Government Health Warning by Stephen Nelson

I am not a silent poet

The porn wars are over and the whales are on the shore

ready to take the fallout – the guilt, the shame, the trespass

offering made in curtained bedrooms while your wife

cooks supper and prepares her morning address to the nation.


I loved a woman who taught me porn was wrong. I loved

her and met her at the station when summer was a girl

in a dress under a tree fighting off the sweaty palms

of a children’s entertainer in a red velvet jumpsuit.


You are my darling and you dream of whales

and relocate to paradise and the blue, blue coast

under volcanoes of fascists and simmering orange landscapes

where gender is violently ill yet irredeemably lecherous.


I’m your poisoned vanilla thumb, babe. Please suck me dry,

but remember I won’t get hard until I’m enlightened.

Masculinity is debased and prurient; old empires


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