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My Men - By: Gwenna Cochrane Halinda

I learned silence from my men For Dad, my words are kindling Grandpa loves a debate

“This is fun,” they say

As if they aren’t my warden

“We should do this again sometime.”

Anger carried by ten mothers

Passenger ship, classroom, voting poll

I cradle and kiss the cuts of my women

I wonder if blood will ever leave my mouth

I’ve grown to crave it

“Receive what is due us for the things done in the body”

There is a matchstick in my soul

Somewhere between my third and fourth left rib

She stomps her foot, naive

“We’ll make them pay. You’ll see.”


Speck of dust in a man’s eye

“Condemn them at the last day”

I never thought I’d see eighteen

I dreamed of life tearing me away Like my women

Fire, my first and last kiss

The final disaster

“Thrown in the lake of fire”

I want to be your darling girl Hugged and kissed and cleaned

By father, who loves me

Maybe then would grief be crowned

I want to be twelve and be okay

“Every empty word you have spoken”

Grandpa pinches Grandma’s bottom

He laughs, winks, slaps my shoulder

My fists clench under the table Father’s anger boils in me

Fuelled by the droning drip of scotch whiskey

“Bring every deed into judgment”

Who am I if not man’s adjunct

Bleeding and heavy and rude Born to see beauty

And know it’s not mine

Maybe one day I will truly exist Free from the noise of my men

Please give a detailed explanation about the meaning and main idea of this poem.

This poem is an expression of my unresolved hope and grief for the care of the men in my life, mainly my father and grandfather. I think about cycles they chose to continue, burdens that have been carried by every woman in my family, and unjust double standards. It is about the silence I learned from the men in my life and a recognition that my silence will stay with me - but maybe, just maybe, not too much longer.

Please explain your writing and thought process regarding this poem.

Brain dump onto the page. Organize it into stanzas. Reword, flip, count, subtract. Metaphor here, allusion there, double entendre. Read it again - does it still hurt? Yep.

Why did you choose to write this poem?

I had a need to express the unbalanced grief I experience around father figures.

Do you have any tips or anything to share with the youth writers who may be reading this?

Dig into the corners of your mind that feel like cavities - angry, raw, tender.

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''Dig into the corners of your mind that feel like cavities - angry, raw, tender.'' keeping that in mind for the next time i write . I know im going to come back to this poem , re read it , and see something i haden't seen ,again and again and again . Wonderful piece of work :)

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