Matthew Lippman considers the needs, desires, and experiences of a broad range of men in this searching poem.
(for Michael Morse)
Sometimes a man walks across the street in broken boots.
Sometimes he falls off the curb and there are other men to pick him up.
Sometimes a man sits on a rock at the end of the world
and takes off all his clothes.
He has no choice.
The sunset is too purple,
the moose are too wild.
There are instances when some men take out their kidney
and give it a neighbor, a wife.
The blood is unimaginable,
the operating floor is unimaginable.
To men like me, there are some instances
when a mandolin can save the world.
When a walk through a snowy wood
can heal the pain of another man
These are not things to speak of most days.
Most days, wild hair loss happens
and missiles are fired.
We all know the story.
It’s a man’s story.
There are men who place their hands on elevator buttons
to hold up older men.
There are men who collect orange flowers and put them in their hair
in hopes that other men take their collection of guns
and put them in their hair.
Sometimes a man walks the earth to his beloved
even if he is right across the room.
Sometimes men wear blue shirts
because there are men who don’t own a car or a horse
and need to get to the job.
In a world full of men
it is not a man’s world.
It might be a cheetah’s world or even an owl’s world.
Sometimes men need to think more about being men
in a world that is not theirs.
What would it be like to kiss a man in that kind of world?
A woman, at the beach,
holding her little girl?
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