Human/Need/Desire

Human/Need/Desire. Bruce Nauman. 1983.

Human/Need/Desire. Bruce Nauman. 1983.


Desire

Molly Peacock — Desire

It doesn’t speak and it isn’t schooled,
like a small foetal animal with wettened fur.
It is the blind instinct for life unruled,
visceral frankincense and animal myrrh.
It is what babies bring to kings,
an eyes-shut, ears-shut medicine of the heart
that smells and touches endings and beginnings
without the details of time’s experienced part-
fit-into-part-fit-into-part
. Like a paw,
it is blunt; like a pet who knows you
and nudges your knee with its snout—but more raw
and blinder and younger and more divine, too,
than the tamed wild—it’s the drive for what is real,
deeper than the brain’s detail: the drive to feel.


Why I am not a Buddhist

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I love desire, the state of want and thought
of how to get; building a kingdom in a soul
requires desire. I love the things I’ve sought-
you in your beltless bathrobe, tongues of cash that loll
from my billfold- and love what I want: clothes,
houses, redemption. Can a new mauve suit
equal God? Oh no, desire is ranked. To lose
a loved pen is not like losing faith. Acute
desire for nut gateau is driven out by death,
but the cake on its plate has meaning,
even when love is endangered and nothing matters.
For my mother, health; for my sister, bereft,
wholeness. But why is desire suffering?
Because want leaves a world in tatters?
How else but in tatters should a world be?
A columned porch set high above a lake.
Here, take my money. A loved face in agony,
the spirit gone. Here, use my rags of love.

By Molly Peacock