I've been thinking
about the time i
fell out of a tree
and broke my leg
as a boy.
now i know for
damn certain that
every REAL man
fell out of a tree
and broke something
as a boy. every
REAL man. every
real man breaks
fingers and toes
and has a glass of
good whiskey. real
men. a real man
hates everything
because he can.
good honest men
walk with a limp
or reach with a
twinge because they
fell out of a
neighborhood tree
as a boy. trying to
prove themselves
and climb higher
than anyone else.
a real man will stare at
your chest and
he's not sorry if
you notice. he
doesnt need to be.
you know it and he
knows it. god knows
it! real men dont
wear bow ties
unless they are
trying to confuse
and frighten the
other so-called
men. REAL men.
an honest american
man will kick a
woman in the teeth
if she has it
coming. and he'd
do worse to another
man. because you
dont mess with a
REAL man.

fancy another, jerk?


i think it was 1963
and i worked at
this rotten restaurant
washing dishes
for those people
too upper-crust to
do it themselves.
and the waitress was
older than me.
not old as my
mother but on the
same bridge team,
if you know what i
mean. everything
sagging a little
bit with age. but
she looked good to
me. when it slowed
up in the evenings
she'd lean her hips
against the counter
and watch me do
the dishes.
she'd smoke and
tell me about her
jerk of an oldman.
i'd try to figure
her in my head.
from her fading
henna job to her
dime store stockings.
her eyes were tired
and her makeup
was smudged.
and she got lipstick
all over my cigarettes.

(c) A. Langston