It’s hard not to imagine the penis as a little soldier on a mission, with a message it must deliver. What good is it if it doesn’t get through the gates, if it stops riding, slips from the saddle and will do no more than rest in a sunny place, recline on a couch, a king weary of ruling, a hero tired of proving his mettle over and over? You’re out of a job, laid off, laid up, small sergeant at arms. What are we to do with you now that you’ve given up your old commission? Witnessing any disaster it’s comforting to believe a man is his own undoing. The metal pierces the skull. The gases escape the cooling towers. And the atoms will riot at ground zero. It’ll be their revelry not ours. Their party only. Impotent? Of course. That’s what frightens a man. You’d like to imagine all you have to do is give the right orders — for example: hands, march here; penis, fire now — and if you perform as your father did, in bed, at work, in the service of your country, then you can’t help but earn your place here. The penis lolls in your wife’s fingers or along your own belly. It draws back into the folds of its greatcoat. Is it fretting in the mirror, is it wondering what’s happening? See. Even now it’s rising — slightly. Let it take its time. Give it time.