Monday, February 9, 2015



Tell me, please, whose lips joined yours in your most memorable kiss. I was going to write today's blog post about my sculptor friend who makes bicycle helmets out of shellacked watermelon halves; but my lips started peeling this morning, as they do every year at this time, so my mind wandered elsewhere. The flakes of dried skin are quite irritating, but I dare not pull them loose lest, if one tears at the quick, I develop a blister. I have had enough of blistered lips. I have been punched in the mouth at least seven times, and fallen flat on my face on concrete perhaps as many, after spending too much time with Jack Daniel. My first "fat lip" was caused indirectly by the loveliest of 13-year-old blondes: her boyfriend cold-cocked me after overhearing me tell her that she was beautiful: my introduction to jealousy and possessiveness. Inevitably, thinking of my lips triggers a veritable avalanche of images and remembered incidents involving kisses. How can I write a disciplined polished post under this barrage: (1) Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss; (2) Edna St. Vincent Millay's exquisite poem, "What lips these lips have kissed"; (3) Rodin's sculptor of "The Kiss"; (4) Deanna Durbin singing in the Fifties, "Give me a little kiss"; (5) Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr on the beach in "From Here to Eternity"; (6) Bacio di morte, of the Sicilian underworld; (7) The prince's kiss that woke Sleeping Beauty; (8) The princess' kiss that turned the frog back into a prince; (9) The letters I received in Korea, from my woman, with bright red lip-sticked SWAKs on the backs of the envelopes; (10) My readers' additions to this list. *** When we were both 13, my cousin Helen introduced me to the "French" kiss, long before I even knew what France was. The taste of those moments altered my life forever: it rubbed out my plans to enter a seminary, become a priest and ultimately a saint. I have loved Body ever since, whatever risk that poses to Soul. Well, there is too much work to be done today to linger on this subject: if I start reminiscing about the kisses in my life, I will never leave this chair. I must remark that most kisses are blah, many are lies. Humans lie with kisses as much as with words. I have no use for things like quick cheek-pecks. A kiss, like a hug, should last for at least 11.47 seconds. *** The memory of one luscious, exquisitely delicious "kiss" will pleasure me for the rest of my days: ripe pears fall in New Jersey after the ground is covered with snow. So, Marjorie and I, 12 and 14,uncovered this gorgeous yellow pear, and, ice and fire, stared eating it together from opposite sides. Not even in the throes of sexual ecstasy have I ever been so close to heaven.

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