In the season of procrastination and allergies
I’m lingering over a post-luncheon coffee,
and with nothing else of interest in the offing,
my gaze wanders around at the guys.
Clichés are forthcoming here, no doubt,
but one can be, I think, allowed, along
with photographs of the first daffodils,
pink azalea buds, and random sprouts,
in spring one poetic bout with passing
time, fleeting youth, seizing days, not missing out.
Let’s set a scene then, and off we’ll go:
two college boys on a coffee date
at a popular local watering-hole,
one whiter than white, the other mixed race,
both cute, young, bearded, in T-shirts,
and those trendy lightweight short-shorts
that cling like boxers to the interesting parts;
the white one’s been to his stylist
for the haircut du jour, long on top,
buzzed back and sides, hairy legs, and on
his feet, leather high-tops, the other dude,
smoother, sporting white canvas sneaks.
They occupy the corner café table,
sitting, talking, laughing too loud at whispered
jokes; two queer blokes, not really drinking
their mostly decorative cafés-au-lait,
so gay in every sense and so very young!
One glance at them, and my thoughts are
flung back to when I was their age
of similar bent but in such different days,
and I wonder how things might have ended
if I’d had that kind of beginning
and hadn’t gone off to college in eighty-one,
when AIDS was new and running rampant.
Happy for what they have now right here,
but a bit resentful maybe of past fears
and attitudes that made it hard for me
to take what to them must seem freer.
Not that I haven’t had myself a life,
but finding my path did take a while,
and I missed some chances along the way;
I’m thinking, for example, of Eben at the lake
that day we took a ride after class:
He was clearly fishing and I liked the bait,
but only nibbled when I could have swallowed
hook, line, and sinker as we wallowed
in the grass. We stayed friendly but
of course he never made another pass,
and then, well nothing, except that the memory
has suddenly surfaced these thirty years hence.
I’m not the kind to interrupt the chat
of strangers when they’re on a date,
but if by some quirk of fate, I were not
invisible to the eyes of youth and they
were to turn to the old dude and ask
for words of wisdom about love,
and life, and lust and such, I’d say,
if you’re into him, then have a go at it.
Time is ticking and youth won’t last,
so make a move and find your groove–
go ahead and seize the dick.
T. Allen Culpepper