Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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The Man Code’

It is nothing to wreak violence, so easy
and casual I hear, like slipping
on my sweatpants and guinea-T, a little nacho

stained, picked off the floor where it was tossed
last night. But no. It’s really hard work:
formulating, sweating, bringing off, cleaning up.

Easier to watch The Deer Hunter again, other men’s
fat tongues, De Niro slouched against the weight
of his Army beret, the bright lights of the steel mills

framing what it means to be red angry, drunk tired.
The weaselly guy at the end whips out his
gun, and with such effort, like Sisyphus prancing

up a little knoll and brandishing his violence,
only to find it’s nothing, just a little plastic thing.
Love is so much less lovely than I thought,

more like a little dying every day,
holed up in your dark
bedroom, though someone brings you sweets

occasionally, takes your feet in her hands, though
love is not the opposite of violence,
which may be grace, I think. I comb my hair into

its place, watch your feet peeping out of the covers
where you fell last night, so tired
you closed your eyes while still standing up, clothes

pooled on the floor. I regret every moment
of anger, though it’s born of loneliness,
and I know you are lonely too, which is why

I will let you sleep, see what violence
I can execute on these eggs, this sliced open
bitter. Sleep. This is how we will survive.    

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