Zoo Scenes: A Haiku Series


The rhino wallows

in rain-renewed stinking mud

as rhinos will do.



Upside down he sleeps,

hind legs propped against the wall,

black bear belly-up.


The tiger’s a tease,

roaring his presence, pacing

just inside den’s door.


Solo seal stretching

on the platform with back bend

a yogi would envy.



Can’t think what they’re called,

with gazelles’ grace, goats’ hunger,

mowing down the reeds.


Lions reclining

in coats of majestic gold,

monarchs at leisure


Giraffe obliges

his admirers by dining

right beside the fence.


The snow leopard naps

as a lazy housecoat would

up on the wire bridge.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

Modern Prints: A Haiku Series

Race (1)

Horses abstracted

to their motion, thus stretching

jockeys into track.

Tube Train (2)

An elasticised

throat lozenge by mishap sucked

down esophagus.

Stairs (3)

Big rippled dildo

erect and masturbated

by a spiral hand.

Lines (4)


poetic in their motion,

linemen far aloft

among salt-shaker

insulators risk the shock

of High-Modern life.

Service (5)

Waiters learn forward

in a yoga fold over

trays of flat dishes.

Tour des Tournants (6)

Pedaled wheels cycling

around a tight spiral bend

through ribbons of fence.


Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper


Note: The poems are based on Modern Times: British Prints of the 1920s and 1930s, which was on show at the Philbrook Museum of Art.  Each haiku corresponds to a print specific print, as indicated:

(1) Racing by Sybil Andrews

(2) Tube Station by Cyril Power

(3) Tube Staircase by Cyril Power

(4) Fixing the Wires by Lill Tschudi

(5) Waiters by Lill Tschudi

(6) Tour de Suisse by Lill Tschudi

Milano in Haiku

Corso Vittorio, Westward

Arrival by air.

Green Malpensa Airport,

walk for what seems miles.


Malpensa Express:

No stops, but don’t expect speed,

past graffitied walls.


Cardorna subway:

train zips between piazze—

cheap and fast and clean.


Spires of pink marble,

La Madonnina watching,

impressive Duomo.


Climb to rooftop height,

get city panorama,

alpine glimpse when clear.


Kids hang out of steps,

chatting or grooving to tunes,

not missing action.


Stone lion in the square:

everyone wants a photo,

one dude climbs and rides.


Hotel Nuovo,

Piazza Beccaria,

tricky to locate.


The philosopher

Cesare Beccaria

surveys namesake square.


Flags of many hues

greet shoppers on the corso—

stores, bars, gelato.


Fashion-conscious men

with scarves, trousers rolled just so;

women in high heels.


Saffron risotto,

local meat perfectly cooked,



Galleria shows

work in glass and iron and stone,

alta moda shops.


Fancy windows on


displays leather goods.


Sempione Park

offers refuge from traffic,

break from city life.


Church like San Marco—

a different kind of refuge,

one these days less used.


Find buon espresso—

Bars Camparino, Brera,

and Madonnina.


Museums of art:

annunciations, crosses,

suppers, pietas.


Museum shows art,

students outside give promise

it will continue.


Mercatini crowd

entertained by musicians—

noon outdoor concert.


Local lunchers join

hungry sightseeing tourists

on Via Dante.


At Sforza Castle,

it’s school kids on class field trips,

learning history.


It all ends too soon,

the city now part of me,

but can’t take it home.


Copyright 2014

T. Allen Culpepper





Fucking Around

Warning: Sexually explicit. Please don’t read if that bothers you.


Shirts off, hug then kiss:

arms circle torso, hands move

down to ass, tongues touch.


Hands slide into jeans,

seeking signs of interest,

find firm intentions.


Naked on the bed,

cupping balls, licking nipples,

legs up, moving in.


Now he straddles me

and my shaft slides inside him,

our breath synchronized.


Our Kama Sutra

being written as we go,

movements improvised.


He’s first to get off,

spews jizz in the cliched way,

then grants me my turn.


His tongue up my hole,

prodding me to ecstasy;

suddenly I come.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper

Ideas Apart, Emotion Together


Two firm believers

in contradictory faiths

disagree, shake hands.


Two firm believers

in contradictory faiths

argue, share a meal.


Two firm believers

in contradictory faiths

debate, exchange hugs.


Two firm believers

in contradictory faiths

respect each other.


To firm believers

in contradictory faiths:

Love is possible.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper

Scenes from a Walk

Eager dog pulling

human riding his skateboard:

energy release.


Amber light glowing,

glass blocks backlit from indoors:

jewel in brick wall.


Pickup game of hoops,

neighborhood guys joining in

for some twilight sport.



from streetlamps bathes brick facade

of historic school.


On my evening stroll,

friendly grey cat rugs against

my leg, curls tail, purrs.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper


Free Expression

White chair, red wine, blue

mood: patriotic display.

But expression’s free.



Blue chair, white wine, red

mood: anger at injustice.

But we do have courts.


Evil and Good

Red chair, blue wine, white

mood: terrified of evil.

But we must do good.


Note: Blue wine is a stretch, but some of the berry wines are somewhat blue (though not especially good, I grant you).


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper

Summer Saturday in South Alabama


Four 0’clocks at ten:

flowers closed and tightly rolled–

so much potential.



Dead Maple

The maple tree has died,

some kind of blight, they tell me.

No more scarlet leaves.




Ripples on the lake

lapping at white sand, green grass.

Dragonfly rides breeze.



Smells Like Saturday

The smells of pine sap,

lake water and outboard fuel:

summer Saturday.




Magnificent oak:

leafy branches embracing

world; great trunk strong, tall.



Evening at the Lake

Crickets start their song,

blue-grey water turning green,

giant moon rising.



Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper


Warning: Explicit. Don’t read if that bothers you.


From behind, Tristan’s

strong arms envelope Jesse,

X across his chest.


Left arm drops down, Tris

scratches Jesse’s leg, head tilts

over shoulder, bites.


On bed now, they lose

inhibitions, shed clothes, yield

to sexual passion.


Jess takes Tristan’s cock,

fondles, licks at dripping tip,

runs tongue along shaft.


Rolling, shifting, Tris

presses against Jesse hard,

slides in; Jesse rocks.


Thrilling, Jesse cries

out with “voice of a black goose”;

in unison they move.


Together they reach

orgasm, spew white fountains.

Yes, thanks, sex was good.


Note: I am indebted to Jeffrey Hopkins’s book Sex, Orgasm, and the Mind of Clear Light (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1998), from which the quoted line comes, for inspiring this poem.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper