Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 6 No. 1 | Spring 1984 (Seattle) /// Issue 7 of 24 /// Master# 55 of 73

do-it-yourself framing custom framing gallery 1822 BROADWAY 322-4455 FRAME-IT ON BROADWAY open seven days a week McMANUS SHOE REPAIR TELEPHONE QUALITY OUR SPECIALTY 37 yeaM in TwAineiA- cd dome, laccdian.7' Have your shoes repaired with confidence. 3404 N.E. 55TH ST. MARGARET McMANUS SEATTLE,WASH. 98105 Parents have to sign a permission slip for their children to attend and class is held in the evening. Boys go on one night, girls on another'. On the boys’ night, everyone files into the cafeteria for the lecture. The cafeteria smells of milk and disinfectant. The man who lectures uses the empty salad bar as a lectern. He peers over the cash register. It’s a little like a doctor’s examining room, all those empty stainless steel trays usually filled with vegetables and cheese, sunflower seeds and dressings. Only now they’re empty. The teacher puts his notes and visual aids down. He’s got transparent models of different parts of the body — the head, the heart, the midsection, the genitalia. When he sets it down, the head rolls into the lettuce tray. The heart rests where tomorrow there will be ranch dressing. The midsection stands facing the students. It is very quiet in the room as the teacher picks up the transparent genitalia, a disembodied penis and testicles supported by a steel rod and mounted on a wooden base. There is a nylon string in the rod and a hinge on the penis. When the teacher pulls the string down, the penis lifts up on the hinge. The teacher begins to explain an erection. Like a tic, he pulls on the string so the penis goes up and down as he talks. That swinging penis looks like a railroad warning gate gone crazy. The teacher mentions sebaceous glands that secrete a substance of very peculiar odor. The students hear about the integument, the erectile tissue, the corpora cavernosa and the arteries, branches and capillary network. It’s not very sexy. Matter of fact, it’s unpleasant. Some students say the teacher is a sicko, the plastic penis going up and down. Before discussing the testes, the teacher explains surgical anatomy of the region. He says the penis occasionally requires removal for malignant disease. If this becomes necessary, the operation can be performed by cutting off the whole of the anterior part with one sweep of the knife. The teacher makes the sweeping gesture with his left hand and in the next moment stands holding the severed penis like a cucumber in his right. In the room there is an audible gasp. The teacher laughs and reassembles his model. It’s a joke. He’s a jerk, some students think. The rest of the evening is uneventful. Riding home on his bicycle, it occurs to one student that though he’s never thought of it before, his penis is in the way. And the narrow seat slices into his There is a nylon string in the rod and a hinge on the penis. When the teacher pulls the string down, the penis lifts up on the hinge. testicles like a dull knife. As the days go by it proves impossible to shake this feeling. Next week he rides to his second sex education class. This time he hears about the mons veneris, the labia majora and minora, the clitoris, the meatus urinarius and the orifice of the vagina. The teacher again shows transparent models but plays no tricks. Riding home the student notices the beam his bike light throws onto the road. There preceding him lies a pattern of light and dark that looks like a vagina, the light’s hesitant rings around a narrow vertical opening. The student switches off the light and rides the dark familiar street home. Concerned not to fall in a pothole or hit a curb, he forgets the week-long discomfort in his crotch. • David Romtvedt is a Port Townsend poet and writer. “Sex Education” will appear in Free and Compulsory for All, to be published this May by Graywolf Press. The book is this year’s Publication Project Award Winner in Fiction from the King County Arts Commission. Steve Winkenwerder is a Portland artist. 22 Clinton St. Quarterly