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Postreproduction Man

“John L. Doe”
Homo Erectus Y2M, B.P. [Before the Present] to the Last Priapus Y2K
Faculty Exhibition, Mason Gross Gallery, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Installation and poem
September 2000
What is thy name? My name is Legion: for we are many—Mark 5:9
Too wonderful for me…the way of a man with a maid—Proverbs 30:19

The “L” is for Legion, whad’ ya expect, somethin’ common like Steve or Stan?
Unlike you, I don’t see myself as an 80 year-old cartoon-naked man.
If you coulda seen me--that young sailor on V-J Day, August ‘45.
I was on the cover of Life—the war felt over and I was home alive.
It wasn’t just me kissin’ that dollface nurse in Times Square.
FDR’s fear of fear itself was gone, love or somethin’ was in the air.
Love? Now Jane’s gone…but I don’t need Viagra to get IT up in my head.
But it’s no good—night after night—alone in our bed.

I see these peter pill ads, again and again on TV.
These poor guys seem so young and they have ed.
In my generation this kinda problem wasn’t so visible, it didn’t sound so great.
Maybe after 65 we just wanted IT easy, feeling run down—or second-rate.

I’m okay in the daytime, but then I am not much for bitchin.’
Making love to Jane? Her spirit’s here—we’re in her kitchen.
Life’s vulgar as hell—I’m a lonely old man, don’t you see?
No one cares if I can’t get a hard-on—not even me.
IT would be a waste of time! That’s the way I feel, I guess.
Jane wouldn’t be here to see IT—and say, “Oh my, oh yes.”

She didn’t talk like that, even on our honeymoon night.
I guess she wasn’t liberated or felt it wouldn’t be right.
Birth control pills changed everything, that’s for sure.
With no fear of gettin’ knocked-up, the pleasure was pure.

This three foot hard-on is in my head alone, for better or worse.
Like love as just sex, a blessing can be a curse.
Love in loneliness, IT gets longer and longer in my head—the lonelier I feel.
A hard-on in your head, IT gets painfully real.
Couldn’t have an erection if my life depended on IT, without Jane there’s just grief.
I’d pop a hundred Viagra pills for a four hour erection! My head needs relief.
Now you know I am not really a cartoon bigger-than-life for his age.
We’re not in the funny papers here, you can’t turn the page.

“V-J Day, 1945”
Life magazine cover photograph, Alfred Eisenstaedt