Poems from a Friend - In the Avoidance of Women

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In the Avoidance of Women

I

Sidebelly had become aware of the moss on his belly
ever since the time of an early spring
twenty-six years ago when he was twenty-one years old
with a lean incisive body moving easily
through the pines,
running north,
as he had been doing without pause for water
or love
for six years in avoidance of the assumption of
responsibility
he was to take on as a man,
and what brought him down at the end of his youth
were the frequent and penetrating thrusts
of mental daggers being driven through his ear,
sharply and up to the hilt,
which upon further examination
would have proven only to have been
the thorns of wild roses fashioned into tiny darts
by the thin and nimble fingers of some
woman,
no doubt,
and he did, finally, break down smoothness of motion
of wind in hair
into fractured moments
of settling vertebrae and sharply distilled
moments of anxiety,
for he feared his people were yet on the trail
behind him.

They weren't, of course,
they had failed to pursue five-and-a-half years back
after he had crossed the River of Separation,
the women moaning the loss of yet another
virile partner,
and he had come to rest slowly trembling,
driven down pointedly into supine immobility
by prayers and Wishes designed for his restraint.
By the Almighty Goddamn
they had caught up with him after all!
Hair by hair, finger by finger, toe by toe, cell by cell,
his breathing came deep
and the moss below his back gave way.
He could feel the breath of his bed exhale
near his ear telling him not to be afraid,
to rest,
that he needed rest,
and he closed his eyes and could feel the moss work
beneath his back and move up the sides of his belly,
taking over the responsibility of keeping him alive,
penetrating through his tissues,
extending through his veins, capillaries, arteries,
and enshrouding his heart
in the timeless revelatory muscle of the earth
as he slept.

II

The terrifying complexity
of manufacturing a self contained internal reality
for nine still years spent while saddled motionless
to the back of the earth on a bed of soft spoken moss,
of course,
was not to be undertaken alone.

But goddamn if the young Sidebelly was willing
to give up independence of strong, taut
manhood
without a fight for sole
or even partial possession of his tender mind,
no matter the teachers,
goddamn them all to hell with the
fruits and flowers they bring,
"I have been trying for six years to pound them
into dust,"
he told me, "six years to rid myself of their pursuit,
six years in avoidance of their mouths of
open and inviting tragedy,
six years spent hiding from their invasive minds,
six years working my muscles for prime
defense against their advancements,
I knew they would come too,
starting with Susie, of course,
goddamn her who kissed me first while pinning me
up against the wall
next to the garbage bin in the alley
behind the furniture store.
Six years,
six years,
goddamn them women, them witches,
them who spend the earnest moments before
the rise of the sun caressing,
oiling, and perfuming their legs and breasts
with their own juices,
combing and waiting to plait the magnificent length
of their hair under the beauty of the
polished crystal prism of mother’s making,
designed and crafted for the specific purpose
of dispersing the first rays of the morning throughout
the hair in the belief
that to hold the seven colors of the sun
was to hold the power necessary to enliven
the fibers of the hair which in turn,
when laid upon the pillow at night
and spread in imitation of the sun,
would successfully capture and blind a man
into meek submission of catering days;
days of heat and labor
spent under a malignant and difficult sun,
of strained breath spent through thin and dusty lips,
of brittle and confused moments
at the end of the day when conversation
with the woman
becomes necessary yet unavoidable and what is truly
needed is a cold beer
and an open window to the west –
a breeze would be too much for me to handle;
I would go insane in such pleasure of ease-
and goddamn
if she wouldn't then inhale the sun
into her belly at the close of the day,
swelling deeply
at the rush of performing
her daily admonition,
for she would have been stewing all day in her own
juices,
and speaking with the sun between her lips
of my failure to achieve the potency of manhood
in a dignified and respectful manner..."

And of course,
it was worthless for Sidebelly to struggle,
dangerous even,
for he was being wrapped tighter to the back of
the Mother Earth
at each impulse of protest,
pulled in deeper to the Woman of all our fruits,
and he would eventually learn that to struggle
would be to relenquish an even greater part
of his masculinity,
but he succeeded in the end,
thankfully,
in securing a bit of his manhood
down and away
in a sack between his legs where they could not
get at it,
the witches.

Copyright © Horse of the Sun and Keith Haines 1999-2002. All Rights Reserved.

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