How do they do it, the ones who make love without love?
Sharon Olds penned this poem in 1984…and the haunting verses carry great weight with each stanza. In the writing, she tackles this question. How do they do it? The ones who make love without love? Is that juxtaposition and irony possible? To move from the phrase ‘I love you‘ to ‘I love this‘?
People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used. (unknown)
Performances. Sex to the elusive ‘they,’ those who ‘make love without love’ is a performance – like a dance recital or an ice-skating competition.
Fingers hooked inside each other’s bodies, faces red as steak, wine,
Here the imagery Olds uses takes a more graphic or violent turn. ‘Hooked,’ and even her similes are comparisons to raw meat…rawness. A sense of vulnerability that is still present despite the desire to separate oneself from the bonding that inevitably happens on a spiritual, emotional, physical level in the very act of sex.
Wet as the children at birth whose mothers are going to give them away.
The beauty integrated into the very act of sex – and one of it’s purposes? Procreation. Fruitfulness.
“The Church, which is on the side of life, teaches that it is necessary that each and every marriage act remain ordered per se to the procreation of human life. This particular doctrine, expounded on numerous occasions by the Magisterium, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.” (CCC 2366)
Yet these lovers have separated the openness to life away from their love making…if it can be referred to as such anymore. They’re giving that opportunity and openness to life away.
How do they come to the come to the come to the God come to the still waters, and not love the one who came there with them – light rising slowly as steam off their joined skin? These are the true religious, the purists, the pros, the ones who will not accept a false Messiah,
Are they really? Are they better off? Who is this false Messiah that they are rejecting? The notion that sex means something? Anything?
love the priest instead of the God. They do not mistake the lover for their own pleasure,
To bypass the creator in an attempt to connect on a deeper level with the creation? Yet in the very act of the reduction of another human being, created in the image and likeness of God, down to simply what one can do for another…instead of willing the other’s good
“The fact that theology also considers the body should not astonish or surprise anyone who is aware of the mystery and reality of the Incarnation. Theology is that science whose subject is divinity. Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh, the body entered theology through the main door. The Incarnation and the redemption that springs from it became also the definitive source of the sacramentality of marriage…” (TOB April 2, 1980)
they are like great runners: they know they are alone with the road surface, the cold, the wind,
the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio- vascular health–just factors, like the partner in the bed, and not the truth, which is the single body alone in the universe against its own best time.
Here is the ultimate price tag – that comes with the use of another person, separate from the self-giving love that sex in and of itself demands. Alone-ness.
“Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience love and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.” (From the encyclical, Redemptor Hominis — “Redeemer of Man”)
How do they do it? Or, perhaps the better questions is, can they do it? Can human beings essentially separate the emotion and decision of love away from the very act of ‘making love?’