Original Poetry

Menstuff® is actively collecting original poetry. We have two sections. Poems by men to, for or about men and Poems by women to, for or about men. If you would like to be included, send us an e-mail with your poem in the body of the email (not attached). Your submission denotes permission to put it on the web site. Decisions on selections are final. If you would like a hyperlink from the poem to your e-mail or web site, include the domain or URL

Responses to the Phrase "Man Up" 4:18

A reading of "fused at the wound" by Rick Belden

Poems by men to, for or about men

Poems by women to, for or about men

Poems from Inside Prison
Anti-War Poetry - Over 13,000 writings.
Other Poems

Poetry Contest

Poems by men to, for or about men

The New Macho
By Boysen Hodgson

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 that the future generations are watching his actions.
He builds communities where people are respected and valued.
He takes responsibility for himself and is also willing to be his brother's keeper.

He knows his higher purpose.
He loves with fierceness.
He laughs with abandon, because he gets the joke.


Poem for My Brothers

What is the language that Nelson, Malidoma and Seiku are teaching me to speak?

Where will it lead me, and what do I really seek?

I feel it everyday, layers of energy, row upon row,
Pulling me along, my soul in tow,

Gleefully, I ride with my eyes wide open
Looking to grad hold, my heart barely copin",

But I'm always hoping, to feel the light inside myself,

Inside yoself, inside all selves.

I see the colors, they're like daggers digging into my soul

Churning my consciousness like butter in a bowl,

Making new food for ancestors to swallow

Elders to lead the way, all others to follow

I salute your warriors of the universe, you soldiers of good fortune

Fighting the good fight, the one within and

Dancing to the tune of forgotten women and men.

Copyright 2008 Anthony N. Johnson posted with author permission by his colleague Forrest Craver. Anthony Johnson has been a leader in men's work for more than 12 years. He is a poet, documentary film maker and African Diviner, trained by African Shaman, Malidome Patrice Some.

A Barroom View of Love

I would not want all my words
To parade around this world
In pretty costumes,

So I will tell you something
Of the Barroom view of Love.

Love is grabbing hold of the Great Lion's mane
And wrestling and rolling deep into Existence

While the Beloved gets rough
And begins to maul you alive.

True Love, my dear,
Is putting an ironclad grip upon
The soft, swollen balls
Of a Divine Rogue Elephant
Not having the good fortune to Die!


License to Be An Asshole

to be an asshole

here at hand

“Damn it!
no one will listen”

leaves his hand

“It’s different
this time

no bullshit!

Venturing now—me!
Captain Eddy!

I told you
I can’t be fooled—I quit!”
through the moments
without a cure

Tell them what they
want to hear

They’ll like you—
just drink you’re beer

- David Lau

Send the Lovers to Baghdad

Send the lovers
to Baghdad

Hearts surge
with this playful scare

Beckoning from
beyond the darkness

Yet, our tears say--
“Don’t let them go there”

Send the lovers
to Baghdad

Fomenting our
quivering fear

But, dreams call us--
“Go with them”

Though caught in waiver
we can not go near

Send the lovers
to Baghdad

Hot hands—
gain willful surrender

Touch quaking,
bodies sigh, breathing free

Sacred life
their boldest defender

Send the lovers
to Baghdad

Now scared
they cower in sand

God longs
to be with them

Lift prayers
towards this ancient land

- David Lau

The First Time

You tell your father "I love you."
is not easy. For we are taught
to love women....not men.
My father was the one I wanted
to be near, to feel his strength,
to know his passion for life.
The distance between us went unnoticed
until that fateful day-the phone call.
It would be my first airplane ride
from Cincinnati to Detroit,
ironically, to be with him at death.
Funny, for years I saved the ticket stub
not sure whether to remind me
of my first flight or his death.

Standing next to him,
I remember being strong-
after all, I was his namesake
and others were expecting me
to be a man.

The day I cried was months later,
when I went to my mailbox
for his weekly letters and poems.
The box was empty-no letter, no poems.
I was so alone. Lost. Confused.
I had been taught about sex,
but no one had explained
the overwhelming sensations
that arrive with the death
of the man who for twenty years,
I called "papa".

He lay so still, properly embalmed.
His amigos from the Monterrey Poolroom
paid their final respects.
The priest said some stupid prayers.
I cursed God for the strange feeling
of being a young man without a father.
I wanted to hug him one last time
or would it be our first?
The line from the poem
he wrote to me,
after my leaving home,
"it was papa who took a drink
and wanted to hug you tight".
floated around
like a bad taste in my mouth.

