Under the hot shower, as I shave my groin, my balls and cock,
to get ready for a good time with men who like men smooth,
I remember what the book of the body says about haircuts
as a means of control in the police and other armed forces.
My head knows this: it was shaved at eighteen for national service,
the body clapped into uniform and marched lock-step
with other stiff uniforms, pillories of shaved heads and limbs.
So are the hands shaving my pubes mine or a policeman's?
The book of the body discusses beauty under three headings:
Self-Help, a manicurist's voice from a gym trainer's body, says,
the hand is yours, and from the counter offers a discount on hope.
Your oppressor's, rallies Politics. Remember the women
who bound and crushed other women's feet. Remember Anorexia.
Aesthetics, examining through a monocle
Greek statues of women and their hairless fork,
an ideal learned from the Egyptians who in turn got it from the sun,
turns his back to my question.
The book of the body has many schools of thought on beauty.
Tonight I'll listen to my naked cock,
unable to be all things to all men, but aching to speak
for flying over the featureless plain with the featherless flock.
Plan for this poem-in-progress.