Tuesday, April 20, 2010

For National Poetry Month: "The Men Who Rule Us"

This is a poem of my own that I've posted previously on this blog.  As I post it again to celebrate National Poetry Month, I'm painfully aware that--as with much that I write--it's not anywhere in the league of the poems I've been posting here to commemorate this event.

Still, it's something of my own that, in my view, ties into the discussion that Nicholas Kristof opened on the weekend, with his New York Times piece pointing to the damage that gender-skewed presuppositions have done to the Catholic church.  This poem is entitled "The Men Who Rule Us."  I wrote it in 1991:

You see them everywhere.

They straddle airplane seats
Casting words from lips bonetight and cutting,
Aimed to whip and cow
With illusions of power unspeakable.

Outside the plane the wet Louisiana clay
Secretes its honeyed humors,
Mists that wreathe the grass in light
And seduce the eye to inward grace.

The girls, they say.
I had three girls typing all day
Stewardess honey give me real magazines
Success, something I can sink my teeth into
Ate too many damn steaks
Sat around the bar and drank too many damn drinks
Gotta lose weight.

The world's enchained in power
By men who talk slantwise, crosswise,
And not at all,
But shoot words out like missiles
To spin their meaning into nothingness.


Save through a language
That drives clean
And homes the heart to wonder
Like a fog-enshrouded field?

In this world,
The only coming God
Is one who walks in haze
Outside the plane.