The Tamed Puma

by Irving Layton

Irving Layton

You are mistaken, he said
I am neither lecher nor womanizer.
If I'm crazy about women
it's for the beauty
some pitying devil threw over them,
a beauty that blinds my gaze to everything
except lips eyes breasts
and roils my blood
like a delicious venom.

When the fit is on me
I am their slave, their man Fiday;
they can do with me as they will
and to their absurdest wish
I am as malleable as putty,
more pliant than straw.
For their ally is not beauty alone
but the scantness of sense or purpose
I find in the remotest curved niche
of the universe;
whoever framed its empty immensities
didn't reckon on a man's reason or conscience
or the unassuageable ache in my heart.

Women and poems are my sole chance here
to give expelled breath shape and contour
and fable it with meaning.
I place on the brow of every woman I love
a crown made from the choicest words;
I dress her like a woodland queen
in trope and metaphor.
My desperation blossoms into garlands
braceleting her wrists, my sick despair
into flowering anklets.
I plug the void with my phallus
and making love on bed or carpet
we transfigure pitchblack nothingness
into a tamed puma whose whiskers
we stroke between enrapturing kisses.

Last updated May 12, 2023