What is a man? Is he polished shoes?
Is he stoic silence? The pretense of invulnerability.
Is a man distant? Is he aloof?
Is a man sexual conquest? Is he intimacy?
Does a man walk with his shoulders back?
His head high?
His clothes tailored?
Are his eyes set upon a dream?
Does a man fight with purpose?
Is there a purpose in fighting?
Does a man have purpose?
Without a fight?
Does he lord his body over women?
Does he strap a pistol to his hip to protect himself or possess himself?
Without violence, is he a man?
Is a man a savior? Is he bold enough to be saved?
Can a man make room at the table? Or must he sit at its head?
Must a man rage? Must he occupy the world?
Does a man listen?
Does he hear?
Does a man close borders? Or make them porous?
Is a man vengeance? Is he the oppressor?
Can a man change what he was?
Will he still be a man?
What are a man’s rules?
Can he be any shade of skin?
Can he have his dignity back?
Or will we always hold his pigment in contempt?
Does a man forsake himself when he loses his place in the world?
Can he dig his hands into the earth and remember he is a man?
Can he find compassion?
Can he forsake wrath?
Can he return to his mother?
And find his worth.
Author: Mathis Kennington
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Betty Vance (via the author)