Shell of a Man

samprules2

Started a new set of prompts – I love lists of things – this one will prove to be endlessly productive for another couple of years – 227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This number 22  from the 30 nissaggiyas

Shell of a Man

a woman got up

stood at the subway exit door

I got up

stood behind her

she glanced briefly

over her shoulder

she exited

I followed

up the stairs

outside the station

we both turned to the left

both crossed in the same direction

turned down the same side street

then another

I walked faster

to pass her

 

she walked faster

to escape me

we crossed at the same point

she was practically running

I slowed

saddened by what had happened

saddened

by merely being a man

she felt threatened

because my house

was along her route

 

this gender

this skin

is a shell that shouldn’t crack

a bowl to carry me through life

that doesn’t get questioned

doesn’t get handled roughly

directly

what happened thanks

to my entitlement

of not having to worry

to apologize

for what isn’t my direct doing

 

I didn’t create this cultural context

in which women

fear men

yet I feel guilt

should I have taken a different way home

when I saw us walk

in the same direction

is her fear

her insecurity

now my fault

 

how different from her

am I

I get the same anxiety

when my sense of security

is confronted

by my assumptions of strangers

do young men alarm

simply because they are young

how did race become weaponized

 

the world is on alert

trust no one

justify that lack of trust

by falling back on distorted news

by a history

that suppresses facts in favour of controllers

by not acknowledging any complicity

in making them look pure

not driven by greed

by the need to control

 

I just wanted to walk home

take my shoes off and relax

not feel the fragility of this shell

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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