Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Men With No Shirts

by Peter Franklin

Shed your decency,
I guess,
Once that tan comes on…
Baking and basking season has sprung
And you feel the need to bare all…
No matter your weight
Your girth
Or any manner of matted
And glistening-with-SPF-30-sunscreen-hair
Affixed to your arms
(fore and aft)
you are now on parade.
I get confused now…
In order to convict a defendant of indecent exposure,
It must be proved beyond that mysterious
Reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally exposed her breasts to one or more
Persons and that
One or more persons were offended by the exposure.
HER breasts?
Nothing about HIS breasts…sagging, unrestrained, offensive…
Visible for all to see, even my tender-aged children.
I don’t want to look…
Tell myself over and over not to look…
Never is nice to stare,
To gawk,
To laser-eye-lock into that which is grotesque and different…
But unlike Odysseus
I am not tied to the mast,
I succumb.
Drawn in, gasping.
Offended but unable to wrest my gaze from the
On foot…
On bikes…
On and on and on they come at me…a parade of naked
Unaware of their hirsute offensiveness.
Revulsion etched deeply into my
Is there no line to be drawn?
Past this point there is no return…
The earth is flat…
Off the edge.
Past this point even Oedipus would have
His sight.
Be damned, eyes…
For thou have tricked me again.
The pastoral beauty I have come to love has been clear-cut
To tangled desolation.
For inclement weather.

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