“The Body Electric in Several Takes” by Edison Jennings

An ivy educated American male,

bespoke suited but modest and sincere,

once seated and lighted to good effect

and confident of his look and manner

will, when gently prodded, confess

to Charlie Rose, that yes, the piece

in Vogue, though mostly correct

regarding his reckless appetites,

failed to mention his sex addiction

and how he struggled unsuccessfully

to overcome his disease, his shameful

need for sex with gorgeous partners,

until he gave his life to his higher power

whom he chooses to call Oversoul,

and how his struggle, (and here he turns

his handsome face away) has led him

to embrace homeless addicts,

sharing in their journey to recovery,

long before he’ll tell Charlie

he once smacked his six-year-old

blue-bruise-hard because the boy had spilled

a Very-Berry Smoothy on his antique

Persian Carpet, serving as a case in point

of the counterpoint that weaves the joy

of our desiring into a masque, Baroque

in its entanglements, composed with bits,

bytes and waves, macro to the micro,

linking Nappa Valley manse to West Virginia

meth lab, allemanding right then left,

hand to hand, soul to soul with the wino

and the state’s attorney late night

in his office, reading American Pastoral,

sipping scotch and sniffing coke,

while the late midnight busker drums

his bucket marking time rapping out

the word, shoe box at his feet to keep

a scatter of loose change, wages of a prophet,

and with the handsome man of letters

and frequent talk-show guest,

naked on his Louis Quinze récamier,

blissed on aural sex provided by his intern

who’s going through the motions

of yet another onerous task, indifferent

to his complex mind and legendary dick

and with the data hacker, texting, sexting,

porning, wired for a tingle from any angel

lurking in the æther, stuck 4 lanes deep

with no off-ramp forever on the circuit

of America, that most shocking poem.


Edison Jennings is a Head Start bus driver and school aide. His poetry has appeared in several journals, including, Kenyon Review, Poetry Daily, River Styx, and Slate. He is the author of three chapbooks. Broadstone Books will publish his first full length collection, Intentional Fallacies, later this year.

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