“Poem with a Penis” by Matt Dhillon

Matt Dhillon


Because a penis is just like a gun,
the cowboy walks onscreen with a heavy iron.
Because a penis is just like a gun,
boys are born with fingers on triggers,
and the so many deer ripple in knee-high grass
as if shaken out of a dream 2,4,5.
Because a penis is just like a gun,
the boy knows desire is a kind of violence,
leaving him laterally through a barrel.
There will be holes in the steel
of road signs and chipped from trees;
you could walk back and forth in the
emptiness he makes of love.
Because a gun is just like a penis
you know a man invented violence,
his body a weapon, powder
and a flower of fire on his lips.
Because a gun is the shape of a penis,
power is the shape of a gun, and killing
is the shape of power, and his body
is a fight waiting to happen, and it was
through scab and bruise and fractured
bone that he passed into manhood.
Because a penis is just like a gun,
he holds one, its smooth chrome a call,
Here is a hurt made just for you. You
will know yourself by the wound.

from Poets Respond
May 16, 2023


Matt Dhillon: “There’s been a scary number of shootings in the news recently. It made me think about how often strength is equated to a capacity for violence, especially among men.”

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