Domestic Confessional By Emily Wills

I am trying to write a manly poem.
You would think, in this twenty-first century
postmodern have-it-all, this would be easy. You might say
that the programming of multiple white goods
has rendered obsolete words like fairy and marigold
you might observe that we all have to eat —
but such concerns do not belong in the manly poem.
The manly poem may sit at a desk of managed forest
or cheap laminate, brew unsourced coffee, stare out perceptively
at a pedestrian crossing, a rank of bins, a potted plant
the manly poem has — presumably — a navel, with its fascinator
of blue fluff, but on these things both muse and man
must be silent. For the manly poem
is a crystal of pure thought, with no bodily needs,
apart from sex, of course — the consequences of which
may occasionally be permitted to enter
provided they wash their hands. Alas, there is no soap
or running water in the manly poem
and the children are hungry or sulky or tired —
For the manly poem, despite its umbilical scar, arrived
fully formed, punctuated with profound utterances,
a tendency to syllable count
and complex forms; also politics, apocalypses,
great themes. The manly poem
has a purpose, the manly poem must Lead The Way —
but with such rules, taboos, and no breakfast, the Inner Critic
— vestigial, but still lurking — convulses and dies,
not literally, you understand, with a lingering quotation,
but in the usual mess of grief and bodily fluids
which have to be dealt with, of course,
in another kind of poem.

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