This week is a twofer. Two fer the price of one! One for the ladies, one for gents. They just seemed to me to fit together when I was looking for today’s poem. What do you think?
Freya Manfred’s eight published books of poetry are: A Goldenrod Will Grow, Yellow Squash Woman, American Roads, Flesh and Blood (chapbook), My Only Home, Swimming With A Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle, The Blue Dress (chapbook), and Speak, Mother.
Her poetry has also appeared in more than 100 reviews and magazines and over 40 anthologies. Her primary subjects are nature and human relationships. Her work explores the mystery of dreams, love, longing, illness, and death. Poet Robert Bly says, “What I like in these poems is that they are not floating around in the air or the intellect. The body takes them in. They are brave. The reader and the writer meet each other in the body.”
She has received a Harvard/Radcliffe Fellow In Poetry Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, a Minnesota Poetry Award and a Tozer Foundation Award, and has has been a Resident Fellow at Yaddo, The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and The MacDowell Colony. Her half hour poem for television: THE MADWOMAN AND THE MASK, appeared on KTCA-TV, Channel 2, in 1991. (http://www.freyamanfredwriter.com/)
Tony Hoagland was born in 1953 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He earned a BA from the University of Iowa and an MFA from the University of Arizona. Hoagland’s poetry is known for its acerbic, witty take on contemporary life and “straight talk,” in the words of New York Times reviewer Dwight Garner, who continued: “At his frequent best … Mr. Hoagland is demonically in touch with the American demotic.” Hoagland’s books of poetry include Sweet Ruin (1992), which was chosen for the Brittingham Prize in Poetry and won the Zacharis Award from Emerson College; Donkey Gospel(1998), winner of the James Laughlin Award; What Narcissism Means to Me (2003), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Rain (2005); andUnincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty (2010). He has also published a collection of essays about poetry, Real Sofistakashun (2006).
Hoagland’s many honors and awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. He has received the O.B. Hardison Prize for Poetry and Teaching from the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award and the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers. Hoagland teaches at the University of Houston and in the Warren Wilson MFA program. (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/tony-hoagland)
* * * * *
The moment arrives when you say,
“I don’t dislike this man,
but how did I marry him?”
Something about his wintry voice,
the way he can’t or won’t show his face,
and how small and alone you feel
out here on earth’s curve,
driving day and night,
never reaching a destination,
until you realize you’re running parallel to him,
and you’ll never meet.
And The Men
want back in:
all the Dougs and the Michaels, the Darnells, the Erics and Josés,
they’re standing by the off-ramp of the interstate
holding up cardboard signs that say WILL WORK FOR RELATIONSHIP.
Their love-mobiles are rusty.
Their Shaggin’ Wagons are up on cinderblocks.
They’re reading self-help books and practicing abstinence,
taking out Personals ads that say
“Good listener would like to meet lesbian ladies,
for purposes of friendship only.”
In short, they’ve changed their minds, the men:
they want another shot at the collaborative enterprise.
Want to do fifty-fifty housework and childcare;
They want commitment renewal weekends and couples therapy.
Because being a man was finally too sad—
In spite of the perks, the lifetime membership benefits.
And it got old,
telling the joke about the hooker and the priest
at the company barbeque, praising the vintage of the beer and
punching the shoulders of a bud
in a little overflow of homosocial bonhomie—
Always holding the fear inside
like a tipsy glass of water—
Now they’re ready to talk, really talk about their feelings,
in fact they’re ready to make you sick with revelations of
A pool of testosterone is spreading from around their feet,
it’s draining out of them like radiator fluid,
like history, like an experiment that failed.
So here they come on their hands and knees, the men:
Here they come. They’re really beaten. No tricks this time.
No fine print.
Please, they’re begging you. Look out.