Narcissus in Stripes

As in so many fashion shots,

the clothes don’t really go together,

a strategy I suppose intended

to draw attention to the individual pieces,

in this case, all stripes, a crinkly

banded-collar shirt, untucked,

sleeves rolled, collar open, though

the camera’s gaze surveys him from the back,

slightly toward his left profile,

the photographer having posed him

angled back as if leaning against

an invisible wall, a posture exaggerating

the width of his shoulders and further

slimming his already slender waist

and legs in the snug wide-striped

trousers cut from cotton or maybe linen,

smooth and trim in the rear, his

buttocks not pronounced, front

pocket puckered just a bit,

the pattern biased along the leg seam,

lending a rather zebra-like effect,

maybe just a streak of wildness.

The model, dropping forward his neck,

bows his wavy dark-haired head

to peer into a circular mirror

the he holds out erect in front,

to peer from under languid lids

at his own smooth face, not

as if he’s checking hair or makeup,

but as if, liking what he sees,

he regrets his own uniqueness,

the fact of mere reflection,

the cold and lifeless glass.

 

Note: the poem alludes to a photograph by the late David Armstrong of model Simon Nessman for the Narcisse series in Vogues Hommes International Spring/Summer 2012.

 

Copyright 2014

T. Allen Culpepper

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Dream 517

Cycling on the underside of the superhighway

over a bridge in an unspecified foreign country,

I go into a spin, U-turn suddenly, and find myself

surrounding by thugs with wrenches, who, though

I pedal faster and faster, shouting obscenities,

keep pace with me, lock their wrenches onto my bolts,

loosening nuts mercilessly until my bike flies

apart in the wind and I fall upward into the noise

of an alarm-clock siren. Waking, I throw up my hands

and wail, pondering a universe beyond my control.

 

Copyright 2014

T. Allen Culpepper