There are millions of us, men in suits.
Hopping off morning trains, ordering
Our coffee with one cream or two,
On our way to offices in variations of suits,
sweater vests, and neck ties,
Purchased by our all too low salaries
that barely afford student loans and rent.
So many of us running to miss a train or a bus. All day
We sit in swivel chairs, years answering the boss’ beckon call,
Time clock’s obedient click. There are millions of us,
Feeling like children in adult’s clothes.
We pay attention to our dress
Because it makes people feel like we know our jobs.
Jobs that don’t tell us we feel pretty lonely in the city.
There we keep our silent code pretend like we have career plans,
When we shake hands stiffly
And take our after hour cocktails a bit too strong for our own tastes.
We have culinary relationship with deli counters
And methodically chew our lower lip when running on the treadmill
Next to some guy that has methodically placed himself
Next to us, to glance over at our treadmill times.
We grow younger and older by the years. We are
Expected to be men but dress more like boys with each passing year.
Our sisters worry about us, bring over pots of chili,
“You should eat something, chew something,” they say,
As we pour another Whey Protein Shake. We are
Always trying for the bigger biceps, for the V lines,
Arm veins, and ‘wings,’ or the muscles of the upper back.
My father and his father drank six packs and were men;
They weren’t responsible for maintaining them.
We are constantly on juice cleanses but still drink beer
At bars feeling guilty all night long,
But still beer, whiskey, much more masculine
Then a vodka diet soda water. We’re
Supposed to know all the right words but not supposed to read
Or love poetry. We instead should whisper sexy things
And build houses and romantic dates, yet
We work in cubicles and are taught that Action/Adventure is our movie genre.
Our concept of manhood is heroes sweeping women out of scary situations,
Which, in reverse, is often the opposite way. Women
Are more schooled in stories and fairy tales. They could defeat
The wicked witch, the lion, the sorcerer. They may be more defeated
By stories of having to find a glass slipper fit or turn into a pumpkin,
But they also have a plot with the wicked witch.
We just have cameos where we’re all bulked up and butch
Wearing our armor that we pretty much need,
Facing all the expectation that greets us every day
When we hop on that train.