". . .Lie down with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty. . . but Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife he spilled his semen on the ground. . . What he did was wicked in the Lord's sight so He put him to death also."

Brendan said jerking off was a sin.
He moaned that he was so horny,
stiff as a steel girder,
and he dreaded the end of the period
when he'd have to stand up.
He asked me if I ever dared rub myself,
or did I simply wake up wet and sticky.
Pimples bloomed on our faces,
and our voices sometimes still waxed soprano.
The girls nearby us were as untouchable
as Mrs. Alden was in front of us,
teaching about all the angles, right, acute, and obtuse.
Mrs. Alden mumbled something about Pythagoras and triangles,
but the female forms around us were softening into curves.
I knew the ancient tale and false taboo.
Onan's life was forfeited for disobedience,
for refraining, for aborting his seed,
not for rubbing God the wrong way.
I told Brendan this, and to use his hand;
raise it to ask for the pass.
"And when you get there
just pretend your bladder is full, and pull."
But Brendan didn't smile.
He said I wasn't a priest. I made fun of God.
"Sin was sin, and who was Onan anyway?"
The room was stuffy, hot, and reeked of human sweat.
The air was stale. The sun did shine through slightly open windows,
but only to light our acned faces.
And the other half that shared our space,
they could get up at the bell no matter how horny,
if they ever got horny at all, if they ever even knew they were.
Mrs. Alden in a bulging blouse and tight skirt
then droned on about our next lesson, circles.
She traced them on the board with her pointer,
the rubber tip going round and round.

Richard Fein

If you've any comments on his poem, Richard Fein would be pleased to hear from you.