Passionate longing, that is the libido, has two aspects: It is the power that beautifies everything and in certain cases, destroys everything.


The entanglement of sex and death is one of the fundamental manifestations of the divine rhythm of chaos and order. Though sex and death seemingly exist in opposite banks of life, both of them reaffirm life and give meaning to it. Sometimes life is a tension between Eros and Thanatos, as Freud postulates. Sometimes it overlaps, as Spielrein notes- in our times, our worlds, our cultures and in our bodies. In Chris Wallace-Crabbe’s delightfully dark poem ‘The Amorous Cannibalism‘, desire blesses the union of life and death.

The poem, is a dark and beautiful love letter, that intertwine desire and death. In the burning passion, the other, disappears. In this amorous consumption, wants become needs. This is evident in the dissolution of a discreet, hedonistic choice (as illustrated by fingers, cheeks and the breasts). The desperate desideration to touch and to be touched transpires into an act of holistic consumption, thereby dissolving the need for a choice. Love’s aspiration is the gestalt.

Autumnal Cannibalism, Salvador Dali (1936) ( 2 faceless creatures with a fused body devouring each other)

The description of consumption is juxtaposed with that of the primal instinct of a hunter. There is flesh for flesh, and the bones for pride and charm. The meal is an offering. The appetite could be literal or carnal, with hedonistic impulse at its heart. But consumption is enmeshed here and the difference between the prey and the predator is blurred. For in the wild truth, we are always food for someone else, even when we eat.

The ghost of the meal, haunts from within. It is plangent and ravishing, a paradox. It’s tongue informs the voice box, echoing the tale of the little mermaid who trades her voice for a pair of legs. Yet, in this case, the ghost munches on the fingers and toes, thereby turning tables. Love has become a sickness and poetry is its soothing balm, especially when served out raw, with a spoonful of adjectives. Love and poetry, like two amorous cannibals eternally feed on each other

The poem is also an exploration of our needs. The basic needs of hunger and thirst, being individual needs, nourish us. But sex, as a social need is cumulative and complicated. It is dangerous and exciting. It involves the birth of a union, possible only through the death of the individual, at least temporarily. It is equally life affirming as it is deadly. For many cohabitants of the Earth, sex is something that happens shortly before their demise. We,however, go on to live, but we are transformed through sex and in a way, we are reborn. The Amorous cannibalism, resonates with this desire for a regression ad uterum [The universal desire to go back to the womb, (Ferenczi, 1924)], as manifested through the various expressions of our existence and the solace that poetry offers when we fail to actualize it.

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