Now the distance between the family
has separated us
to different parts of the country.
Mama, lost her voice,
she quietly waits for your return
at the Nightingale Nursing Home.
She teaches us a lesson-how sometimes
death sneaks slowly up on you
weakens you till your last breath.
Now, I struggle to be father
for my beautiful ten year old daughter.
You are not here but I want you to know
I don't blame you anymore.

The poet in me wants to share a poem
with you, make you smile, laugh
but all I can do is tell the children
" . . . my father was a poet."
I feel so proud, at the precise moment
when I express your words with my voice:
but I remember too well
how the first time I told my father
"I love you" . . . was not easy.

Trinidad Sánchez, Jr. Poettrino@email.msn.com

Killing Our Fathers
for Mario David Sánchez

Mama always said:
I was going to be the last child.
She let papa name me "Jr.".
Without really stating the fact
she was making it clear, she was tired.
She did not want any more children.
Was she was practicing birth control?
I was number nine...almost 18 months later,
January 19, 1945 we celebrate your birthday.

On my visits to the Nightengale Nursing Home
my heart knows mama is waiting.
She was waiting for someone else.
Yes, waiting for you to forgive her . . .
waiting to ask for forgiveness. I wanted to lie:
Mama, I saw Madio. He said:
Tell mama, I still love her;
but Mama is the one who taught me not to lie.

You ran away. Promised yourself, never to return.
Every now and then your calls for money
told us you were still alive somewhere
and life was still treating you harshly.
We wanted to give you more than money,
but the static on the phone
kept you from hearing our words.
Your silence grows with the years.

One time, I could smell
the strong scent of alcohol on the phone;
but I could not tell how long you had been crying.
I'll never forget how, I never felt connected to mama
tumbled out of your mouth.
Your words finally express the torment.
I feign at understanding the pain.
That wasn't enough, you then blurted out:
I want to call mama and apologize for killing papa.
Your confession stunned me
woke me from the night stupor. I stood up.
I knew well enough, papa died in bed, reading the paper.

Explaining, that intense moment next to the bed,
you could not remember
papa ever touching or holding you.
The absence of his cariños kept you
from placing the nitro-glycerine,
his doctor prescribed, under his tongue.

I understoodd how important it is
for fathers to touch their sons, to hug them,
to tell them that they love them.

In between our sobs,
My body throbbed with emotions.
I wanted to hold you in my arms, forgive you.
I wanted for you to forgive yourself.
I wanted to touch you like a brother.
My soul ached for you to feel: my love.

Explaining death broke my silence;
uncertain I really understood my own words;
but remember repeating several times:
it was not your fault, papa died. It was not your fault.

I'm not sure what you heard. My memory fails me.
Were you a pall bearer?
Where did you sit in church?
Were you with us at the grave site?
Questions that quietly hang between the lines.

I want to call you Bozo, Cepillo, names of affection,
I want to tease you, call you out,
the way your girl friends did on the phone:
Is Maarrrrio there?

More than anything, I want to repeat,
Madio, I miss you, I love you.
I want to call you home, where you belong.
Yes, I want to call you home where you belong.

Trinidad Sánchez, Jr. Poettrino@email.msn.com
3/5/96 - San Antonio, Texas

La Muerte de un Aguila
April 22, l993
In Memory of Cesar Chávez

In San Luis, Arizona
el arco iris appears
the rain stops,
the earth is silent
the sun's temperature rose
the corn straightens itself
in the afternoon heat.

In Gila River Valley
the moon weeps behind a cloud
the ocean's waves wash ashore
the flowers open up
rushing forth their fragrance,
trees stand tall, strong,
clouds celebrate a symphony of thunder
el cielo turns azulado
the mountains tremble
y los quetzales regresan a la selva.

In Delano, Califas
Xochipili, Xochiquetzal y Tonaztin

sadly smile proudly. The holy
bow their heads, farmworkers pray
others in their thousands
search the ground for a lost feather,
a token of his passing,
la muerte de un aguila.

Martyrs and heros dan la bienvenida
to the arrival of this eagle.
En el pueblo de Sal Si Puedes
choirs of cathedrals chant canticles

In the city of angels
politicians whisper: We have lost
the greatest Californian
of the twentieth century!

La Muerte de un Agulia
like the death of a Chicano warrior
is not an everyday occurrence
sometimes the loss of a friend,
like an eagle taking flight
returning home,
evokes sad feelings in one's heart.

In San Antonio, Tejas
nuestro antepasados sound trumpets
to all directions of Aztlan-
calling us to struggle on
for la justicia y la paz!


