Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Transgressive Acts of Men


My Most Reliable Reader called me the other day. She was enjoying my poem, The Transgressive Acts of Men, but she wanted a little more perspective on how to understand the poem.

I had actually already taken a stab previously at creating context for the poem. That bit went something like this, "...the poem has little to do with multiple transgressions and wrongdoing by men of any description. This may be disappointing to some readers, but then Norman Mailer's 1967 novel, Why Are We in Vietnam?, only mentioned that country once and provoked numerous discussions about whether the book had actually answered the question it raised. So it might be with The Transgressions of Men.

"The transgression in question here is in reality singular and limited to me imagining myself to be an art mother of sorts. Hubris and delusion, yes?"

But the truth is that notwithstanding the absence of a list of transgressive acts by men, the subject is raised, yes? So, there you are, Most Reliable Reader. What you make of this poem might be different than what I make of it, and I think I'm pretty happy about that fact.

But there is more. There's always more.

I do think we should dwell on the fact that in a sexist culture men have all sorts of advantages. We should not gloss over the fact that on the average men die younger than women and often die more violently. But when they do die violently. most men and women die because other men kill them. And after the dead are counted, most men continue to benefit from privileges that accrue to them because they are men.

But there is more. There's always more.

Having done little other than raise a few questions, the poem continues:

"all who we were,
all who we are gone nova.

The end
when it comes,
almost more than we can bear,
more for certain than we can know,

memories on the way,
partners on the road,
dreams on the wing,
exploding outward."

That's because that's who we are in the bosom of our sisterhood, or brotherhood, or whatever. We are partners on the road, dreams on the wing, and, going nova, we will explode outward. And it will be a fine and fitting next step, or last step, or whatever.


The Transgressive Acts of Men

Excluded from the matrilineal ascent,
I intrude.
I am before and beyond
all my mothers,

all my daughters,
mothering the clan;
in my DNA,
the Amazonian last daughter

staring in wonder
at the brink,
holding the hand
of all my sisters,

mindful of our brothers,
among whom I once was counted;
all who we were,
all who we are gone nova.

The end
when it comes,
almost more than we can bear,
more for certain than we can know,

memories on the way,
partners on the road,
dreams on the wing,
exploding outward.

2 comments:

Personal Dale said...

Ah thank you for the attempt at clarification . Rather like Cliff Notes for poetry but personalized . I think the fact that the reader brings their own personna to your story only adds to your poetic perception .

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