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Intimate Kisses: The Poetry of Sexual Pleasure

Intimate Kisses: The Poetry of Sexual Pleasure

by Wendy Maltz

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This new collection from the editor of Passionate Hearts: The Poetry of Sexual Love and author of The Sexual Healing Journey includes 121 poems by such poets as Rumi, Marge Piercy, Emily Dickinson, Nikki Giovanni, Anne Sexton, Sharon Olds, Octavio Paz, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Therapist and marriage counselor Wendy Maltz turns up the heat while celebrating


This new collection from the editor of Passionate Hearts: The Poetry of Sexual Love and author of The Sexual Healing Journey includes 121 poems by such poets as Rumi, Marge Piercy, Emily Dickinson, Nikki Giovanni, Anne Sexton, Sharon Olds, Octavio Paz, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Therapist and marriage counselor Wendy Maltz turns up the heat while celebrating healthy sexuality in this collection of poems that dispel the negative cultural message that what feels good must be bad. Maltz's anthologies are designed to inspire couples toward a deeper physical intimacy and to show that the sexual impulse can be aroused by conveying personal experience through great writing.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The editor claims to have"turned up the heat several notches" since Passionate Hearts (not reviewed), the last erotic anthology she assembled, but it seems that several more notches were in order. A psychotherapist, Maltz advocates"sex within a context of real love, commitment, and safety"—but she has unfortunately allowed"safety" to dictate her selection of poems, engendering an overall uniformity that makes for tedious reading. Contributors include Octavio Paz, Sharon Olds, Audre Lorde, Galway Kinnell, and a slew of lesser-known writers who, based on these offerings, should probably remain that way. Most of them traffic in predictable, time-worn erotic metaphors—water, moon, fruits, flowers, honey, wine—and when they turn to the literal (i.e., body parts), the result is simply a squishy, undistinguished amalgamation of hips, nipples, sweat, and tongues. Rarely is the heat of the proverbial moment captured as skillfully and frankly as in Dorianne Laux's"2 am," when the narrator finds herself"on the floor of your office, the dirty carpet / under my back, the heel of one foot / propped on your shoulder." Worse, the collection is practically devoid of humor—Neil Carpathios refers to himself as"a bra junkie" when a salesperson notices him"fingering the lacy cups" in his fetishistic contribution ("In Victoria's Secret, Near the Bras")—but that, alas, is about as amusing (or as kinky, for that matter) as things ever get. Good intentions needn't translate into good anthologies, as this one demonstrates.

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New World Library
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Intimate Kisses

The Poetry of Sexual Pleasure

By Wendy Maltz

New World Library

Copyright © 2001 Wendy Maltz
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57731-743-2



anticipation & desire

* * *

"Let us be candles ..."


    Let's heat up the night to a boil.
    Let's cook every drop of liquid
    out of our flesh till we sizzle,
    not a drop of come left.

    We are pots on too high a flame.
    Our insides char and flake
    dark like sinister snow idling down.
    We breathe out smoke.

    We die out and sleep covers
    us in ashes. We lie without
    dreaming, empty as clean grates.
    Only breath moves hissing.

    Yet we wake rebuilt, clattering
    and hungry as waterfalls leaping off,
    rushing into the day, roaring
    our bright intentions.

    It is the old riddle in the Yiddish
    song, what can burn and not burn up,
    a heart, a body, passion that gives
    birth to itself every day.

    The body does not wear out with
    use, nor does love, so let us
    use each other in the best of ways
    as the hours jump off the cliff.

    marge piercy


    Wild Nights — Wild Nights!
    Were I with thee
    Wild Nights should be
    Our luxury!

    Futile — the Winds —
    To a Heart in port —
    Done with the Compass —
    Done with the Chart!

