A sometimes lush, sometimes gruff poem, William Reichard’s “Life Among Men” engages male lust head-on.
Life Among Men
Like the Dog Star, the one astronomers say is there
but we cannot see it. Like a sly ghost, existing only
in the corner of the eye. Like that, the truth behind
all men’s eyes, that wariness, that hunger, smirking mouth,
the lips wet with kissing, with devouring.
Stray errata on the Internet. A simple search
with related terms and you might come up
with anything. You might come up with him,
a dozen photos (here they’re pics) of bodies
in motion. Which is his? Which hand?
Which chest? The pattern of hair there
between each nipple a map you must
surely recognize. Stray erotica on the Internet.
Here, everyone’s a headless star or, like
a photographer friend of mine once proved,
every man is a shirtless star, a red ball cap
on his head obscures his down-turned face.
My friend found these men using simple
search terms: sex + ball caps + men,
then spliced them together into an endless
red capped loop, Andy Warhol’s dream
of an infinitely reproducible sex machine.
We must not measure men on the assumption
that all they want is sex. Straight men.
to hear someone praise us with
you’re the biggest and the best.
To be on top (or bottom or vers) is
to be in control. To say to the world,
as you fuck it, I own you!
One must not presume such baseness
of desire, though statistics show
that if you ask any man what he’s thinking
about at any particular moment,
if honest, he’ll say sex.
Hard to appear the model of masculinity
without the proper riding lawn mower,
the proper pickup truck, the proper
scuff and boots and scruff.
A man’s man will show a shadow by 5PM.
Too clean cut and you wonder whether
he has the hormones to perform,
the balls to drive that motorcycle
between his thighs.
The rest of us have our secrets.
The light behind the eyes that says
someone’s home, hoarding knowledge
of the world that would make your head spin.
Really. Too pretty to be alive so
he must be up to something. Too plain
to rate the slightest stare so he can’t
be up to anything. Too run-of-the-mill
so you cannot care what he’s thinking.
The ordinary know the extraordinary
won’t show us the slightest attention,
so we can do as we please among
ourselves, invisible as Dog Stars.
We can get away with anything.
Editor’s Note: William Reichard has published with us before! Check out his poem “First Kiss.”
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Photo by sportinguns /Flickr