Tuesday, 10 April 2012

the measure of man

you wanna measure the man I am in this mean manner, mate?
making it a matter of muscles, like castles of sand,
and the hand! the hand!
oh, how beautiful, you decree,
when it packs a punch,
when it blows a fist.
you insist that I ain’t your brother,
at best a sister,
as in a sissy, a pussy,
a poofter, or a cyst, a blister in your perfect system where
either or are the only alternatives… and you call that freedom.


I realised a long time ago that if sexuality comes down to picking what toys to play with,
dolls for the girls, guns for the boys,
then I’m afraid I don’t tick either box with sufficient conviction
I decided that if gender is a matter of blue or pink,
then I ‘d rather forever merge into purple,
the colour of bruises
lest we forget abuses perpetrated
singularities negated

and still
a tear never trickled down these cheeks
the hurt stayed put, a dog trained never to bark,
let alone bite.
the pain confined and invisible and the pressure
growing on the inside like so much steam
that by age fourteen I could have counselled a guru on self-control,
sixteen and I feasted on the bullies’ abuses like a forbidden fruit
at seventeen my reality of choice was daydream
and by nineteen my voice spoke a different tongue,
because that’s how far I’d run from

those high school halls that seemed built to echo to perfection
their design ensured that each insult would strike with maximum efficiency,
bouncing words off walls like darts in cartoons,
like thunders with a thousand tentacles
- the punch would thump from every angle,
ceiling to floor,
from tickle to kick to the prickly pinch of a blow in the ribs
or the old trick of the ruler whacked on the back of my neck,
remember that?

I kinda miss those good old times
when rednecks and teens were my only enemies,
no subtlety required back then
for five to one was the prestige of their little boys’ club
they attacked with the might of the pack
and kicked
kicked and waited till we cracked
and we all agreed I clearly lacked the pedigree
to join in
I had never evaluated virility with the measuring stick of my dick
or by
how far I could piss
never turned a woman into a bitch to wear her
like a badge of honour

but the bullies have turned to ninjas and learned new moves
flying kicks of acceptance,
the bigots have turned to wizards who spin new spells behind the abracadabra’s of
and –gosh, how daring!
even gay marriage.

they paint my ghetto pretty and tell me that I’m free

they say things are just peachy,
no need to get preachy.

1 comment:

  1. This poem can be seen on Community TV Channel 31 Melbourne "Red Lobster" Poetry Program on Wednesday 2 May at 11pm