Monday, January 31, 2011

what makes a man

Sometimes I see myself walking wounded,
alone in a wheat field--
and I think of my father,
turning alone and cold,
colder, in his bed.
And I think of his father,
languishing tormenting
and tormented
in his armchair,
thinking of the words he's said
and not said.

When I descend amongst the dirt
down with the roots
I want to ask him and him
what is this mark they've left in me.
And why this wound, why
this pain that turns over
and over in me, flipping and churning
in my depths like a lost anchor
in the deep dark fathoms of the sea.
Why this long sentence
that links me, chains me
to this certain authority:
"You will go down without vengeance,
to the roots and the bones
and see nothing but the torn up
things inside you:
the truth of what you're made of
will tear you apart."

And the wound leaks out onto my shirt,
a thick crimson winnowing substance;
and finally there's the pain, and there's the hurt,
probing, throbbing, stuck in my throat.
All my words become glottal stops,
I can no longer talk.
The dream goes on, my fathers singing:
"I know, I know now what makes a man:
You must stand. You must stand."

1 comment:

  1. I really love this piece, Nate. It's poetic, clear, and eloquent.