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Voices: Poetry

Black and white sketch of two little boys chasing each other and playing with a toy wheel

Boys standing up to their fathers are invitations to patriarchy

When boys become men
it is marked by celebratory
loud aggression
a crossroads in our lives.
it was when i was 15, and
for the first time, finally raised fist
to my father’s face.

but i was wrong
it was not manhood that i entered,
but patriarchy
when i exchanged heart
for fist. this is why they are the same size:
it’s easy to mistake one for the other.

i want to enter manhood gently.
want to let go of the pain and hurt.
want to redefine it to when i first wrote poetry
when i held my first born nephew in these riverbed arms
when i took ethnic studies
when the pain washes away, and you forgive your drug addict father
when your heart and fist open up simultaneously.


$2 beer

masculinity is like beer
after a while
the bitterness becomes natural to
the tongue.
At the club, all men order one.
just like beer,
masculinity is
cheap and
easy to swallow


When boys forget they are butterflies

Dear straight men in my life,
when you step back
from me being too close to you,
i notice.
I am not offended nor confused,
but humored at the instants you guard up
like a caterpillar whose horns
were never meant to prick anyone.
do not disguise your back step and fist clench
as natural.
it is called patriarchy.
it is all consuming.
and soon those horns will pierce everyone you
Please let go of the intimidation
And step into the intimate.