A Poem from Ruth Stone

by Ruth Stone

Wanting and dissatisfaction
are the main ingredients
of happiness.
To want is to believe
there is something worth getting.
Whereas getting only shows
how worthless the thing is.
And this is why destruction
is so useful.
It gets rid of what was wanted
and so makes room
for more to be wanted.
How valueless is the orderly.
It cries out for disorder.
And life that thinks it fears death,
spends all of its time
courting death.
To violate beauty
is the essence of sexual desire.
To procreate is the essence of decay.

Categories: POETRY | 2 Comments

About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2023: I publish an email newsletter called LANDLINE = https://jaybabcock.substack.com Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca.

2 thoughts on “A Poem from Ruth Stone

  1. I’ve been musing over this poem for the past day and the more I look at it the more amazing it becomes. In addition of the above mentioned names it recapitulates Herbert Marcuse too, particularly in his concept of “The Great Refusal” in his landmark *Eros and Civilazation*.

    Also Alain Danielou, to wit:
    “In order to be genuine, love and the rapture of pleasure must be absolutely irrational. They must not be ‘useful,’ ‘normal,’ or ‘according to law.’ They must not be a mere procreative act used to beget children for the continuance of our house, to look after us and defend our property. They must not be the outcome of marriage, which stabilizes our social position and represents a communion of interests. True love must be wholly useless and disinterested, far from any idea of family, progeny, or social order. Only then is it pure, true love. This is why the mystical poets sing of illicit love, the love of what does not belong to you (parakiya) and not of what you already possess (svakiya). Loving a wife, or someone who belongs to us, is part of what binds us to the world of forms and not of what can free us from it. Only adulterous, abnormal, or incestuous love can be considered pure and truly free from all ties, and only it can give us some idea of what the mystics experience—it is absurd, disinterested, and destructive of all that is human.”
    -Alain Danielou, The Hindu Temple, p. 105-106

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