Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Be a Man!

Knight, Queen and Castle

Be a Man!
      by Mark Word

I go to work and I am the only man
Among all my colleagues.
A soldier tells me his story and cries:
He awakes after thirty-two days.
He sees the lead they took out of his brain.
He finds that eight of his friends are dead.
They haunt him.

In therapy he remembers for the first time
That his mother was there and stroked his hair,
As he awoke from his month of deathlike sleep.
A green blanket was around her neck, he says.
All this, he remembers five years after the fact,
In an office of two men, talking.
He now knows that his mother brought him
To life yet a second time, a rebirth.
We cry.  We men.

His most terrible moment transforms
To a moment of pure joy for his mother.
Her son came back to life!
Now he is changed -- forever -- by remembering.

We talk to each of the warrior-spirit friends.
They tell him to live on, what he would want for them. 
He feels forgiven for returning from his death-sleep.
It is not his fault he lived, they say.
We cry.  We men.

She goes to work among men.
Her boss needs her expertise
And asks her counsel
On the minutiae of legal things.
She wears slacks and fits in.
They discuss policy.
They discuss international law.

But at the milonga,
I embody the male energy embedded in my soul.
I protect her as she closes her eyes.
I navigate her away from the danger
That she does not even see
Because she entrusts this to me.
I am her knight, she rides with me.
I know the way to the castle.
She trusts me to take the reigns
Of the power beneath us.
I am her minstrel,
Playing our steps like a mandolin,
To an ancient song of dance.

At the milonga, she wears her dress,
And slips on her highheels.
She chooses her clothes not to fit in,
Or to be like others.
Her earrings match her shoes.
She dons -- no, embodies --
Womanhood's feminine energy.
Her soft, close embrace and trust
Invites me to be a man, fully.

We are a man and a woman.
For one tanda at a time.
The milonga seems like reality,
Our work, but a dream.


  1. Oh my..Mark...this is just beautiful and so well said. Have you been inside my brain and soul without my knowing it?

  2. Dear Anonymous... if I did go inside your soul then it was just to find the child inside of you. I just wanted someone to play in the sand with me and throw a few stones into the lake. --M

  3. I love this. Although I have a bit of a different perspective on it, living in Argentina. There you can't discard your fixed and cliched gender role so easily when you remove your tango shoes.

  4. I wear work boots and jeans to work, supervise a crew of muscular men, and come home covered in dirt. I love the contrast between my work days and tango nights.

    Very moving image of your soldier with his mother at his side. You stand witness to the depths of human emotion.



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