The Crew with packages and boxes

(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.

The Crew with packages and boxes

Gathered to exchange jokey Xmas gifts, the tackier the better, the Crew
Check each other out – no surprises here, everybody has had sex with
Everybody else, many times, but they still like to revisit favorite scenes.

Old buddies (queer bros, they say), they have been
Tricks, fuck buddies, lovers, sometimes moving
From one to another – they know more about
Each other than any of them knows about any other man,
Quirks and foibles and tastes:

Brian (Gay 4) can’t abide the texture of raw celery sticks,
Pale Billy (Gay 3) – everybody else is tanned — is
Terrified of heights and deeply unsure of his attractiveness to
Other men, so he ingratiates himself by peddling his rear-end
Treasure, Pucker Rose (Rose is such a slut!), Toby (Gay 2) is
Strictly a boxboy, not because he has the
Smallest cock in the Crew, though he does, but
Because that’s what he likes and always has,
Brian’s a tough total top (he says that’s the
Prerogative of a tall man wth a truly big dick),
Two of them love piss, one likes to lick
Dirty assholes, one likes being strapped to a
Cross and whipped, one likes to verbally
Abuse faggots – and everybody knows all of this and does
What he can to honor his buddies’ desires, that way you can
Develop a taste for weird new things, it’s like food.

All has not been beer and skittles (actually, for them it’s
An oaky Chardonnay and Scrabble, so fuckin’ gay) – there has been
Pissy petulance, name-calling (“stupid tight-ass queen”), once,
Spitting in the face not for mutual pleasure (if it’s
Fun, that doesn’t count), but nothing that couldn’t easily be
Patched up – and apology sex is fantastic.

Toby, everyone agrees, is first among equals, and not because he
Enthusiastically puts out for anybody who wants him, though he
Does, but because he’s the sweetest and the
Wisest of the pack, — if the Crew has a
Captain, that would be Toby — the guys thought of giving him a
Gangbang for Xmas, but then nobody could figure out
How that would be different from what they give him
Every day – how nice to have a buddy who will
Shudderingly drive his hole on your cock and, when the cum is done
Spurting, hold you in his sweaty arms, kiss you, and give you
Really good and sympathetic advice – Plan B is for
Tom (Gay 1), who’s crazy in love with Toby (he can’t keep his
Hands off Toby’s box, which makes Toby crazy happy) to
Propose marrying him, so the Crew can do a
Blowout gay wedding, clothing optional, no holds barred —
For the couple, matching wedding rings in gorgeous
Pink morganite from Ross-Simons (the actual ad copy:
“Soft and feminine, this eternity band glows with warm
Pink tones … 1.9 carat morganite encircles a beautiful 14kt
Rose gold over sterling silver ring”) — insert photo here:
The rings work fine as cock rings, and anyway the boys love to
Play the shit out of the old Gay Is Feminine thing.
Encircle me, dude.

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