(The bulk of this posting — below the fold — is a long piece jam-packed with descriptions of the male body and gay sexual practices in very frank vernacular English, so it’s definitely not for kids or the sexually modest. No X-rated images, though, and some observations about language. The piece is also about affiliation between gay men, deep friendships and love, so that, amidst all that coarse sexual stuff there’s considerable sweetness. And humor.)
When I posted this image a couple of days ago, I promised that I would supply a caption for it, and now I will.
The caption is very long; it tells a complex story. Like virtually all my captions, it’s free verse: writing intentionally divided into lines, but unmetered and with no other systematic formal regulation (rhyme, alliteration, assonance, whatever). In fact, it’s free verse with long lines, a style of writing that many commenters find hard to classify: is a piece of long-line free verse a prose poem (a poem, but with prose features)? Or is it lyrical prose (a piece of prose, an essay or fiction, but with poetic elements)?
There’s no good general answer to this question, and I’m inclined to say that while there are prose poems and pieces of lyrical prose, sometimes it’s a mistake to insist that a bit of writing with mixed features must always be classified as one or the other. Long-line free verse, I would say, is usually both.
On to the story, um, poem.