An address to his penis

(A homoerotic pose, with companion poetry set in the world of gay desire. Nothing explicit, but, yeah …)

A Daily Jocks ad for its new Signature line of underwear captures a handsome young man in his white high-rise Signature briefs focused intently on the solidly packed pouch of those briefs and apostrophizing the magnificent penis within:

Out of his bath and into the world of men’s desire

my sword and lure

O Penis! my Penis! rise up and hear men’s need;
Rise up — for you the rainbow flag is flung — for you the boys do plead,
For you, pansies and lavender’d wreaths — for you, the sailors whistling,
For you they call, the cruising hunks, their eager faces flushing

Well, yes, it’s the beginning of the second stanza of Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!”, transformed into something utterly other. I’m pretty pleased with the lines as a piece of occasional poetry, but it counts as a burlesque, since it so thoroughly abandons the content of Whitman’s original, which is a keening outpouring of grief on the death of Abraham Lincoln.

Just before the passage transformed above comes:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

And then the original of what I wrote:

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up — for you the flag is flung — for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths — for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning

But the Captain will not arise, because he’s fallen cold and dead.

My lines aren’t bad as a paean to a tumescent penis, I think. I chose the Whitman because it was a passionate apostrophe, and I like the straightforward rhythms in it (unusual for him) and its declamatory style. But in the context of Lincoln the Captain lying dead in his blood on the deck of the ship of state, it’s a trivialization.

(Some day I might tackle “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”, but that’s probably way beyond me.)

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