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Poem - Slip II - I'm Naked Now

I'm naked now,
The walls recede,
I hear my body speak as other noises fade,
Eyes, ears, nose protected - will clay invade in spite?
I am in my head with unease,
I sense the ground;
It's hard, uneven; sharp, a threat.
Head and feet seem all I am.

I'm walking now,
The cold advances,
Where do I go? How to proceed?
I determine,
I count four steps, four more I pause.
Head for the fire for warmth and time,
A teasing voice, "Make way, nude man, make way",
The fire is mocking too,
I'm colder, eager, set.

I'm certain now,
All eyes are looking,
They see the way, my path is clear.
The rhythm sure,
Four steps. I stop. My way is blocked.
A young man's face is close to mine,
"I could kiss him," he taunts then stands aside,
Both dignities prevail.
Chaos without and calm within.

I'm standing now,
In runny clay,
The slip made way for feet, now folding back,
Like flesh on flesh.
It chills then warms, comforts,
A trick to topple me? Head up to wait for poise.
Knees bend, arms prop, I move down into clinging liquid,
Breath-stealing cold,
The risk remains, it's put aside.

I'm floating now,
Across the pool,
It won't engulf, though buoyancy may wreck my scheme,
The earth is kind it pushes up.
A change of plan, I writhe and rock,
I struggle in and squirm to coat in cream.
My cock pulled up by tightening balls,
White-coated, shining, bright with light,
Sensuous, slick: a playful rite.

I'm anxious now,
It's time to plunge,
I rock to left, to right, back-dip my crown in earth.
Eyes tight, mouth pursed,
Against the gritty slurry.
Mouth under now, my nose the island skin,
It flows across me kindly, as clay takes hold.
I'm still, then head back to submerge the last,
All under, next one move up and out.

I'm sitting now.
Sightless, seclusive, the cold returns,
The grit seeps in between my lips, they part to
   exchange air.
The shift to upright feels unfairly hard,
An urge to open eyes
I wipe with dread; it must be done,
The world returns, it's fine,
Fixed floating faces peer through my mist,
Standing slimy skin on glossy planes.

I'm shaking now,
Atop the plinth,
They clap hands with relief, a crucial moment passed.
Was it 'beautiful' or 'pitiful' he said?
I feel the latter, can't see to tell, don't mind.
Endurance, shivers; thigh, belly tremble in concert,
I curve my back unwittingly as shudders travel through,
My arms extend my body speaks,
We can't persist for long.

I'm going now,
Retrace my steps,
Processing here I mark with feet and dripping.
Clay-man stooped, I ache with need,
Escape imperative, to push my way out fast.
It's dark, I'm shiny white; they cannot see my want,
I'm trapped. Unstable, urgent. I cannot stand the cold,
My mind is weak. I have to hide,
It's done. I'm gone.

Philip Lee
August 2005


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