Sunday Scholar

In profile, a tousled dark-blond mop

tops a pale-skinned Germanic face

graced with a prominent but not unattractive nose;

those grey-blue eyes that would in lively conversation blaze

glaze over now, fighting study-induced sleep.

Green cable-knit sweater still on over mustard shirt

from earlier chill, but with shorts that reveal

pale, hairy legs crossed, with feet bare,

up on chair, slide sandals cast aside,

glass held high but sipping only water now,

shutting down his laptop, stretching arms wide and then rising–

at five-ish on a Sunday afternoon,

done with the scholar’s grind,

something more like fun now in mind.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

Comeback Star

A dazzling square of light

dances through my bedroom curtains

for the Saturday premiere

of our favorite celestial star

making its lively stage-left entrance

after a week of dull, wet Mondays,

providing its own hot spot,

upstaging everything on earth

as innumerable flowers raise

their parti-coloured petals in applause.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

Carpe Dickem

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.

 

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper