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James Valvis

The Death of His Penis

It did not seem right, he said,
(he was far gone at this point),
that his penis should die along
with the rest of him, not his penis,
which was hardly even used,
practically new-in-box, he said,
his liver, his kidneys, yeah,
and his heart, that thing
had seen better days, and
even his brain had some wear
after all those nights sitting
in his empty bed reading
Dostoevsky, one licked finger
flicking page, all that stuff,
sure, they had it coming:
the eyes, the nose, the ears,
all used every day, all had
their share of fun, all
made love to every woman
they ever saw or smelled or heard,
he said, but his penis
hadn't seen a ray of daylight
outside his bathroom until 16
and then not for years on end
after, and maybe he'd been
a little fussy, maybe he waited
too long for Ms. Right, but that
was the brain or the heart talking,
conspiring, while the penis stood
innocently ready to live, he said,
to live and not be dead;
it was a shame, he told me,
he should put it up on eBay, maybe,
or give it to a friend, let you have it,
for instance, Lord knows
you could use the extra inches, he said,
then died before I could start crying,
before I could even stop laughing.


Dear Sir,

We have processed and considered certain requests you made in your mind on the way home from Burger King. What follows is our report.

1. Per your request for a life: denied.

A life is an intangible, and often is only what you make of it. You have made little of yours. Repeatedly, we have sent chances, which you have answered with indifference and, sometimes, hostility, believing you know a better way. We here do not believe in waste. While it is true we have given lives to some of the worst scum, we do not believe you qualify. Hard work is not the answer. Neither is honesty. We simply cannot give any more chances to a person who squanders them on the luxuries of poetry and truth.

Remember, your life is your own punishment, or reward.

2. Per your request for more love, better love: denied.

Each time we have sent you a woman, and each time she has returned. There are reasons. We have recently taken a poll, and the results were not surprising. Women want a man with money, and, barring that, someone younger, and next in line is a man who does the dishes.

We judge that you are unworthy at this time for any further expenditures.

3. Per your request for a kinder world: denied.

This is one of the most hit upon requests, but we have noticed that few actually want it. What they want is to want to want it, while continuing to get the better of the other guy.

The other guy is often you. Sorry.

4. Per your request for quiet: denied.

Conflicts with the interests of others.

5. Per your request for a child: denied.

While we won't say you must have money first, for most don't, and while we will not say you wouldn't love the child, for we believe you would, we are denying this request simply because we believe you're bad luck.

In the last five years, your sperm has been miscarried three times. You have weak and unlucky sperm. You yourself should not have been born. You see what happens when we make a mistake?

We must be careful in this sensitive matter.

6. Per your request for more poems: accepted.

This is the one thing we can't deny you no matter how much we try. Probably because a poem is most amenable to being born in the aftermath of failure. Thus, your talent.

7. Per your request for death: on hold.


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