The Deformity Lover
By Felice Picano
The first one he loved—an accident
was a deaf mute
golden lean as a West Coast
Surprised by his luck
all he could think of was sex.
when they spoke on sheets
writing messages in vaseline.
They met after that
once a week for some time.
The sex got hotter
their bodies fit better.
Then his speech began to slip.
Words seemed inexact
compared to reading lips,
or making a point
with a fingertip
or a kiss.
Then the deaf mute went away.
The next one was a blind boy
at a college gym dance.
A curly head of hair
the body of a stevedore,
an Adriatic address,
convinced him this would be special.
He wasn't disappointed.
This time they talked
never looking at each other
in the bedroom's blinded night:
letting touches rediscover
soft steppes of ribs,
meadows of flesh,
seas of infinite skin.
They got together often—
geographers of the tactile.
Each visit left him thinking
so misused when there—
when missing, are seldom missed.
Then the blind boy found a lover.
Since then he's gotten bolder
for what others pass over.
An afternoon with a veteran
who happened to have left an arm
in a rice-paddy in Viet Nam
disproves that two hands
are better than one.
A night with someone older
when he's ready to come
aren't orgasm, but pre-Grand Mal
becomes a game of sex
No ads in the papers for amputees.
No loitering near the handicapped
hoping a hunchback wants to connect.
not the grotesque he seeks.
But the only perfection he can see
is that most apparently,
This isn't a case from Kraft-Ebbing.
he'd say he's a normal guy.
For him a chiselled profile is fine,
but handsomer with a speech defect.
A well-defined chest will evoke
but heavily scarred or mispigmented
its athletic cut is more gratifying.
Deformity is a grace, he'll say.
Like courage, it's clean
and always naive
open and free, no hiding—
the truest state of man perhaps.
Want to see him use this philosophy?
You can find him almost every night
in any one of a half dozen bars.
He's a hospital ward
for the maimed young gods:
a port for anyone's surgical storm:
looking to fuck
the human condition.
comments about this poem at the truetales blog.
Continue to the author's
Historical Note on "The
"The Deformity Lover" is reprinted with permission of the author
from The Deformity Lover and Other Poems (Sea Horse Press, 1978).
The book is out of print but is available through Amazon.com,
& Noble, and other sources for used books.
This page is part of the disabilities
issue of True Tales, which includes articles, stories, photography,
and links related to leather and disabilities.
About the Author