I hear you.
But how about we wait until you’ve had a chance to smell a box full of kittens.
How about we wait until you’ve been in the ocean again, holding for that big wave to catch you off guard and knock the wind out of you.
And what about one more time screaming in the rain as your clothes get soaked and you spin as the drops smack down on the pavement.
Streets washed clean in rivers of spring.
What if we waited until you actually hit that one note you’ve been working on in the shower for these past months.
It’s right there.
I hear they’re coming to NYC in July.
We could take the train.
Maybe until you’ve been in love.
Maybe until you’ve had your heart broken in love.
I don’t want you to miss that longing pounding crying pain.
And loved again.
What if we waited until you’ve made your first full turkey-day dinner.
Held hands awkwardly at the table.
And meant what you said.
Oh and there’s this time, to buy wine on your own,
The confounding abundance of it.
Maybe wait until you’ve ordered your first drink at the bar.
There’s something to be said for that first hangover as well
I think we all need a story about throwing up on someone we love.
What if we hold off until you’ve met someone.
What if we hold off until you’ve experienced god.
And the ocean — did I mention the ocean already?
It changes every time. It’s never the same. Not even once.
What if we waited until you saw the sun rise on one side of the island and set on the other side?
What if we spent a day just looking for one shell.
Not that one. That’s almost the one, but I think we should keep looking.
What if we waited until you’ve just watched your children open presents for their 8th Christmas.
Or 9th. That’s the one I think. It just, I don’t know it’s hard to describe … sparkles.
I almost forgot. Sledding.
You really can’t miss that.
And then some time later that year, we can go to the beach.
I’ll keep an eye on the blankets and you can go down to the water.
Have a race with your kids to see who can go under first.
Ocean water and tears have something in them.
I think the salt might change things.
How about we wait until after that some time.
He cleans up after himself.
He cleans up the planet.
He is a role model for young men.
He is rigorously honest and fiercely optimistic.
He holds himself accountable.
He knows what he feels.
He knows how to cry and he lets it go.
He knows how to rage without hurting others.
He knows how to fear and how to keep moving.
He seeks self-mastery.
He’s let go of childish shame.
He feels guilty when he’s done something wrong.
He is kind to men, kind to women, kind to children.
He teaches others how to be kind.
He says he’s sorry.
He stopped blaming women or his parents or men for his pain years ago.
He stopped letting his defenses ruin his relationships.
He stopped letting his penis run his life.
He has enough self respect to tell the truth.
He creates intimacy and trust with his actions.
He has men that he trusts and that he turns to for support.
He knows how to roll with it.
He knows how to make it happen.
He is disciplined when he needs to be.
He is flexible when he needs to be.
He knows how to listen from the core of his being.
He’s not afraid to get dirty.
He’s ready to confront his own limitations.
He has high expectations for himself and for those he connects with.
He looks for ways to serve others.
He knows he is an individual.
He knows that we are all one.
He knows he is an animal and a part of nature.
He knows his spirit and his connection to something greater.
He knows future generations are watching his actions.
He builds communities where people are respected and valued.
He takes responsibility for himself.
In times of need, he will be his brother’s keeper.
He knows his higher purpose.
He loves with fierceness.
He laughs with abandon, because he gets the joke.
This is a picture of mature masculine, of healthy masculinity — it is one redefinition of masculinity for the 21st century. By no means is this list complete. You are welcome to come and add your gifts to this community. www.mkp.org
©2010 Boysen Hodgson. All rights reserved.
Used with permission by the ManKind Project.
What is the ‘Something’ that I should be doing? I see thousands of miles in every direction without moving or turning my head. There’s clear water in the Maldives. Bali is beautiful. And the graduates look stunning. Schooled. I see into the end game with every new tab opened and paragraph half read. I feel lost to follow-up and get back to and circle around to close the loops left open left and right and right. Now. There’s a massive die-off of farmed schools of salmon in New Zealand.
2000 tons of fresh fish in landfills. The soils of the Midwest are dying like school children, neglected and over-processed, largely ignored but for the corn-syrup saccharine platitudes, soy-bean snake-oil salesmen selling long-passed American dreams, and the amber waves of grain-fed cattle off-gassing in my timeline. You see the price of gas? Shocking. Elon heads to the bank to purchase free speech. Another break in Antarctic sheets.
It’s 105 degrees in Spain and 5 people I know are planning to walk the camino de Santiago this year. Insta wandering, I’m wondering. Is that doing something? Scientists in places far from here are screaming but their end is near sandwich boards cannot get attention over the din of separation. Division accusations multiply from god-fearing people peddling terror of transgender athletes ruining the gospel. It’s competitive sports cut down to what’s in your shorts. He and She and They and Them. All God! Damn! It doesn’t matter when winning and losing are both offensive to everything dying defenseless this minute.
Horrified Gene Roddenberry is sitting with Langston Hughes and the two of them can’t stop weeping. For the kids who die, uniforms red, exploring this strange new world. Malcolm and Moses are fighting again and nothing MLK can say will get them to let up and let their people go peacefully. Shop hopping Gandhi is looking for one thing home spun but the spinning wheels are running on an algorithm and all that’s woven is a narrative of numbing. Us. We keep saying … we need to do something. But the Edmund Pettus bridge is built to nowhere and we are all in bad trouble.
Thoughts and prayers. Future despair denied. More children just died. I pray for the families of the dead. We are all covid-coughing and sputtering our way to the grave. I pray that a new epic zombie limited series set in the near future will take me away. Thy will be done with one to the head. And post apocalypse say us all. The fight for Life for a monthly subscription. Church of the streaming service where all worshippers are welcome. The sons are here. The fathers are gone and we are surrounded by ghosts.
There are a baker’s dozen places to buy a gun within minutes of where I sit. Still. Around here in this every town rounds are easy to come buy. Stop by and see what’s new in recreational fun target shooting machinery of mass safety self-delusion. 2A rights, right? Hell yes! We the people say. Open late Friday. Get ready for the long weekend. Yes we can. A baker’s dozen, 13. Thirteenth amendment long overdue. Be proud and see red, white, and blue, clearly these rights to life and liberty are not for you. You already knew. The kids who die.
But what should I do?
by Boysen Hodgson
when I was ten
being in my room
not mine really
I shared with two of my brothers
there were three mattresses
on the floor
and two battered dressers
and a closet
it was on the second floor
up the narrow steep stairs
the ceilings were
low on either side
sloped under the roof
covered in ancient wall paper
crooked farm house
I want to die
I want to die
I want to die
and thudding my head
against the glass
I think my Mom
had told me
we were moving
I don’t remember
the window looked out
over the front yard
there were maple trees
shading the whole front lawn
150 years old
planted when the house was new
I do remember
the glass in that window
there were ripples
in the surface
I didn’t know then
glass is still a liquid
even if it feels solid
slowly, so slowly
I didn’t hit it
hard enough to break it
I’m 51 now
and the maple tree in our yard
is 7 years old
maybe there is nothing new
that can be said
about a haunted house
maybe it’s not the house
but the man
in spite of best efforts
maybe it’s worth noting
that when the haunted
mostly it wants nothing
but to be noticed
will burn down the block
to not occupy space
with the spirit
did not call it
and so it stretches
up into the smoke
and spreads itself out
in every soft fingertip
maybe it’s quieter
for a moment or two
in the blackened field
of the razed neighborhood
then the sirens
what a man
refuses to see
it’s not the house
it’s worth noting
and looks at it
the thing haunting him
a soft rain can wash
from his face