There’s a woman in the room
the zoom room
and a man in the room
his life was saved
by Robert Bly and “Iron John”,
the feminists had made men too soft
and we needed our own
so we could truly become
what it is that we already are.
Or something like that.
I have to admit I stopped listening.
That happens, y’know, in those moments
when everything inside your gut
first clenches up
and then reaches south
to guard your penis
as if your penis could be guarded
in a world where…
Well, there’s only one Lorena Bobbitt
and All the Rest of Them are Males!!!
As my daddy used to say,
“If you’re doing what’s right
both sides are gonna kill you.
The extremes always wanna be central.”
And that’s what my gut did.
And my eyes rolled back and glazed over
and I remembered being at lunch with
a beautiful feminist
who said I couldn’t come to the meeting
And again I have to admit
I didn’t quite hear what she said but one word did stand out.
Somewhere in that sentence she said,
I heard the word “separate”
or maybe it was “separat-ist”
but whichever it was
my gut clenched again and I said,
“But what do I do while you’re gone?”
and she said,
“Go fix some of the guys.”
And that’s when my gut reached south.
And she must’ve noticed ‘cause she looked at me
in that way that real feminists can
“Don’t worry, silly. You know we’ll be back.”
And then she caught a plane west
and married a minister
from the Methodists maybe
or the United Church of Christ (Jesus)
where they’re always busy,
her and Sarah Lyn,
raising kids with two mommies.
And did I mention her name is Nola
like that amazing Gulf Coast city
and her last name
before she changed it decades ago
And then we were there
in a coffee shop
near where Nola and Sarah Lyn live
and a dog and his guy come in
and the dog looks us over and smiles at the guy
and the guy asks if they can sit near us.
We say of course
and the guy asks what kind of day
this day is for us
and I say
any day Bob Dylan gets the Nobel Prize
has got to be at least a little okay
and the dog growls
and the guy says he’s not so sure,
and I say there’s always “Hard Rain”
and the guy says, “Well, yeah, there’s that”
and then he says that he used to work
I allow as how Bukowski could write
and he’s my grandson’s favorite poet
and he says, “Well,
just make sure
it’s the poems he likes
and not the Bukowski persona”
the guy says,
that persona part
was mostly a marketing pose.
“And tell him”, he says,
“he was a really nice guy,
with a work ethic forged in hell.”
And that’s when I remember my friend
was Bly’s “Iron John”
but I don’t say it out loud
because I think the guy’s dog thinks I’m smart
and I don’t want to risk it.
And suddenly it’s now
and I’m back in the zoom room
remembering that Robert Bly,
the man who saved my friend’s life,
is the man,
the man ,
the man who said, “Zeus energy,
is male authority
for the sake of the community.”
Really now, where’s Iron John,
the wild man who helped?
I’m sure he’s in here somewhere.
Or did my patriarchal godsends
mistake him for a Socrates
and sentence him
either to exile
to be eaten by a tree?
(“Totally his choice, my friend, totally his choice.”)
As my friend Dan
—whose tranny name is Plenty,
might say to the God of all Gods,
“Call me, Zeus!
I’ve got the most perfect gal for you.
Their name is Leda
and they know this swan
they’d really like
to wring until dead.
You feel me?”
But I’m afraid the zooming male will say,
“I mean, what the heck, my dude?
It’s no big thing,
just a kind of ‘Leaning In’,
And it’ll be everything I can do
to keep from saying,
a kind of ‘Leaning In’
for those men
those particular men
who for way too long have all been the ones,
the ones who were leaning on.”
But I really don’t want
the zoom woman
to think I’m a sensitive guy
who’s hitting on her
so I shut my mouth
and move on