Bare Midriff Versus the Beer Gut

(Inspired by Richard Brautigan)

He was inspired to write a poem about her bare midriff, although he’d never caressed nor seen it. The idea was to imagine this unknown bedrock Valley of Pleasure and become its explorer and cartographer. Lofty stuff for a bare midriff, surely, but poets must occasionally take these flights of fancy. Hey, better a bare midriff poem than a superfluous anti-war poem! They never work out and always end up turgid and preachy, (except that one by William Everson and the aircraft carrier). Nothing turgid and preachy in a bare midriff poem. A poet can even use a color like apricot and pretend freckles around the bellybutton contain a secret message or an uncharted constellation.

She caught wind of his project and wrote him that she didn’t have a bare midriff—she had a beer gut! What? The murderer of literature!

The poet thought: could he write a poem about a soft Mountain Range of Pleasure rather than the valley?

Why not? He’d be sure to mention that rain erodes all mountains and all mountains eventually end up in the ocean. She might like that.