The Bonobo kiss each other’s genitalia
Seeing them, like Blake, as “beauty”.
With this gesture, as common as a handshake,
They keep the peace within their community.
In this primate’s revolutionary life-style
They prefer playful sex to aggression
And in social encounters they rarely miss
An opportunity for a sensual session.
Male Bonobos hang upside down in trees to play
What primatologists call ‘penis fencing’.
Non-penetrative sex is used to make friends
And to forestall any buildup of tension.
In authoritarian and violent societies
Such behaviour is thought taboo –
Being frowned upon as a threat to progress
(And for its reducing the population too).
But there’s a famous painting of the Garden of Eden
Which looks as if Adam and Eve
Enjoyed oral as much as they liked procreative sex –
Which could be why they were asked to leave.
In it a coiled serpent suggestively writhes
As Eve lies naked besides Adam’s member.
It looks as if a blushing Eve will turn and treat Adam
To a timeless moment of erotic splendor.
It’s mind-blowing to think of a beatific blowjob
Affecting man’s relationship to his God,
Yet while God orders man, ‘Be fruitful and multiply!’
His creatures ignore the controlling old sod.
For recreational sex may be just as close to the divine
As anything that religions have on offer.
They could take a leaf from the Bonobo book on Eden
And learn that we’re not here to suffer.
Besides which it seems that mankind’s bodily juices
Can prove a nutritious cornucopia –
As therapeutic as mother’s milk and as full of protein –
The fuel for a sexual utopia.
It’s hard to imagine but there’s part of the Congo Basin
That’s similar to the Parisian Left Bank
Or, rather like San Francisco in the mid-nineteen sixties,
Where ‘peace and love’ didn’t meet with a blank.
For Bonobo society is based on cooperation and empathy
And a communitarian sexual appetite.
The culture’s a matriarchy where competition’s redirected
Into an ecstatic tide of physical delight.
Having an infectious laugh which is similar to that of a human baby,
The Bonobo, or Pan Paniscus, the pygmy chimpanzee
With its pink lips, its graceful legs, and its hair-parting in the middle
Is a polyamorous primate whose career’s just being free.
They can communicate through a keyboard with geometric symbols
And they can indicate they’ve an idea what life’s for:
Through resolving conflict by unselfconscious sexual contact
They’re living out, ‘Make Love Not War’.
illustration: Elena Caldera
The chest-thumping warmongers of the US Pentagon
Spend trillions on pointless aggression;
Squeamishly overlooking the Bonobo as a role model
With its fearless public displays of affection.
Just imagine Generals enjoying genital-to-genital rubbing
Or Executive Orders requiring French kissing –
But lubricating the gears of social harmony with such love
Would mean that fewer bodies went missing.
(with thanks to Adina Rivers)