Spiral Earrings

OK, so, yeah, I like piercings,

but not usually to the point of fetish,

so why are the big silver spirals

dangling from this dude’s lobes

getting me so aroused?

I mean, sure , he’s hot, I guess,

talk, dark-haired, shadowy stubble,

but not hotter than some others

passing through my field of vision,

except for those damned earrings

that make me want to get him naked.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper

Portrait of the Young American as a Student

Working with a group in his English class,

he represents the American male ideal,

blond but not too blond, handsome

but not like a Hollywood star,

in red-plaid shirt, faded jeans,

red classic canvas sneakers.

shows white teeth when he smiles,

furrows brow when he laughs.

An open face, an open manner,

a touch of bravado that masks

a lurking anonymous fear.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper


His back to me,

seated on the rail,

leaning conversationally

toward a couple of friends,

talking with his hands,

amusing his companions,

straw hair over

Nordic-white skin,

broad shoulders draped

with cornflower tee,
one denim-wrapped leg
crossed under the other,
showing skin between

jeans and trainers.

I’ve read of scandalous
flashes of flesh
in Victorian novels
and laughed at prudery

of such extremity

that a mere glimpse

of ankle could arouse,

even doubtful of its truth,

but now I get it,

and I want him,

having never even

looked into his eyes

to see them smile.

Touché, Victorians.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper


Leaning against the wall, awaiting his turn

at the book signing, lazy-lidded brown eyes,

under a fringe of unkempt hair, yearning

for something he’s not yet sure of but will recognize

when he finds it.


Face young and smooth, but under the Roman nose

just a shadow over the parted lips

revealing a toothsome grim at a joke

told by a companion. Jeans low on hips,

faux leather jacket


with epaulets, worn in stylish rebellion

over a zip-neck top and T-shirt,

sneakers black-on-black; but he’s no hellion,

just a smart kid whose dramatic future,

if he sticks with it,


will warm and dazzle his enraptured watchers,

whether he’s on stage or in the crowd;

he has that charismatic pull that catches

eyes and captures hearts–not brash or loud,

but always copacetic.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper

L’ Ange Descendu

after a photograph by Michael Taggart


Fallen from cerulean sky unharmed,

but missing the company of the heavenly host,

he accepts the solace of a mortal friend,

removes his wings and lays them on the chair,

then lies back naked on the bed,

as if the crisp, white linens were airy wisps of cloud.

Smooth, gilded skin resplendent there as the youthful angel

rests his arm across his chest, hand over heart,

as if pledging allegiance, but to whom or what?

Not to you, despite his gratitude, nor to his heavenly duties–

right now the wings are off—the halo hanging on the bedpost.

Perhaps to beauty, his own or the ideal,

perhaps to his own spirit’s force,

the power to command desire without reciprocal obligation.

Mussed hair brushing over brow frames

grey eyes, wide as with innocence, that yet

cast a glance that speaks of knowledge.

Afterward, will he put on his wings and fly,

or hang them in your closet for awhile,

or box them up for charity?


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper