anxiety? What does it mean when your sex and devotion become so linked, so intimately interconnected, that you can no longer differentiate between the two, and the giving of your self in body and mind becomes so naturalized, so expected, that you become empty?


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