Sunday, July 27, 2014

Muy Macho by Tony Hoagland

I can't believe I'm sitting here
in this dark tavern,
listening to my old friend boast

about the size of his cock
and its long history,
as witnessed by the list of women

he now embarks upon, enumerating them
as a warrior might recite the deeds
accomplished by the family spear,

or like an old Homeric mariner might
go on about the nightspots
between Ithaca and Troy.

The bar tonight has the feeling
of a hideout deep inside the woods, a stronghold
full of beer and smoke,

the tidal undertow of baritones and jukebox
punctuated by the clean, authoritative smack
of pool balls from the back.

It's so primordial,
I feel my chest grow hairier
with every drink, and soon

I'm drunk enough to think
I'm also qualified to handle
any woman in the world.

You can talk about the march
of evolutionary change,
you can talk about how far we've climbed

up the staircase lined with self-help books
and sensitivity exams
but my friend and I,

we're no different from any pair
of good old boy Neanderthals
crouching by their fire

a million years ago,
showing off their scars and belching
as they scratch their heavy, king sized balls.

I know that every word we say is probably a stone
someone else will someday have to
kick aside,

-still, part of me feels privileged,
belonging to this tribe of predators,
this club of deep-voiced woman-fuckers

to which I never thought
I ever would belong;
part of me is more than willing to be wrong

to remain inside the circle of this
conversation,
-to hear the details, one more time,

of how she took her shirt off, smiled,
and then they did it on the floor.
Even if the roof were falling in,

even if the whole world splintered and caught fire,
I would continue sitting here, I think,
entranced-implicated, cursed,

historically entwined-
another little dinosaur
stretching up its neck and head

to catch the last sweet drop of drunken warmth
coming from the ancient, fading sun.
We can't pull ourselves apart from it.

We don't really believe
there is another one.

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