Tag Archives: Man

Man Up! How?

I’ve spent the weekend in the presence of up to 30 men. An environment where masculinity and mental health within men were explored with a view to an eventual performance. It gave scope for bonding, conversing, unlocking doors to experiences that have brought joy, pain and indifference. It allowed creatives to create and every voice to be heard.

At the end of the first day, my niggling thought was, can I separate masculinity from race? I ignored the thought because I didn’t have a place in this sphere.  At the end of the second day, it returned. The truth is I don’t know if I can make a definitive separation.

Whereas some groups have to an extent, found a voice to articulate their struggles and versions of their humanity, I cannot say that my voice has the capacity to capture hearts in the same way. Some go as far as labelling other groups as “the new black” as they draw parallels with being a minority group, and discriminatory attitudes towards them. This is not to say that I am jealous of the shift towards social acceptance, or seek to dismiss their voices. Rather, being within earshot of this has been a trigger, a point of reference from which I begin another journey of understanding.

When I entered the room ahead of the session, I entered as a creative. I entered simply seeking inspiration and hoping that I might write something I could show off. That was the way I would get by.

My masculinity has been heavily influenced by cultural expectations, traditions and race-based perceptions. They have been compounded by faith based interpretations of manhood.  I don’t get to see myself as just a man. I am black man and whisper it….I’m a Christian. To the world around me, to the world inside of me.

I am not socially acceptable in my real form in as many spaces as others are afforded.

In seeking to stay on topic I kept my mention of race down to one conversation to provide context for my story. I didn’t want to as people say….play the race card. Was this men’s space a white space?

In the black community, we are pretty expressive, yet Mental Health is something we collectively seem to be quieter on. My mother was a mental health nurse so she was and still is aware of the signs when particularly I have encountered struggles with mine. In wanting the best, tough love was a method of dealing with it. Yet even in that I was never just a man. Always a black man.

“You are a black man…..you cannot afford to let yourself slip. You cannot afford to….”

I have always had to be aware of how I speak, how I act so that someone else feels better about themselves. At times it feels like as a black man, I don’t really get to have a safe space because I am going to be a threat to someone. I am going to be lumped with some part of society. I am part of something that will be invaded by well-meaning trend seekers who will sell a version of me back to me as though they were Christopher Columbus.

If I show I’m intelligent, I’m a threat so I’m getting passed on for promotions and meaningful career development activity.  If I wear certain clothes, I’m a threat. If I show that I’m angry I’m a threat. Then there’s the projections of promiscuity and prowess. I self-edit constantly to ensure that everyone feels comfortable.

Should I seek black spaces?

Again….do I get to have shared experiences? After all I am male, I was once a child that has become a man.

However, as a child in primary school, my white headmistress sent for me during lunch time. She told me that a black kid has to work 100 times harder than a white kid. I wasn’t given any reasons as to why she chose that moment to give me “the fact of life” that many black kids have drummed into them from birth. Yet, it eroded my self-confidence as a child.

Through the years, versions of this were re-iterated in order to keep me on the straight and narrow. I was even told that if I was a white guy, I’d be ten-a-penny. That I should be fortunate that black people are a minority, as it’s the only way I would stand out.

Shared experiences where being black doesn’t have a say in proceedings seem few and far between. Celebrity deaths get more reaction than folks arrested for waiting at Starbucks. Maybe that’s a different issue. Somehow, somewhere, between principles and expectations, nature and preference, I exist

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Filed under Just Living, Non Poetic Blogs

Down Day

Image result for feeling down

 

They say men are made from stuff women aren’t.

Stronger hands, harder hearts

You can take a beating and dare not flinch

The measure of man’s tiers found in grit not ink.

 

He’s made of wildest dreams and infinite schemes

A man is built to last.

He can plot a tree and chop down forests.

Just women’s ages he dare not ask.

 

A man should have money, a man should have style.

A man commands the stage.

Men have no fear, knows lust not love.

Being a MAN is all the rage.

 

So why do good ones fall and bad ones rise?

Is it safe to even ask?

Is it weak to cry, will he be despised?

Is it wise to be about that?

 

I’m drowning in supposed to be.

What I’m not has been my yoke.

If I’m a man or so I claim will my man card be revoked?

 

I guess I’ll hang from ropes you beat me with.

My failures and dented pride.

When love is lost we count the cost.

No hope and suicide.

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Filed under Just Living, Random Poetics

Mortal Man

malcolm-1

Can mortal man get everything his way?

As long as there is power to be had and money made

With that religion he’s a God or so he plays

So, acts of God aren’t covered by insurance

Who’s his author? Scriptwriter for this performance

Who’s really under force majeure?

Can mortal man get everything his own way?

Doors open and shut, string has to be cut

How long we can we hold a note?

When is it too short?

Can it ever be the right length?

Can mortal man get everything his own way?

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Filed under 30 day challenge, Just Living, Random Poetics

The Adam Question

Some days I wonder whether Eve in Eden was a case of mistaken identity.

