Sandy McIntosh

Sandy McIntosh’s collections of poetry include Ernesta, in the Style of the Flamenco (Marsh Hawk Press, 2010), 237 More Reasons to Have Sex (written with Denise Duhamel), Forty-Nine Guaranteed Ways to Escape Death and nine other books, including a Chinese cookbook, as well as software programs, including Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing! He has published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Nation, the Wall Street Journal, American Book Review, and elsewhere. He has been managing editor of Confrontation magazine, and is publisher of Marsh Hawk Press.

What is (or has been) your favorite editing project and why?

Some time ago, when I was teaching at Southampton College on Long Island, I taught a summer course titled: "Small Press Publishing." This was at a time when personal computers weren't capable of real typesetting and you had to make all your corrections by physically cutting and pasting. That summer we produced many poster broadsides and three full length poetry collections by students. That these came out in just a month did not please the head of my department who, as faculty advisor to the college literary magazine, had not been able to get an issue of that publication out in two years of trying.

from 237 More Reasons to Have Sex
(written by Denise Duhamel and Sandy McIntosh)

“Originally, I thought that we exhaustively compiled the list, but
now I found that there should be some added…”
—Cindy Meston, co-author of “Why Humans Have Sex,” Archives of Sexual Behavior (Volume 36, Number 4, August 2007)

5.      My vibrator was in the repair shop.
18.    You were blocking the way to the refrigerator.
20.    You were my mayonnaise.
27.    Because we’d put all our clothes in the washing machine.
42.    Nin Andrews told me, “It always makes the corn grow faster,”
          and I wanted to get into your Farmer’s Almanac.
43.    And I into your bales of hay.
44.    I had a thing for Christian Bale in Velvet Underground and The Prestige.
46.    I’d just slurped my Moon Pie.
53.    I had just seen Cicciolina in the Italian film Monica: Il Vulcano di Piacere, and I was about
          to erupt.
55.    I was Bert the Cop in the remake of It’s a Wonderful Life. After I see you float by I tell
          George Bailey I’m going home “to see what the wife is up to.”
59.    I had these new grappling hooks I wanted to try out.
62.    I pretended you were Tom Cruise playing air guitar in Risky Business.
63.    I pretended I was Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch.
64.    I pretended I was the couch.
68.    I felt nasty, guilty of appropriation, and sex made me feel likable again.
71.    As Karl Marx declared: “I’m the worst I ever had.”
82.    It was because I liked to wink at our TV camera en passant.
87.    I’ve always had a thing for good boys in letter sweaters.
88.    I’ve always had a thing for letter carriers in blue sweaters.
89.    I was watching The Postman Always Rings Twice on DVD when I heard the doorbell.
90.    It was only me, but we enjoyed the serendipity, and I gave you the ring I found in the Post
          Toasties box.
91.    The palm reader foretold it all—the ring that smelled like sugar, the chiming doorbell.
92.    It was Tuesday and she knew we always did it on Tuesday, and she liked to watch us from
          behind the potted palm.
94.    She found it more exciting as a simulcast.
109.  There was an hour to go before curfew.
113.  You promised me we could name our first daughter Chastity, just like Sonny and Cher had.
123.  Then you said, “Everything is about sex except sex, which is actually about power
          and money,” making me feel richly powerful.
127.  Eating those apples, I felt young again.
142.  I always got excited thinking of myself as Saint Monica, who, as a young girl, was given in
          marriage to a bad-tempered, adulterous pagan named Patricius.
143.  I think of you that way, too. Or at least I’d like to get into the habit (if you know what I
148.  I also liked to play the other Monica—chubby Monica of Beret-Humiliation, Hussy Monica,
          Monica the Duped.
150.  Sure I was a money-grubber, a gold-digger, but that didn’t mean I didn’t love you.
176.  Nin Andrews said, “We were cultivating one another,” but I was cultivating Catholic guilt.
179.  I was invested in making the right impression.
182.  To celebrate the one-dollar win on the two-dollar lottery ticket.
183.  To celebrate our third place winner Sparky at the track.
187.  To celebrate the calibration between your orgasm and mine.
188.  To calibrate the leverage between your wants and my abilities.
191.  To conduct ourselves in a disrespectful manner.
193.  I was going on intuition.
197.  I was from the Kingdom of the Damaged.
198.  I lived in a little shack just down the hill from you.
199.  You were from the Kingdom of the Damaged.
200.  Half way between the Kingdom of the Damaged and the Hamlet of the Deranged.
201.  You were as irresistible and complicated as a great poem.
202.  You were like a shimmering flower of eyes, hair and petals.
211.  I was wearing my new saddle shoes—and your wingtips were all polished.
220.  Still we sailed onward, navigating via bi-polarity.
225.  How I longed to alphabetize your file cabinets.
231.  “Ah, Monica!” gushed the ever-ardent Stanislav Shmigegi. “I’ve found you at last!”
232.  But was it too late? We weren’t as ferocious, even though you were kind, ignoring my love
233.  And I admit: I’d changed, too. Same mask and tightrope, one overshoe and my bicycle
           wheels on backwards.
235.  And then we remembered: that little place next to the vibrator repair shop in line 5.

(All 237 reasons can be found in the chapbook published by Otoliths and available from their web store or from Amazon.com.)

Woman In the Bar

My wife and I took our seats at the bar in Penn Station,
Forty minutes to wait before our train.
The middle-aged woman sitting next to me,
Wearing a frilly prom dress,
A fancy cocktail untouched
Before her,
Leaned over and whispered:
“Hello, sailor. Do you think
You’re man enough
To rock my world?”
“I doubt it,” I told her.

She turned away,
Began whispering to the man
To her left. Their conversation
Intense, but every
Once in awhile she’d turn to me
With the whispered
Play-by-play: “He’s got
A wife in Copaigue, but thinks
Maybe he can catch the later train
If we head over to the
Hotel across the street
For a quick one.”

But by the time she’d turned back
To him, the man had stood up
And was rushing out of the bar.

Silence. The three of us
Alone. Then two women
Entered, and our new friend
Called: “Hey Ladies. Can I
Buy you a drink?”
But the ladies scuttled
Into the shadows.
“They probably think
I’m into pussy,” the woman confided.
“Well, I can accommodate.”

It was time for our train, so Barbara and I
Stood up. I turned to say

“Going so soon?” she asked,
Then sighed. “Oh well.
It’s been
A slow evening.”

(from Ernesta, in the Style of the Flamenco, Marsh Hawk Press, 2010)

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