the braille of a man’s heart is not so different from my own

I wrote “How the Men Want to Fly!” more than a decade ago, and every so often it asks to
come into the light of day — to honor the men who struggle mightily
with the notion of what it means to be strong and manly and vulnerable and free.
This one’s for you, guys, as well as for your own Inner Divine Feminine and
the Inner Divine Masculine that lives within every female body.

Sorry, I lost track of the source of the photo —
but have linked it nonetheless to notes on Atlas, the strong, suffering Titan.

photo of statue of Atlas the Titan

How the Men Want to Fly!

I am holding men’s hearts in my hands these days,
running my fingers over toughened scar tissue,
tracing the rutted pathways of emotion run roughshod
and breathlessly lingering
when I feel myself sinking into soft spots around the edges.

The braille of a man’s heart
is not so different from my own.

They come one after another,
dragging their piecemeal armor on the ground behind them
rusting and clanging and
kicking up dirt in the breeze,
arms and torsos twisted and pained
from failed attempts
to simply fling off these burdensome hunks of plated steel.

How the men want to fly!
To put down their overstuffed attaches of the soul
on the dusty ground beside them
and rise up in feathery lightness

They have set small fires alongside the road as they go
They have used up their last matches
in incendiary rage
They do not yet know that armor will not burn,
cannot be torn apart with one’s teeth.

The neon sign outside my temple says eternally open,
around-the-clock priestess.
They cross the threshold,
leaving the scent of their bravado outside the door.
So tired each one of them is,
exhausted from running to keep up
to hold his equilibrium in place
and fight the descent into darkness.

They turn as I peel them gently,
to the floor.
Unbound, the men shudder.
O Madre! they cry in silence. O Sister!
Abuelita! Virgin! Maiden! Whore!

Sinking, the men tremble,
then melt under the harsh frailty.
There are puddles left behind
and in them,

The moon has tossed slivers of her smile.

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