by Mark Walling

    Men don't talk about sex
    with other men.
    They crow, allude, prattle, joke, banter.
    But this isn't talk.
    Their questions rise
    when they watch porn,
    but the sex is an act
    by women for men who stand stupid
    and receive.

    So men ask the women they love,
    as they lie body to body
    in bed, about other men.
    They feel no shame unless
    they see doubt in her face.
    They ask of size and style,
    feeling blindly for the norm,
    the public standard,
    that seems to exist
    for everything in life
    but this. Is there a mean
    for beauty? Yet men know, deep down,
    if they are handsome or ugly,
    rich or poor, short or tall,
    bright or dim.
    They want to prevail,
    not endure, so they ask:
    Did he go fast or slow, rough or easy?
    Did he bite, push, squeeze, lick, strut, tease?
    Was he good?
    Her answers warm their curious hearts,
    for a moment, as they compare
    themselves with him.

    But they can't see him without seeing her.
    Their hearts tighten, minds swirl
    in slow rage around the dance
    of that man and their woman.
    They want to beat them both.
    They roll over and lie flat,
    fury and pity leaking
    from their ears.
    Every man from her past surrounds
    the bed, taunting the man
    who had to ask,
    a street gang mocking a preacher's son.
    Her back tenses; she hates
    his cowardice in this place
    where she, too, has fears.
    She believes it was a set up
    to get her to confess.
    But it was no trick.
    Men don't know how to get closer
    to themselves without women.

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