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poem: “I want to be That Man”

June 8, 2008

thatMan1997ARTLIFElisten here man.mp3

You can read and listen at the same time if you open 2 windows;
music and production by Emil Brikha

I want to be
that man
that man on the telephone in the airport
that man I walked passed
that man.

I want to wear
his brown saddle shoes
his argyle socks
his soft sage corduroy pants
his creamy cotton oxford shirt
his cashmere vest
his tweed jacket
his tortoiseshell glasses.

I want to
run my hand through my thinning sandy hair
push my glasses up my sharp nose
rub my chin and
think about shaving clean the night’s stubble from my angular face.

I want to
talk in my man’s voice, make my man’s deals, make my man’s money.

Now, do you think
do you think if I
walked over to him and
unlaced my black boots
removed my socks
unbuckled my belt
slid my Levi’s over my hips
unbuttoned my silk blouse
revealed my breasts
do you think
do you think if I
stood naked in the airport beside him
he would let me put on his clothes and be him?
Would he let me live in his Chicago apartment and feed his tabby cat?
Would he let me race around the lake in his powerful lean man’s body?

Because if he would, I would like to feel how it feels
to become aroused the way he becomes aroused.
If I was he, I would take my slender man’s tongue
and dance across my lover’s body, stopping
to savor the flavors with my man’s tastebuds
before I graced myself oh so carefully in.
And then, and then, do you think my man’s body
knows how not to get too excited too quickly?
my mind knowing I could come and come and come
and not watch each day for ovulation, for blood?

You see, it’s not that I want to be intimate with him.
I want to intimately be him.
Instead I get on my plane and I marvel over Ohio on that man
that man on the telephone
that man in the airport
that man I never met.

You can listen to it w/o music as part of nila northSun’s interview with me on Blogtalk Radio. (I read it near the end of the hour long interview.)

For more poems about watching, go to readwritepoem; or ride the poetry train!

23 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2008 12:49 am

    Cool, great production values on the mp3 really reinforce the kind of spookiness in the poem, like the narrator is a spirit capable of doing what she is dreaming of. A kind of mind warp poem. Very cool.

  2. nathan1313 permalink
    June 9, 2008 6:32 am

    This is a great one. You capture the speaker’s intense desire to inhabit the identity of the subject. And isn’t this a basic poetic impulse, to inhabit someone/something, to strip away the self, penetrate and speak from the subject’s perspective?

  3. June 9, 2008 8:21 am

    An intense poem about desires to be different, I thought.

  4. June 9, 2008 11:39 am

    I like this. Thoughtful and intense.


  5. June 9, 2008 12:54 pm

    Really enjoyed this. You did a good job of expressing thoughts I’ve often had…….only an exchange mind, a weekend, any more and I’d start to miss me.

  6. June 9, 2008 2:11 pm

    An interesting exploration of those random thoughts we have, those brief moments of curiosity while observing strangers. Vivid details, engaging all the senses.

  7. June 9, 2008 6:14 pm

    as a woman gracing a man’s identify great ride through the airport…

  8. June 9, 2008 9:47 pm

    thanks everybody for your comments!

    and thanks to all who stop by to check out this poem!

    I hope at least some of you listen to the mp3–it should just click and play for you and the production values really are nice–and it’s brief, maybe 2-3 minutes.

    Emil is a super talented dj/musician/composer/poet. Emil recorded it when he was on a North American tour and performed at the venue where I hosted for 5 years as well as at the community college where I teach. He also recorded numerous other performance poets (including folks like Taylor Mail) in order to put together a cd.

  9. June 10, 2008 12:04 am

    I concur, it’s one the best made mp3’s I’ve heard in bloggoworld. I’m jealous.

  10. June 10, 2008 12:13 am

    I love this poem so much. I can see and hear the man in the airport as clearly as the narrator. And I can relate to her intense desire to walk in another person’s shoes, to know what makes another person tick.

  11. June 10, 2008 4:18 am

    What a great recording, AP. Good production. You always find the coolest musicians, too.

    I think I remember when you wrote this poem!

  12. June 10, 2008 4:18 am

    PS did you show read the human movement video on my post? did he like that one?

  13. June 10, 2008 4:19 am

    Oh, how funny, I just wrote read for Reed.

  14. June 10, 2008 4:36 am

    thanks, DD, I know you’ve heard me perform that poem a time or 2! i hope to do some recording with some musicians here this summer; we’ll see. they’re students of jeff kaisers and really quite good–louis lopez on trumpet and maxwell gauliteri on guitar. we did a little something awhile ago and if i get it together we could do more stuff before they go on to cal arts where i will tell jen hofer about them (that’s where she teaches the grad poetics course)

  15. June 10, 2008 11:45 am

    wow really intriguing, especially the fifth stanza.

  16. June 10, 2008 6:44 pm

    Excellent piece. I find the depth of curiosity compelling, and quite sensual — a sexual tension arose as I read.

    In the end, I was very moved, and left with my own curiosity — with regard to the nudge within your id that inspired the writing.

    The recording of the work was wonderful, and the music bed was wholly engaging. Overall, a captivating and immersive experience for the listener.

    I began about a year ago, recording MP3’s of myself reading my poems — high resolution stereo audio with music beds. Most satisfying! I am slowly working toward capturing all of my work in MP3 format.

    I applaud you for being sensitive to the power of a quality, well-mixed recording.


    I will return to investigate more of your work.


  17. June 10, 2008 7:26 pm

    Wow…incredible. I love the idea, and how you’ve executed it.

    I’m at work, so can’t listen…yet. I can hardly wait.

  18. June 11, 2008 6:23 am

    Thanks again everyone for the positive response!

    I do hope you get back by Deb, to hear it!

    Thank you so much Rob for your thoughtful and lengthy response! I plan to get by your site soon and check out what you’ve been doing auditorially!

    To partly answer your question, Rob, I was in the Chicago airport waiting for a connecting flight. ON the way to the bathroom, I saw a man on a payphone (this dates the poem, doesn’t it!). Our eyes met and I was overwhelmed with curiousity, with desire to live his life and discover it. I was working on another poem but when I got back ont he plane I ditched it never to return in order to compose this one. By the time I got to SF, my draft was quite similar to what’s here.

  19. Skip permalink
    June 13, 2008 8:45 pm

    Pretty good.

  20. Skip permalink
    June 13, 2008 8:59 pm

    no I’m not interested in the mp3. .


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