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Poem a Day December #17

Sorry, yet again, for failing to live up to the title of this series of posts. And sorry, also, for today’s post which did not originate from the fun, witty words of Billy Collins but instead seems to have come from my subconscious, which has been grappling with itself over the tone of my poems.


Are they too masculine, or not manly enough? Should I be pandering to the feminist cause (or even just acknowledging it)? Or should I just keep on listening to the muse and copying down what she tells me?


And why must it be a she?


Oy vey! Anyhow, here it is fresh off the cookie sheet of my mind, unworkshoped, still a bit raw, and vulnerable to the prodding fork of your criticism.


Just Another Patriarchal Conquest Poem

(for my buddy Clive Matson)


This image of manhood came striding at me

straight out of 1976, in his white pants

and red lycra shirt, his chiseled form

bursting out of the shadows of dream.


He had this one brown-haired fox on his back

and two blondes in bikinis following behind.

What it is, baby? he asked the bartender.

You know what it is, doll, she replied.


No, but I believe you when you tell me

it is what it is, and this what-it-is dialogue

continued for what seemed like an eternity

until it became clear that his lone goal was to get bombed.


He ordered three pitchers of mojitos and whatever the girls want,

before settling in beneath the palm-thatched cabana

and staring out upon the majestic Pacific ocean

as the waves crashed and roared.


His good friend had just died from too much drink

and the brown-haired fox he had been carrying on his back

was his buddy’s widow. At 5’6” tall and weighing in at 110 lbs.,

her sadness, even through all her smiles, was quite evident.


Still, the swashbuckler, his blonde hair blowing in the warm

beach breeze, was undeterred, massaging her calves

and looking to “get some” from this grieving smoker

in her loose-fitting top and fresh-off-the-boat Filipina accent.


To Timmy, good old Spirit of ‘76 says, raising a pitcher

above his head, then lowering it to clank against

the girls glasses. To Timmy, the two blondes replied.

But Timmy’s widow remained silent, a tear sliding down her cheek.


And suddenly, I realized that this is what my poetry teacher

was getting at with my work: too much patriarchy,

not enough soul, not enough feminist viewpoint,

just one drunken conquest after the other, and I vow to change.


Just as soon as I kill off this pitcher,

and see what the sexy Pinay

has been hiding there under

her billowing red, white and blue top.


—Randall McNair


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