Trinidad Sánchez, Jr. Poettrino@email.msn.com
6/5/93- San Antonio, Texas

Chuco Pachuco Carnal
for Jose Moreno (d)

In the "colegio" where the establishment
sends our best Chicanos is where we met.
What was there for me to teach you-
against all odds you educated yourself
and stood taller than all of the guards
who kept watch your soul would not escape.

Today, your sister wrote me:
. . . lo siento mucho a informale
que José paso a la otra vida 16 meses atras
pero antes se reconsilio con Dios.

Did God offer a better deal?
It was what you always wanted
to be
to be free
to be on the other side.
Curioso, the manila folder with your name,
containing tus cartas y poesías
inside the file cabinet
kept rising above the others like magic
or tratabas de dicer me algo.
Me pongo loco trying to figure out
what it is you are telling me.

I remember how con tu sonrisa
you gently corrected me, the teacher-
pointed out "Hispanics are not in prison!
Raza, they lock up Raza," you said.
We laughed: I learned a lesson.

Rereading your cartas, anger overwhelms me
knowing the establishment is still crazy
locking up our Raza.
I want to tear down all the walls
melt down all the bars and chains
that for too many years incarcerates, locks away
. . . genuine souls like yourself.

Your soul escapes . . . taking a deep breath
my chest feels heavy around my soul.

Trinidad Sánchez, Jr. Poettrino@email.msn.com
6/21/95 San Antonio, Texas
Published in XY Files, POEMS On The Male Experience, Sherman Asher Publications

For Bert Corona

Te oigo mi hermano,
te acompaño en tu canto
formando comunidad
buscando la justicia.
Bien que lo sabes--

it will take more than the river
to divide our brown canela colors
which give us strength,
it will take more than the mountains
to separate nuestra sangre
which gives us life,
it will take more than the desert's heat
to dry our thirst for justice,
it will take more than link fences
to fragment los sueños
de tanta raza nueva!

It will take more than English
for us to forget who we are!
Somos de la misma tierra
el mismo sol nos quema
la misma lluvia da la vida
al maiz/frijole sembrada.
Te oigo mi hermano--

as long as there is breath
cantamos las cancións nuevas,
con el arco iris a nuestra espalda,
siguimos organizando
a un futuro liberado!

Trinidad Sánchez, Jr. Poettrino@email.msn.com
1991 San Antonio, Texas

Poems by women to, for or about men

Daddy... Society Has Decided To Keep The CHANGE

I heard that daddy's care about their children
I thought you might have wanted to come and tuck me in
Cause my sheets are short
My sheets are short daddy
I wanted my sheet to be tucked in
I woke up late in the night
I couldn't sleep
Cause my sheet was too short
They say daddies’ tuck you in
I was wondering
I heard about this girl
Ya know
Her daddy combed her hair
I thought you would want to care
Whether or not to help me comb my hair
I heard that
There are daddies that care out there
Thought you might want to comb my hair
Did you see him?
I saw him
He was a man
He was pushing the baby's carriage
It had a child in it
It was his child
He was pushing it
The other baby was walking with him
I saw him
Did you see him?
I heard daddies do that
You should have seen her
You should have seen her
Cause let me tell you
She looked all-raggedy
Her dress was all crushed up
She had pants under it
Her hat did not match
You should have seen her looking all-raggedy
But she looked like a princess you know
Because... she was doing the ballerina dance
She was very proud
'Cause her daddy put her clothes together today
He kinda didn't know how to iron it
She danced a ballerina dance
Did you see him?
He was pretty proud of her pretty crushed look
I heard that
Sometimes daddies do that
There is a Cotillion going on
There are many girls that are coming out
At the Cotillion party
Their daddies stand around looking rather proud of them
I heard that
Daddies kinda do that
At graduations at many a place
You can sometimes see daddies standing in their place
I heard that daddies do that
You might wonder what it is that I am trying to say
When I say.. It just doesn't happen this way every day
How do I find the words to say?
I only heard
Some daddies do it this way
How does one come to grips with?
You may never have the pleasure
Of experiencing your Daddy
Maybe there are daddies out there
That care enough
To bring
A revolution of change

Patrice C. Queen, ecirtap@uswest.net

His World

Come to my world, he says
Come see where I live
Come see the things I see
Come see where I am happy
Come breathe the air I breathe
Come live the wonders that I live
Come love those that I love
Come to my world, he says
Come see where I have been
Come see how far I've come
Come see my past
Come share my present
Come see my world, he says
The world that brings me peace
Come share the joy that I have found
Come to my world, he says
Come to my world.....

