journalism in verse

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You Must Know Man

in Culture/Gender Violence by

you must know man                 to know harassment
as God knew him                 perhaps

before the fall                 as he sunk into pure grass
breathing harder                 until the sun set and rose

over her breasts                 which he routinely abandoned
as glass                 you must know him

breakable                 unremarkable
dare I say                 talentless yet handsome

as a penis                 not erect
or powerful                 yearning for attention

attuned to the moon                 and her sisters
blessed but unhappy                 coarse, of yes, coarse

as sand is                 as the edge of a volcano
you must know man                 as a smelly foot

as the thief                 of gravity, a sucker
for guilt and relief                 a pansy, a draft dodger

a simpleton                 and a heartless boy
you must know man                 as a literary trope

a scapegoat                 a colorless clown
fortuitous                 yet soulless

broke, childless                 regrettable as a tree on fire
a poor apostle                 painting semen pictures

over the woman                 he glimpses
traversing                 oh what is it

a cityscape of clouds                 some neon windmills
you must know him                 as the errant knight

the closet gangster                 the prince
the failed ecclesiastic                 and the eternal interviewer

you must know man                 better than he knows himself
over a woman’s hips                 cowering, walking hand in hand

with a pallid angel                 disrobed or disrobing
caught in the act                 merciless, drawing

drabs of poison                 from Satan’s wellspring
in the shadow of a wall                 built by dynastic hominids

you must know man                 as rapist and raped
as the executed                 as the grease-speckled machinist

and go forth with him                 to the hidden places
follow him, take up the trail                 behind countless others

only to find                 the shell-nest sans her fragrance,
the mighty goddess                 gone as a before-hour

and he left to wander                 scattered, scattering
another son born                 to be transfigured

 


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Alejandro Escudé’s first book of poems, My Earthbound Eye, was published in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Image by Angus McDiarmid entitled “Barlinnie boys”.

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