When I was a boy, men smelled like men,
Which is to say they smelled like products
Of artificially made perfumes.
They put products on their faces, they
Put products in their hair; their razors
Scraped along their snowy cheeks, nethers
Were scraped in discrete shapes by spouses
Known as housewives who birthed wet children
In clean rooms under brightly lit tubes.
When I was a boy, we drew faces
On our notebooks. The basic idea
Was to start with something like Kilroy,
Then add increasing amounts of hair
Until you ended up with something
Like Charlie Manson or John Lennon,
Spectacled, sauntering Abbey Road.
The idea of young boys is to slowly
Transform into what their fathers hate,
But no generation quite succeeds.
My father spent his last years bearded.
My beard looks suspiciously like his.