Resignation

This is our life, our own special hell.

Try as we might, we’re still doomed to failure,

with no goods to bargain, no souls to sell.

 

It’s all vanity; trouble’s stickier than blood.

Forget your ambitions; you might as well sail your

little paper boats in puddles of mud.

 

I’m not pessimistic, just being real;

our wills are constrained like pent-up jailbirds,

so it’s easier to deal if you forget how to feel.

 

Armour up like a knight, but stay in the castle.

It’s dangerous out there on quests for the grail; turn

back now to safety, it’s not worth the hassle.

 

Limit to the back yard your adventurous forays,

because heroes are heroes only in stories.

 

Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper

Never or Now?

Cutting his eyes over his shoulder,

he checks whose gaze burns him from behind,

lusting after his youthful beauty, which smolders

as he raises eyebrow in an inviting sign.

Muscles ripple along his lean, smooth back,

neck arching gracefully as his head turns

and both imagine adventures in the sack,

the hot sex for which they  hotly yearn.

But will lips touch and hands fondle flesh,

each the other invite to come inside

as their bodies and souls intermesh,

or will they miss the moment, let it slide?

The moment lost, their chances to regain it diminish,

but if they seize it, they could take it to the finish.

 

Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper

Wordsworth Is Too Much with Us

For my British-literature students, currently reading the Romantics

 

Wordsworth is too much with us late and soon;

reading and reading, we waste our hours,

missing out on nature with its flowers.

To his odes, we’ve sacrificed our youth.

All these words that, stacked, would reach the moon,

the pages we’ll be turning at all hours;

assaulting us with iambs while we cower,

into bed he makes us want to swoon.

He excites us–not! I’d rather, dude,

be one of those Philistines that I dis,

so might I quit reading his endless Prelude

and sink into my comfy bed so soothing,

or drink some beers while I watch Netflix.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

 

Mister Right Now

After Shakespeare and Mullen

 

My Grindr hookup’s eyes are kind of dark,

but mostly red from smoking too much weed.

If manscaped chests are smooth, he’s a grassy park;

if appearance reveals class, then he is seedy.

 

I’ve seen a whole shitload of rainbow merch,

but he’s all in black, a too-old goth.

I know that he would leave me in the lurch

if he got a text from someone hotter.

 

If colognes were oceans, I could swim in his;

he could’ve skipped the spritz and taken a shower.

But he’s here and his dick is pretty big,

so, what the hell; we’ll be done in half an hour.

 

He’s about as godlike as a spade,

but I’m fucking desperate to get laid.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

Wake

Drowsy from reading, I stretch out on the bed,

near, but not touching, the cat, who likes her space,

and various pasts and futures fill my head

with thoughts, some welcome, others hard to face.

 

The window, left partially open, admits the wind,

and riding it in, the melodies of birds–

song that trills above the dishwasher’s din;

the thoughts stir feelings too  difficult for words.

 

The approach of spring always creates

unstable emotions that swirl around and collide:

the wish for freedom bound up with the need to mate;

new dreams mixed in with fear that something’s died.

 

My love craves exposure, but I’m wary,

even though you’re just imaginary..

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

Stations: A Sonnet for Holy Week

Though the state would pardon, the religious insist on his death

by crucifixion, and thus he takes up the tree,

the weight of which brings him to his knees;

helped to his feet, he meets his mother bereft

of her son, the holy sacrifice;

Simon takes the cross; Christ’s eyes are wiped.

Stumbling, he reaches out to Jerusalem’s women.

A final fall; soldiers strip his woven

cloak. The comes the bloody nailing,

the painful death of the saving scapegoat.

Placed first in the arms of Mother Mary wailing,

then wrapped in pure white linen graveclothes

and laid in the tomb where he is to rest and wait,

watched by angels until his rising day.

 

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

The Spirit of Love: A Blank-Verse Sonnet

Two male lovers intertwined in a Celtic know

of fuckery: a mythical amalgam of two heads,

two backs, four arms, four legs, four dangling balls,

and two erect penis, one inside

the other man from behind, pumping away,

filling his yearning void with love’s expanse,

building toward the gradual but still sudden

convulsed transfusion of spirt pure and white

in this all-consuming consummation,

the physical enactment of urges probably resulting

from a chemical imbalance in their brains

that has soften hearts and hardened cocks.

And what will happen after the spirit’s spent?

They’ll say, “Our love came quickly; then it went.”

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper