Today's poem is by Monique Ferrell

        for the good 'men of new orleans

and so it is that a man understands himself    knowing    that after the waters subside    it
will take the great weight    and magnitude of newly cleaned hands to harness these ruins

build upon this kind of injury
and so he will dupe    his allthetime    diligent conscience    into believing that mortar
and cinderblocks are the tonic    for what ails you when what ails you is the bad ache
of bone crushing down    on bone a mass exodus    into thunderdome
all the while    maintaining his composure with excuse me and if you please

some semblance    of civility

when there is none to he found

and the women round about him    are looking for men to be    genteel benefactors

here upon this grave midnight certain    to be the last huddled together with women
who are not his own    while his own    he knows    have blown    by bloated and swollen
down bourbon street    the used to be world    becomes a dirty ocean    yielding nothing

ever the optimist    he says aloud to no one in particular    but to anyone who is listening
laissez les bon temps rouler    imagining in his mannish heart    what he will build anew

astonishing    a now engaged world    with his arrogance    and stick-to-it-tive-ness
seeing in his deceptive mind's eye a hand-ofgod-shine where the mud
and decimation once made a home

but the women around him    know better    and are now looking upon a madman
who has lost much    to the unforgiving outside he is but one person more to look after

beyond themselves and the children    who are on their last diaper    bit of food

and very last bit of pretend

every woman here knows    these men will become    dangers to themselves now
malcontent    taking shape over stiliformingbone discovering    no promise    within

the receding waters    no hidden condition    about being    free from this

for a man knows what he knows    understands himself when a boy    that he is separate
from girls    he is a certainty    she    a moving thing    subject to his whims

much like the water

and because he believes in this certainty    and it is validated along the way
he believes himself to be    a genteel benefactor

that he is courageous    a winged hero    into the maelstrom of their nightmares

pushing back time and tide

a doer    a fixer    not this    allthetime standingstill    man    now false
in the face of the upending    of the whole    complete    and entire world

but    it is this newday    daylight    the out into the very last dog-tired morning

the promise of rescue and removal    that finally costs one man his soul

having prayed    for the sun and for dry earth to trod upon    it takes the raw
and privileged prying eyes of cameras

to tell a truth

that all is not well    with the women in his care that there is a new haunt in their
ancient eyes    one more debt that he can never repay    like being sold or running
away    chasing northern lights that promise freedom

the dark depth of his generational silence

and now this

he has become a man who cannot hold back water

keep it off of his roof or out of his home and after a today like today
not out of the eyes of any woman he knows

but it is the overload of fresh menstrual blood heavy like more rain water down so many
brown thighs staining ten-day-old clothes that finally breaks his heart into knowing

a man knows nothing really and that his hands slow and limited

could never really protect these women    now pushing the    playpretend button

stoic faces before    a stunned world

they do not ask for this penance    this sickwithsadness man    now at their feet    stepping out
of his dishrags    using them to wipe    each woman clean
his own spittle    now ash    to bathe    their stained legs

they gather him up instead    this good man    who learned too much today

and carry him fonvard    as they always have countless times and generations before

Copyright © 2016 Monique Ferrell All rights reserved
from attraversiamo
NYQ Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Support Verse Daily
Sponsor Verse Daily!

Home    Archives   Web Weekly Features    About Verse Daily   FAQs  Submit to Verse Daily   Follow Verse Daily on Twitter

Copyright © 2002-2016 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved