Anne-Marie Levine


SEX, DEATH, AND BAD TASTE IN LONDON
 
TO LET
said the signs
on buildings everywhere.
I had a bladder infection
that week
so I always thought it said
TO i LET
Sure if they'd meant TOILET
they'd have said
LOO

I consulted a gynecologist about my infection.
"How'd you get this?" he asked.
"Too much sex," I said.
"Most 39-year-olds complain of not enough sex," he said.
"I'm happy for you," he leered.
I was glad my friend Julia was close by.
"Give it a rest while you're in London," he advised.

At dinner I sat next to a man who told me
he was a world-class expert on pain.
"Do you give it or receive it?" I asked.
"Do you vanquish it, or what?"
"I study it," he told me.

The Russian emigré pianist sitting across from me
said he was dying of cancer. He said he had bought a house
midway between a crematorium and a Jewish cemetery.
So he would have a choice.

Yolanda said her brother in New York was an expert on AIDS.
Julia told Yolanda she complained too much about her own
ailments. Yolanda said, "You don't understand. I'm Jewish,
not English. Jewish people complain."

I told all my English friends about an article
I had read in the International Herald Tribune.
It said that bands of eunuchs roam India
looking for boys born without penises.
They kidnap these boys in order to perpetuate
themselves.

Julia said I was the Queen of Bad Taste.

All the men who desired me that week were married.

I gave it a rest.