Whether Lizzy or Rachael or Ella were meant to be.

With no childhood memories,

Was their first date a snoozefest laced with pleasantries?

Neither could eat from a template of how they’re meant to be.

With no career or previous history, was their first kiss like conservative virgin sex, full of an awkward intensity?

What was the attraction? Looks or personality or just that she had been made from him for him?

Was she as immaculate as a queen?

Did he need to teach her how to manage the home, cook or clean?

It’ll never reveal whether Eve even had sex appeal

Was love meant to breathe with Eve?

Yes, we see that she was given as his one and only.

Was Adam so lonely or just insanely desperate?

Was he rough and ready to her delicate?

Was she tough and he extremely sensitive?

Had he wanted a slice of heaven for the hell of it?

After the novelty had worn off, did he start regretting it?

Want to curse God for blessing it.

Was he sleeping on her subtleties like a sedative?

Or was the union so heavenly that he wanted to make the best of it.

Knowing she was made for him, did he ever wrestle with this so-called blessing?

After they’d been put together, did angels tell him he’d never looked better?

Did he get that constant reassurance they looked good together?

With no ceremony was this the first true marriage or a cohabitation?

Their mere creation a blessing witnessed by his creator and angels

If Adam had a choice would he have remained faithful?

If we were Adam, would we even be grateful?

Accepting that, though love learns the hard way,

Some lives… you’re made for.

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The Invitation (52/4)

The nest is being broken
Come along, come along!
The nest is being broken
Come along

The sun has awoken,
(For) Manhood chose to clothe him
Come along, come along!

What heart he had now stolen
To plant his seed he’s grown him
Come along

Scraped the barrel.
Found gunpowder
Blew his mind
When he found her
Come along, Come along!

See this late blooming chapter,
Tears of Joy and laughter
Pack the place to the rafters
Come along, Come along

Now if you guard the runway
They’ll be flying on the Sunday
Come along!

Share in vows unspoken
Hope they never will be broken
Come along!

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The Skin I’m in (52/ 3)

These roads…
Silverstone by way of Kingston
Smoother than Eden’s Serpentine moments
Once traversed by fleeting caress of the pert, the pompous and puerile
When tourists created a north south divide, I enjoyed the ride

Until the economy of reflection collapsed with consumption
There was no mass protest
Now the maths has caused a mass protest

Though a man united lives in this kings dome
I am a woolly mammoth with the heart of a spartan
Yet closer to obesity than the beast in me
These roads are now shrouded in patches of iniquity
Speed bumps are food mountains and are starved of activity
Pilates the outer judge of the inner me
It’s time to let go of what love handles
This mess I am worshipped by woe

With more recessions than a conservative government
Planting my seed is the only way my heir will go…forward
I’ve got to dig these roads to dig these roads
This skin I call home

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28

I’ve been patient as a punchline
Waiting in a lunch line
Life ain’t so plain flying,
Spitfire, run time,
My philosophy’s a gun crime
Got agent’s in the matrices
Grading my depth, plumb line
One accord, Major C’s
Too salty for a dead line
Category be mind engaged
You need but don’t want your personal me
Say you’re sick of aids
Writing’s cool, I do it well
Life’s a movie, where coffins swell
I love naked truth, let’s show and tell
I’d call it porn, but belle this aint chess
Unleashed the beast, my beauty’s stressed
The 411’s the 666,
Systems corrupt and I’m sick sick sick
Of,
Carrying caveman capabilities,
Parrying papal pillagers
Managing mother’s mirages,
Welding women’s worrying
To the responsibilities of being a modern man

Fighting foraging Fungus, best friends, comrades
Con raids on my elements like colonial excavation its
Barrier creation yet they say I’m isolationist
My soul labours like I’m the sole Asian
They give the monkey a platform but not the elevation
I guess I’ll see you next lifetime cos I’m in a situation
See Poetic7’s just trying to be Adrian

So used to being played you’d think I knew craps
All in my head like I love caps, their not my type
DMC knows it’s like that – I tasted fruits, not ripe
Wrote some pot, not smoked, not pipe,
Bombs dropped, never clicked like,
Put me on blast, great height
When irritation is my innovation, detonation is my destination
High light
Played second fiddle to Ebonic Economics
Jungle fever sounds, two-tailed not sonic,
Bossip is e-tonic, it’s not right
I put my soul in a box cause it’s not white
Life used to be so gay

Now it camps in manic moments
Potential means nothing so I’m X’s great exponent
You say you want to know why?
Ring my bell curve, play a tune on my back bone
Interface easy, what’s my name, I Phone?
Jerk Me, I’d moan, blaze the sky at the ruse
Now I come with a contract, and the Ade Bar Blues
Electric dick’s not a fuse
Said I won’t be blown,
I’m not Divine Brown’s Hugh’s
Colossian’s on the microphone
Ready for Pau;l’s letter,
Guess I’ll read it in phases
Signing off Poetic7
Just trying to be Adrian

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Filed under Just Living