Martha Silva, Martha.Silva@tdh.state.tx.us, 512.794.5134

A Puppy Called Puberty

It was like keeping a puppy in your underpants
A secret puppy you weren't allowed to show to anyone
Not even your best friend or your worst enemy

You wanted to pat him, stroke him, cuddle him
All the time you weren't supposed to touch him.

He only slept for five minutes at a time
Then he'd suddenly perk up his head
In the middle of school medical inspection
And always on bus rides.

So you had to climb down from the upper deck
All bent double to smuggle the puppy off the bus
Without the buxon conductress spotting
Your wicked and ticketless stowaway.

Jumping up, wet-nosed, eagerly wagging-
He only stopped being a nuisance
When you were alone together
Pretending to be doing your homework
But really gazing at each other
Through hot and laxy daydreams.

Of those beautiful schoolgirls on the bus
With kittens bouncing in their sweaters.

By Adrian Mitchell



Time was their enemy.
Time, he said, we need time.
She didn't want time,
All she wanted was to be with him...
Time is our friend, he said.
We will do everything you want...
In time.
But, there was never enough time
Time was nowhere to be found.
Time became their enemy.
He was always occupied with life.
Time, she said, we need time.
We will, he said, tomorrow
there will be time.
The hours they spent together were never enough.
I have to go, he said.
I've run out of time.
Time, she said, there is never enough time.
They never truly had enough time
to see each other,
to feel each other.
Today, they look back and realize
they should have made time.
But... time has run out.
There is no more time.

Martha Silva

Anti-War Poetry - Over 13,000 writings.

Abbie Hoffman described a goal of guerilla theatre as "Yelling theatre in a crowded fire". As the fire continues to grow more crowded every day, more and more of us are finding our true voices. The following website is a great source of eloquence and inspiration, and perhaps a help in your own soul expressing its voice. There are some great anti-war/pro-peace poems (13,000 to search through) at this website: poetsagainstthewar.org Here's a description of the Poets Against the War project.

In late January, Sam Hamill called upon writers to "reconstitute a Poets Against the War movement like the one organized to speak out against the war in Vietnam." He asked writers, “to speak up for the conscience of our country and lend your names to our petition against this war” by submitting “a poem or statement of conscience to the Poets Against the War web site.”

The response was overwhelming. Over 13,000 poems were submitted including work by Adrienne Rich, W. S. Merwin, Galway Kinnell, Robert Bly, Marilyn Hacker, Grace Schulman, Shirley Kaufman, Wanda Coleman, Yusef Komunyakaa, Katha Pollitt, Hayden Carruth, Jane Hirshfield, Tess Gallagher, Sandra Cisneros and former Poet Laureate Rita Dove. Poets Against the War collects the best poems submitted to the website. This anthology is both a cry against impending war and a celebration of the long and rich tradition of moral opposition and dissent by American writers and artists. To be published as an anthology against the war.

Call and Answer
-- Robert Bly

Tell me why it is we don¹t lift our voices these days
And cry over what is happening. Have you noticed
The plans are made for Iraq and the ice cap is melting?

I say to myself: "Go on, cry. What¹s the sense
Of being an adult and having no voice? Cry out!
See who will answer! This is Call and Answer!"

We will have to call especially loud to reach
Our angels, who are hard of hearing; they are hiding
In the jugs of silence filled during our wars.

Have we agreed to so many wars that we can¹t
Escape from silence? If we don¹t lift our voices, we allow
Others (who are ourselves) to rob the house.

How come we¹ve listened to the great criers -- Neruda,
Akhmatova, Thoreau, Frederick Douglass -- and now
We¹re silent as sparrows in the little bushes?

Some masters say our life lasts only seven days.
Where are we in the week? Is it Thursday yet?
Hurry, cry now! Soon Sunday night will come.



The souls of people, on their way to Earth-life
pass through a room full of lights;
each takes a taper-often only a spark-
to guide it into the dim country of this world.

But some souls, by rare fortune,
are detained longer-
have time to grasp a hand full of tapers,
which they weave into a torch.

These are the torch-bearers of humanity,
The poets, seers and saints,
who lead and lift humanity out of darkness, toward the light.

They are the law-givers the light-bringers,
way-showers and truth-tellers,
and without them,
humanity loses its way in the dark.



Here is calm so deep, grasses cease waving.
Everything in wild nature fits into us,
as if truly part and parent of us.

The sun shines not on us but in us.

The rivers flow not past, but through us,
thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell
of the substance of our bodies,
Making them glide and sing.

The trees wave and the flowers bloom
in our bodies as well as our souls,

And every bird song, wind song,
and; tremendous storm song of the rocks
in the heart of the mountains is our song,

Our very own, and sings our love.

