Best of the Net 2011  

The Poet Speaks of Beauty

It is impossible to stare directly
at my sculpted chest
and not believe
I deserve my own nation.
Things are beautiful
when you feel compelled
to throw yourself in a fire for them.
More so when you have to start the fire yourself.
The young are beautiful
as a reminder that we're losing.
The elderly are beautiful
the moment they stop trying to be.
Middle age is never beautiful,
only sad,
but sometimes this sadness is capable of great acts of beauty.
Like convincing children they are still loved
when they see their kitchen tables torn apart.
Like believing honestly in starting over
when you know you've missed your chance.
A rainbow trout is beautiful
only in dreams, and again, only if it can talk
and explain the mysteries of rivers.
Rivers are always beautiful.
Drowning in them is the marriage
of the inevitable with a belief in the immortal
which is a particularly beautiful limb of youth.
Beauty is in the things you don't see.
This explains the phenomenon of turning out the lights.
Muscle memory is beautiful
because it proves your hands
know more than you.
Sex against a wall is beautiful
only when priceless things are broken.
The bathroom is never beautiful,
stop inviting me.
Ok, sometimes a shower is beautiful,
but only in the want of it.
Lovers soaping each other with sleepy concentration
and then cupping their hands like orphans,
pouring water down their backs.
This is only beautiful when they forget
what they are doing.
And then again
when the young lover absentmindedly
soaps the head of his penis
and is shocked awake,
the penis having become incredibly sensitive
after a night, one imagines, of absolute terror.
This terror is beautiful,
the bodies laid uncomfortable against the not-knowing.
Classical male statues lead one to believe
that beauty does not concern itself with functionality,
which explains their shortcomings.
It may lead others
to believe that beauty swells over time,
eventually swallowing the whole of history.
And still others understand,
without knowing why,
that it is only beautiful because it is forever
out of reach,
that if David appeared in your bedroom tonight
to declare himself yours
you would only giggle thanks,
but no thanks.
Of course there is no consensus
on any of this
because consensus is never beautiful.

- Roberto Montes (from Sixth Finch)