the ursine fur I bear

APRIL 1 – National Poetry Writing Month 2022 (#NaPoWriMo22)

And last but not least, our optional prompt! I got this one from a workshop I did last year with Beatrix Gates, and I’ve found it really helpful. The prompt is based on Robert Hass’s remarkable prose poem, “A Story About the Body.” The idea is to write your own prose poem that, whatever title you choose to give it, is a story about the body. The poem should contain an encounter between two people, some spoken language, and at least one crisp visual image.

how did we go from
hairy bodies with clean faces
to bare skin and bushy beards?

I blame the ancients (because it’s all about the blame, you know).
It seems somehow more “educated” than blaming something as trivial as


Look at those smooth-bodied statues of stone and metal…
Were all male bodies hairless? Of course not!
Look at the curly, flowing beards!
Look at Poseidon!

A head of hair like THAT on a smooth body?
I think not.

THIS gave us our ideal of male beauty:
Rippling muscles and stretched sinews under impossibly glassine skin.

Sculptor: “Perhaps he needs some nice, curly chest hair to go with that magnificent beard?”

Fuck them.

And fuck the hatred I’ve had for the ursine fur I bear and beg not to bare.

But in the end, I find
It’s not the sculptors’ eyes I want
Nor need.
The eyes I want… are his.
And I have them.

He beholds all of me,
and as I bare myself,
the weight I bear

And he holds me – weightless – hair and all.

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