John Muir, founder of American conservation movement, poet, nature mystic

A Poem About Boys

A heart is not a play thing,
a heart is not a toy,
but if you want it broken,
Just give it to a boy.

Boys they like to play with things
To see what makes them run,
But when it comes to kissing,
They do it just for fun.

Boys never give their hearts away
They play us girls for fools,
They wait untill we give our hearts
And then they play it cool.

You will wonder where he is at night
You will wonder if he's true,
One moment you will be happy,
One moment you will be blue.

If you get a chance to see him
Your heart begins to dance
Your life revolves around him,
Theres nothing like romance.

And then it starts to happen,
You worry day and night
You see, my friend, you're losing him
It never turns out right.

Boys are great, though immature
The price you pay is high,
He may seem sweet and gorgeous
But remember, he's a guy.

Don't fall in love with just a boy
That takes alot of nerve.
You see, my friend, you need a man
To get what you deserve.

So when you think that you're in love,
Be careful if you can
Before you give your heart away
Make sure that he's a man.

Seize Sexual Safety Hazards by Jodi Van Dyke

Effects of un-responsible sex
are more real than you expect.
You could be next,
if there’s no self respect.
and in a minute your life seem wrecked.
Careless acts equal big mistakes.
Before regrets are up, see what a difference prevention makes.
Avoided available choices, becomes unsecured risk.
When ignorance is practiced, the safe route is dismissed.
Lost in false ideas of bliss,
because knowledge is missed.
Pause for a minute, a little intervention.
Get yourself some contraception.
When it’s too late there is no redemption.
No going back on what your partner fails to mention.
Syphilis, herpes, and HIV;
“I can't believe this is happening to me.”
Pregnancy: a possibility too.
Use of a condom is nothing new.
Abstinence doesn't have to be hard to do.
Be sure, before you decide to share.
If you're gonna’ give it up, first give a care!
Before next to someone you decide to lay,
listen to what the experts have to say.
Check out your local health department today!

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire;
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something;
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times;
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations;
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge;
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes;
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary;
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

………author unknown

Poetry Contest

Compete against other poets for great prizes in a fun and entertaining way-directly from your computer. All you need is a telephone, and guts enough to get out there and compete. Please note: This site provides an open and free opportunity for creative expression. As such, it may contain content and materials which may be inappropriate for children. Please use this site responsibly.

Because of the popularity of this new form of interactive entertainment, there are now many bashes occurring at the same time. Each Bash begins with 64 competitors, divided into 16 brackets of 4 competitors each. Feel free to view and vote on as many competitors as you wish, however you may only vote one time for each competitor.

How the voting works:

As a part of our Internet audience, you comprise our judging panel who will determine the prizes awarded to the contestants. After viewing each competitor, you will rate that competitor from 1 (terrible) to 10 (brilliant). Your score will then be averaged into all the other scores for that competitor to result in an overall average score. At the end of each 2-day period, the top two finishers in each bracket (group of 4 competitors) advance to the next stage, and so on until there is a single winner.

The Prizes:

Each individual winner receives a winner's medallion crafted from pure silver (value of $50). Each month, Poetry.com Editors will select the $250.00 Grand Prize Winner from among the individual Bash Winners for that month. All winners will be notified by email and, at that time, will be requested to provide an address to which the prize will be sent.

Please note: Medallion and cash prizes can be won only once every six months per household. Winners' checks will be issued only to the name as entered online.

Source: www.salepending.com/Poetry.asp

Other's Poetry

To Those Who Teach the Children Shame

Shame on you -
with your acid tongues methodically etching
away at the tender capsule that
protects the guiltlessness of our
children from your disturbing thoughts.

Shame on you -
for deliberately pitting their delicate
shells so that your teachings of
humiliation will have a surface on
which to adhere.

Shame on you -
for disguising yourselves as teachers
when you have not yet confronted
your own truths and fears so often
laden with guilt and contradiction.

Shame on you -
for limiting a child's self-discovery.

Shame on you -
for causing the mothers to withdraw
their children from artists' view.

Shame on you -
for interrupting my vision.

Susan Copen Oken



Dorothy Law Nolte

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.

If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.

If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.

If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns what envy is.

If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.

If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.

If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with recognition,
he learns that it is good to have a goal.

If a child lives with sharing,
he learns about generosity.

If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
he learns what truth and justice are.

If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.

If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If you live with serenity,
your child will live with peace of mind.

With what is your child living?

Source: Canfield, J. & Wells, H. C. (1976). 100 ways to enhance self-concept in the classroom: A handbook for teachers and patents. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

*    *    *
The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness. - Christopher Morley

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