Pen to Paper: The Phallic Lament

Don’t call him a penis.

The name is much too formal, too scientific

for the droopy pink satchel that rests on one’s thigh;

a sphinx cat that lazes on the windowsill or sulks

silently in the depths of stale kitchen drawers.


Yes, I think Yiddish words describe him best.

Schmeckle, shtickl, schlong, schmuck—

Yes, schmuck. Because he’s timid, a fool

subject to folly after a few drinks and

action after a sly glimpse of a topless

alabaster statue through a dusty mall window.


Yes, he’s weak, chained down by two triumphant weights,

calling them “balls of steel” exaggerate these bulbous eggs

delicate as Fabergé and dull as wet clay,

protected only by wrinkled silk as soft as the nape of a kitten’s neck.


He’s seen his figure captured on Roman sculptures

and school stall doors, highlighted by hurried Sharpie strokes

perhaps with a snaking charcoal vein, if the artist is so inclined,

for they see his kinetic vigor, his habitual humming,

the greased engine of an old Firebird and the quivering sword of a knight

a pit viper waiting to strike at a bead-eyed hen, its

fangs taut and dripping with acid milk that cascades

through pale flesh in fat pearly spurts.


For all his desperate desires, he has but watery impulses

that fast wane like paper bag brown waves in a storm’s exhale

taking the air from this wilted balloon and letting him rest

like a lame goose on golden eggs.

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