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> Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
> And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
> Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?...

> This does not prove the men are homosexuals, but given that they are
> populating the "narrow streets at dusk" (and given the context of the
whole
> poem which we have not yet discussed in these short posts), I think that
is
> the image being implied.

It certainly _is_ a very disturbing passage, even by the standards of that
most disturbing poem. And I think there may a homoerotic undertone to the
poem. But there is one detail in the passage that goes against a homoerotic
reading: the pipes. Freudian critics would probably have a field day on that
image (and we're not even mentioning a possible echo of the ambiguous French
word 'pipe'). I may be plain wrong here, but as far as I know, pipe-smoking
was never part of the gay code. If those lonely men in shirt sleeves had
been smoking cigarettes, it would be easier to find the passage homoerotic.
Does anyone know more about gay fashions in the early 20th century?

Yours,

RaphaŽl Ingelbien
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