Tim Seibles


Bonobo apes employ sex—all kinds—as their primary mode
of social interaction. Violence is essentially unheard of among them.

Call Drea and Carlo Jareeta, Josefina and George.
Ring Zhao, then Yusef Dvora, Savannah and Dee.
Let’s not be so useless today. Let’s find a field
and, Andre, bring some birds—a thousand sparrows
to pepper the sky, a ruckus of toucans for color.
And, Renee, don’t forget the sunlight and no more
than 75 degrees with the friendly breeze that sings to us.
Jose, we stand in a place where no one can run naked,
but the police go public with their billy clubs and guns.
Red automobiles might be waxed and shown off,
but the genitals are locked up, gaberdined, touched
in secret and dubbed “privates.” Let’s not mingle
with the forgive-me-my-sinners or their grim
and constipated God. Jeannette, make sure the field
is a quilt of monkey-grass and periwinkle.
Send the numbskulls to the city for a shopping day.
Then, let’s get with the kisses—
who with who, who cares? Who cares!
As long as the lips are excellent
pastries and the tongues, circumspect
and merciless. It should take half a day
to spill the vulva’s quick honey longer
to key the restless clarinet of the cock—half a day
or the sun will consider the good light wasted on us.
And why not be deliberately lazy with the buttery rays
like a broth ladled over us? Why not a languid
and mellifluous career grooving hallelujah with our hips,
as if this flammable symmetry were a ship always
turning between the two ports: wanting and having.
Don’t let Masala and Sissy double-up
on Susanna. Watch out for JT and Bernard.
Tell them to hold their horny horses—
tell them the orgasm, like a favorite
auntie always saves a place at her table,
the dinner always ready whenever we arrive.

But nobody can stop them. Who can ever stop
any of us and why: as if we haven’t lost
too much time working—and too many lives.
So let there be lots of licking, every mouth
on loan to the loud song of our loneliness,
and fucking, of course—crisp, proud, posh,
preemptive, unimpeachable, forever and ever—
from these front yards to Zimbabwe and the Taj Majal,
fucking in the loosest, most elaborate sense
of the word. Forget the word! Let thighs be questions
and other thighs be answers. When we’re true like this
even the sky rolls onto its back, even the most reluctant
shade slides over us: Eros in the air—bold fish
stroll from the lake, a lone bonobo brings a symphony
of oboes spilling all the unsaid things.
Let’s take this one chance and be terribly
kind to each other. I’m sick of wafting around
like a fart in the attic. Leave the money
to the morticians and their cadavers.
Let’s make the most noise with our hearts.

Tim Seibles
“Bonobo” is from Buffalo Head Solos (Cleveland State University, 2004).