    Rowing in Eden —
    Ah, the Sea!
    Might I but moor — Tonight —
    In Thee!

    emily dickinson


    going down from the attic
    you hold the ladder
    as I descend
    the afternoon light

    we pause on the porch
    to catch the sun as it falls
    behind the horizon of houses
    and I smile at the flashes
    of copper in your beard

    in the blinding brightness
    you stand between me
    and the sun setting
    tendrils ablaze

    a warm summer breeze
    ruffles your hair
    and the unbuttoned
    loose fitting
    striped cotton shirt
    that covered your chest
    all day in soft folds
    as you lift your hand
    to lean on the white
    stucco wall of the house
    the front of your shirt
    like the flap of a tent
    falls open

    a slant ray of sunlight
    shadows the hair
    on the skin of your arm
    and your chest
    now bare
    draws my glance

    my eyes flicker down
    to the curve of your breast
    and the nipple at the center
    of the cheek of your breast

    looking away
    then glancing again
    my eyes alight
    where my lips would linger

    though I dare not
    rest my head on the rise
    of your chest
    my eyes trace the naked
    line of your flesh
    to the nipple I would touch
    with the tip of my tongue

    patti tana

    The moth's kiss, first!
    Kiss me as if you made believe
    You were not sure, this eve,
    How my face, your flower, had pursed
    Its petals up; so, here and there
    You brush it, till I grow aware
    Who wants me, and wide ope I burst.

    The bee's kiss, now!
    Kiss me as if you entered gay
    My heart at some noonday,
    A bud that dares not disallow
    The claim, so all is rendered up,
    And passively its shattered cup
    Over your head to sleep I bow.

    robert browning
    — from "In a Gondola"


    On the walkway above the summer creek
    we touch and kiss, your hand cups
    the long smooth muscle of my back,
    we move to the pulse of valve and blood.
    Our bodies urge us, they say
    yes, and oh yes. But the waiting
    is so sweet we choose it, we linger
    at each brush of lip on lip as if it were
    new wine, to be rolled around the mouth
    before we swallow. Once, anticipation
    was something to outrun.
    Now it's what we love most,
    the slow, slow build before,
    like all the little moments of our lives
    gathering toward the last breath.

    robin jacobson


    Shaking out clean sheets
    that crisp lightly scented caress,
    I make my bed ready for you.

    I wash my hair, trim
    nails lest they scratch you —

    A new paisley cloth on it,
    I sit at the table
    studying recipes.

    Each recipe is a dance
    of seduction, beckoning.
    Soon the door will swing wide

    to where I wait in my body
    crowned and glittering
    for the feast to start.

    marge piercy


    Like a blade of summer grass
    turning towards a fragrance
    of rain caught in the air's
    cooling, I come back to you.

    How the dry thirsting reaches
    for even the resemblance
    of wetness, its parched brown
    skin drawn tight and leaning

    into the promise of moistness.
    I feel also this pull
    stretching me to breaking.
    If soon your kisses do

    not drop on me — mist,
    shower, or flood — I will
    split into thin slivers, be
    cut down like so much hay.

    linda alexander


    Your ax nicks
    chips for tinder,
    splits a block in two
    strips that please you
    with their kindling
    power. Next you sink
    the blade so deep into
    a thicker log it stays
    in place as you lift.
    I listen to the pock
    of wood on brick as you
    work the last stakes
    of oak free and sit
    back on your tawny
    haunches, breasts exposed
    where your robe has fallen
    open, waist-length hair
    tucked into a faded Brooklyn
    Dodgers cap to save it
    from the flames that will
    come of this.
    In my hand, one long slip
    of bark you peeled
    for its scent rests
    like a second skin.
    I could not be
    more ready for your
    touch, but wait to watch
    you light the day's
    balled news of chaos
    in Kazakhstan and poke
    the blaze with a forked
    madrone branch. Soon there
    is fire between us
    again and more heat
    than we can bear.
    Our shadowy pattern
    flickers on the peeling
    wall. My body fills
    with warmth where it is
    touched by the glowing
    of your fires.

    floyd skloot


    Black blazing night. My heart
    pounding, I hear
    your heartbeat under my hand,
    we pause beneath the trees
    to kiss. Hike on down
    from the high woods.
    rush of wings. Wind falling
    silent in the pines. You and I
    follow the old bear trail trampled
    clear to the shore: Rocks,
    rubble, sedge grass tall
    in the shallows. No moon
    on the lake. Stars
    spark and shine.
    through the dark we watch
    two ducks tuck in, drift together.
    On the pine shore we lie down —
    I want to feel your breasts turn
    firm in my palm. Your tongue
    in my mouth when our legs open.
    In the moist fur the fold
    encloses me. And when we part
    I want to lie with you
    the way night lies on deep water —
    On the slow breathing lake
    two wild ducks float
    side by side, asleep
    on still water. Black water.

    george keithley


    the mystery or masterly technique
    or even a love so strong
    you can smash bricks with it

    the spinning waters way i feel
    when you grab me by the eyes
    and slip your thin black panties

    david meuel


    I can't help but watch the blade reveal
    the face behind the man. Each careful stroke
    reshapes the curves my fingers itch to feel.
    I'd trace — so soft — your jaw, your lips, your nose
    and never nick or scratch your tender skin
    if you'd abandon that cold blade for me.
    My hands would kiss the spot above your chin;
    they'd sculpt the lids below your brow and see
    just where your slow, lovely lines would lead.
    Again you dip your soap edged sword and stir
    the heat to steam; it rises, mists. It beads
    and paths of silver fingers stripe the mirror.
    Finally, you stop, so smoothly turn and trace
    the lips that, line by line, reveal my face.

    debra pennington davis


    Come with me to our sweet bed
    our sweet white bed
    yellow bed blue quilted bed
    oh the long warm limbs
    and the soft of our belly
    nuzzling lips to shoulders
    holding you holding me
    our eyes open our eyes
    open even when the tears
    run out the corners and
    mix on our cheeks
    our mutual pillow
    I would be in you
    here are my breasts
    take them here is your
    entering me so deep so
    deeply come with me
    to our sweet bed

    penny harter


    if you've got the key
    then i've got the door
    let's do what we did
    when we did it before

    if you've got the time
    i've got the way
    let's do what we did
    when we did it all day

    you get the glass
    i've got the wine
    we'll do what we did
    when we did it overtime

    if you've got the dough
    then i've got the heat
    we can use my oven
    til it's warm and sweet

    i know i'm bold
    coming on like this
    but the good things in life
    are too good to be missed
    now time is money
    and money is sweet
    if you're busy baby
    we can do it on our feet

    we can do it on the floor
    we can do it on the stair
    we can do it on the couch
    we can do it in the air

    we can do it in the grass
    and in case we get an itch
    i can scratch it with my left hand
    cause i'm really quite a witch

    if we do it once a month
    we can do it in time
    if we do it once a week
    we can do it in rhyme
    if we do it every day

    we can do it everyway
    we can do it like we did it
    when we did it
    that day

    nikki giovanni

    Spring paints the countryside.
    Cypress trees grow even more beautiful,
    but let's stay inside.

    Lock the door.
    Come to me naked.
    No one's here.

    jelaluddin rumi
    — translated from the Persian by
    Coleman Barks with A. J. Arberry


    Come when it's quiet
    I like your way of moving
    Slip into my stillness
    Silence me

    Speak in tongues
    Anoint the air between us
    Dance to a skinsong
    Cover me

    trudi paraha


Excerpted from Intimate Kisses by Wendy Maltz. Copyright © 2001 Wendy Maltz. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Wendy Maltz, a well-known sex therapist and marriage counselor, is the author of The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse, coauthor of The Porn Trap: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Problems Caused by Pornography, Private Thoughts: Exploring the Power of Women’s Sexual Fantasies, and editor of Intimate Kisses: The Poetry of Sexual Pleasure, which serves as a companion book to Passionate Hearts. Maltz is codirector, with her husband Larry, of Maltz Counseling Associates. Her website is www.HealthySex.com.

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