I would dearly and painfully love to get up at a reading and read "User's Guide." While uncontrollably sobbing. Or staring balefully at everyone. Because people are often afraid to find funny any material that treads in these areas. Even if it's clearly meant to be. They want to respect pain et cetera. The few poems I have in this category I never even bother to read because there's always a handful of people who get the joke, who laugh only to find no one else is in the sea of drained faces. Awkward.
This poem came about after reading a review of Lucia Perillo's new book of essays I Hear the Vultures Singing: Field Notes on Poetry, Illness, and Nature. The reviewer is sort of mindlessly reductive in the assumption that these essays = her life. So he describes a sort of doddering, bird watching, MS-slowed life that even includes "occasional sex." As though that were some mindblowing miracle. I can forgive him in that, of course, book reviewers are engaged in nearly "continuous sex." Which, as you probably know, is how I pay the bills. Reviewing books. I'm just saying.