Portrait of a Summer Scholar

He’s yawning forward

over crossed arms and a book

at a high table,

legs and sandaled feet dangling,

breakfast dishes pushed aside,

a good-looking youth,

dark-haired and bearded,

brown eyes deeply set

in bright, clear-skinned face,

at mid-morning on a Tuesday

at the end of June;

it’s hard to be a scholar

on a summer day.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

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

A Scholar

His smooth face,

golden in a beam

of late-afternoon sun,

he sits at a corner table,

one of the high ones

by the windows,

poring over his notes,

left hand cupping chin,

right toying with

a pencil stub,

his countenance

thoughtful but

not yet lined

by worries,

his smile bright

when he looks

up at his friend,

sharing a laugh,

swinging his legs,

long and strong

in shorts and trainers,

as the sun slips

behind the skyline

as falls toward

the horizon.


Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

Morning Haze

Dark hair wind-blown;

pale skin, clean-shaven.

In inky jeans

and grey peacoat

a bit too heavy

for the weather.

At the counter,

ordering coffee.

When he turns,

Roman nose

in profile.

He looks at odds

with the morning:

dazed brown eyes,

mouth without

discernible expression.

Student probably,

who just woke up

and ventured out,

unsure of the day

and its agenda,

his plan, himself.

But to his credit,

at least he orders

like an adult–

an actual coffee,

not sugary milk.


Copyright 2014

T. Allen Culpepper

Portrait of the Young American as a Student

Working with a group in his English class,

he represents the American male ideal,

blond but not too blond, handsome

but not like a Hollywood star,

in red-plaid shirt, faded jeans,

red classic canvas sneakers.

shows white teeth when he smiles,

furrows brow when he laughs.

An open face, an open manner,

a touch of bravado that masks

a lurking anonymous fear.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper


Handsome blond dude, probably a student,

at the cafe sipping coffee

while he works at his computer.

If I’m not mistaken, he comes here often.


Dressed plainly in shorts, tee, deck shoes,

but perfect eyes, cornflower blue,

under furrowed brow of concentration.

To gaze into them? Pure elation.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper