423b2e
423b2e

12.11.2012

Men



It's tough being a guy, having to be gruff
and buff, the strong silent type, having to laugh
it off -- pain, loss, sorrow, betrayal -- or leave in a huff
and say No big deal, take a ride, listen to enough
loud rock-n-roll that it scours out your head, if
not your heart.  Or to be called a fag or a poof
when you love something or someone, scuffling
a shoe across the floor, hiding a smile in a muffler
pulled up nose high, an eyebrow raised for the word quaff
used in casual conversation -- wine, air, oil change at the Jiffy
Lube -- gulping it down, a joke no one gets.  It's rough,
yes, the tie around the neck, the starched white cuffs
too long, too short, frayed, frilled, rolled up.  The self
isn't an easy quest for a beast with balls, a cock, proof
of something difficult to define or defend.  Chief or chef,
thief or roofer, serf or sheriff, feet on the earth or aloof.
Son, brother, husband, lover, father, they are different
from us, except when they fall or stand alone on a wharf.


xxx

21 comments:

Inspector Clouseau said...

Quite insightful. It has been said that a woman who has known one man has known them all, and that a man who has known many women, has not really known any of them.

Adullamite said...

Hmmmm written by a woman right enough.

Lin said...

It is tough to be a guy these days. Try raising a son who isn't athletic--it's HELL for them!

I guess all we can do is love them...and they, us. It's the only way to survive.

red dirt girl said...

Hi Inspector!

I would say the latter is true for both sexes - knowing many, I have not really known any. Which is a part of the great mystery of life: loving a person and spending a lifetime learning to 'know' them. I suspect it takes many lifetimes to come to some 'conclusion' about a person .... then, they up and surprise you once again!

I wonder what your father would say about living a life as son, brother, husband, lover, father ...?

xxx

red dirt girl said...

Oh Adullamite, this poem CELEBRATES the male species. Why, Ms. Laux is lauding all that makes you different. What ... was it the reference to frilly cuffs that offended ? I'm certain you've quaffed your share of guiness in the day ...!

xxx

red dirt girl said...

Hi Lin!

Ohh, I do share your pain. My ex is staunchly rigid on the athletic mandate for all of our children. I cringed watching my oldest from the sidelines of the soccer fields attempt to please his father in a sport he had no real love or interest in .... when I 'allowed' our daughter to quit high school basketball, I received a scathing text message on how I was teaching her to be a quitter like me. Now? my youngest eats, drinks, dreams soccer ... according to his father. But I often wonder what is his secret desire ??

xxx

Lee said...

The complexity of the genders!

goatman said...

I have to say that I am kind of offput by this woman's presumption at knowing what it is like being a man. Does she also interpret the responses of dogs? Or trilobites? (I would like to read those renditions.) Seen from the outside looking in how could she feel the feel? She could only deduce, as I could only deduce what it would be like to walk around all evening in those ridiculous stiletto heels.
What happened to "write what you know" -- guidance from any writers workshop?

The feelings and digs are much more subtle than she could ever know.

Adullamite said...

I'm with Goatman!

And it's FOOTBALL, not soccer! Grrrrr!

soubriquet said...

Hey, I was raised some time ago. I'm lowered now.
I wasn't athletic fifty years ago either.
It was no better then.

soubriquet said...

But listen to it, read it out loud, look what she's doing with the words, rhythm, alliteration, homonyms, synonyms, ....yes, we know she's an amateur about understanding me. Truly amateur, the original meaning of amateur was 'a lover of', amateur sportsmen did what they did not for paybut for the love of it. Dorianne Laux may be tilting at trilobites, her aim may be unreliable, but she tries, for the love of us.

I'm not sure what she's getting at, when she implies that we become indistinguishable from women when we fall or stand alone on a wharf.
I've fallen many a time, and I never sprouted boobies mid plummet, as for standing alone on a wharf I could tell you a story or two there, I think the ship was called Polaris, maybe Arcturus. The police and customs raided the docked ship, and as they reached the top of the gangway, two almost naked women, ladies of easy virtue, or at least, ladies of readily purchasable virtue, came out of the stern accommodation, clambered over the rail.... And jumped.
I had no camera. But the image is clear still in my memory. I was stunned. They clambered, and... jumped, into the harbour. and swam, away from me toward a slipway. I have no idea how they were going to get home, bare breasted, soaking wet, no shoes.
So. I was standing, Dorianne, alone, on a wharf.
And I promise you, I was just as different from you then, as I am now.

red dirt girl said...

Viva la difference, Lee!

xxx

red dirt girl said...

Hmmm .... goatman. Usually you are a bit more open to interpretation. I mean, really, she is interpreting a species she's long been observing. Maybe it is to write best what we know, but aren't we also asked to walk a mile in another's shoes? Perhaps Dorianne kicked it in a pair of steel-toed work boots and this is the result of her experience .... I don't believe she's presumed anything other than her knowledge that she's damn good poet.

As for the far subtler digs, why don't you write the companion piece from 'one who's been there.'

And go easy on the turkey this holiday season ... ;-)

xxx

red dirt girl said...

Adullamite .... sigh. You say TOE-MAH-TOE when we all know it's TOE-MAY-TOE .... (giggling)

Seriously - same challenge as goatman. Write the companion piece from the real deal: a man's perspective on what it is like to be male in this modern world.

I double dog dare you.

xxx

red dirt girl said...

Soubriquet with boobies .... How INTERESTING that would be .... ohhh, there are so many inappropriate remarks I could make here, I'm biting my typing fingers to stop.

At least a man who appreciates the words and the power that lies within them. You know I truly love love love Dorianne's final line in this poem. It is EXACTLY the sort of remark I'd love to make to a man before I walk away:

You know we are exactly the same, you and I, when we fall ... or stand alone on a wharf.

A man would remember a woman who said things like that to him.

xxx

Adullamite said...

Being a man today is the same as it has always been, allowing for 'cultural' differences. People have not changed since the year dot.

Today however we specialise in pretending there is no difference. This leads to much confusion amongst the easily led.

bulletholes said...

Its easy being a man. Just talk slow, look stupid, and play dumb.

red dirt girl said...

Okay Adullamite. I'll give you that not much has changed. However, you still haven't enlightened me and my readers as to what it is to be a man?? Details! I need details!!

xxx

red dirt girl said...

Hey cowboy!

I thought that was what blondes were supposed to do ....???!!

xxx

bulletholes said...

As I've gotten older, I find the best times I have, the times I feel most like myself, is when I stop trying to act like a what man is supposed to be, and act a little more like a nice soft sensitive caring woman.
i have a lavender shirt, and when I put it on I got to tell you I just want to love everybody. When I'm wearing plaid, well, not so much.
Is that weird?

red dirt girl said...

No cowboy, it's not weird - it's HILARIOUS!! I'd love to see you in lavender. In fact I think you could teach Soub a few new tricks in the manly dressing department. So far his color palette runs from khaki to khaki green to olive drab. I made him break out of his spectrum once and buy a maroon shirt. I suspect he's conveniently lost it ...!

Plaid?? Oh we can't even begin to go there with Soub. It's ok. He's color challenged, but I love him anyway. Send some pics of you rocking that lavender shirt.

You're really just a big ole softie underneath all that spice :)

xxx