Thursday, June 20, 2013

Looking for Ms/Mr Right (Song of Songs 4:16-5-1)

Winds of the south and winds of the north, wake up and blow now:
breath through my garden, drive him mad with my fragrance, draw him into my garden;
let his tongue stop its talking, let it taste my choice fruits
            I enter your garden, my sister-bride, to gather myrrh and spice.
            I eat of your honeycomb, and drink honeyed wine with sweet milk.
                     Eat, friends, and drink!
                     Sate yourselves, oh lovers.
Song of Songs 4:16-5-1
Hugs by Raphael Perez
The audacious woman of the Song of Songs is stretched nude upon her bed. The musky sexual scents of her body lure her lover. His tongue ceases its chatter and becomes a tool of pleasure. Tasting. Eating. Drinking. Eros longed for union of giving and receiving, of partaking in intimate delight has come to pass. Yet, like so many things in the muddled world of human Eros, it will prove difficult to hang onto. Even the Song of Songs is given more to searching than to finding.

You don’t need to be queer to experience the pangs of Eros yearning. The longing to be connected at deep personal and intimate levels is universal across the sexual continuum. Eros, as passionate longing, may indeed be the sexuality of which all human sexual expressions, including heterosexuality, arise from and return to.

Eros creates the primary boundary of our lives. “In the interval between reach and grasp, between glance and counterglance, between ‘I love you’ and ‘I love you too,’ the absent presence of desire comes alive” (Anne Carson). 

The “absent presence” is the very warp and weft of the Song of Songs. The lover is out there. But until the certainty of union, we can only glimpse, guess at, and catch echoes of what we seek. Our anticipation, longing, and expectation contours Eros within us as we seek to express it with the assurance of sensual gratification and contentment.

Eros is both friend and fiend to queer and straight alike. He - Eros is male in both Greek and Roman mythology - He opens us up and brings forth vulnerable trusting in the other - the lover. He also drives us into areas which can be quite dark and dangerous for the human soul as we seek Ms/Mr Right with whom we can share our vulnerability with ease and happiness.

Too many queer men have sought this subtle inner pleasure in relationships which have the potential for debasement. Left wanting by the mere physicality of sex, some gay men are driven to seek more and more partners. It is clich├ęd among some corners of the gay male community that “it’s just sex, have as many partners as you can.” Yet, the orgasm is fleeting. We recharge, connect with another unnamed body in hopes that from this one some deeper lasting connection may emerge.

Anne Carson speaks to this all too human conundrum, “But the boundaries of time and glance and 'I love you' are only aftershocks of the main, inevitable boundary that creates Eros: the boundary of flesh and self between you and me. And it is only, suddenly, at the moment when I would dissolve that boundary, I realize I never can” (Eros the Bittersweet).

The Song disagrees with Carson’s final conclusion. Trusting love can indeed dissolve and cross this final boundary. We must be open to the point of trusting our vulnerabilities to the night air in anticipation that the lover, our lover will find us.

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