Toxic man

Lately, things that annoy me include: beer and lads and birds and banter.
Because whenever they’re linked to toxic man.
They just lead me to certain anger.
Like Professor Banner getting cursed by gamma.
Cos toxic man is a backstabber.
Who just grins as he turns his dagger.
And I’m fast learning I can’t hurt this gangster.
He’s untouchable, a myth.
This is me versus Santa.
So when I face this street fighter, it might be electric.
But all I’m doing is getting burnt by Blanka til I turn and scamper.
Shell-shocked, like Thor.
Knowing maybe I didn’t earn the hammer.
Cos how do I call out guys I know, when their ‘friendly’ comments are so passive aggressive?
Alpha male 101.
Classic defensive and lacking perspective.
Cos when it comes to bonding with other men, these lads are in the dark ages.
Real feelings hidden, raiding each other’s houses like masked bailiffs.
Treating their peers so poorly that they surpass shameless.
Never facing the darkest parts of themselves.
At best, they grasp basics.
And endlessly toy with people’s emotions.
Then swan off like they’ve passed blameless.
Taking their lead from the piss-take patriarchy.
People like Trump, the psychopathic statesman.
Or narcissistic assholes like Patrick Bateman.
Those that think that one good deed is a massive statement.
But, hold up.
I’m wailing on these guys like I’m better than them.
Which has me under the weather again.
As this vendetta brings its own pressure.
And really, I’d rather just settle for zen.
But I’m bull-headed.
My mind at war like a minotaur.
Cos now, it seems, I’ve gotta wrestle a friend.
With fire and brimstone, til my rebel ascends.
To then face off with the devil again.
Til one of us meets with a terrible end.
Cos how can I call myself feminist, if I’m only slightly better than the guys I accuse?
If feminism needs allies, do I have a right to refuse?
Can I live with myself if I find an excuse?
Maybe I should be less try-hard and more die-hard.
And just say yippee ki yay before lighting a fuse.
I mean, at that point, what would I lose?
It’s hardly like these toxic guys were good friends in the first place.
Those that remember my birthday.
Not that that’s enough.
Cos I need connection on a deeper level.
Vulnerability with another man because we need this peril.
Til we grow and know how we can be this special.
Cos we’re cracking open new emotions.
Which, whilst thrilling, mean our knees now tremble.
Cos it’s tough stuff.
But doesn’t leave us with a weakened temple.
Nah, this is training day and I lead the way.
This is me and Denzel.
So let’s keep it central.
Cos modern masculinity doesn’t need to be this stressful.
I mean, I could sketch out how we fix man, I just need a pencil.
And I get I’m rambling, and that this whole scheme is mental.
And maybe the impression I gave, was that I seemed all gentle.
But in actual fact, I’m ready to crack toxic heads til I get lost instead.
Cos certain men are a cancer.
And it’s high time that we stopped this spread.

Painted ghosts 

They drift in and out of my life each day.
Their faces adorned with stark, lurid colours.
Warpaint, as they go about their business.
Are they even real?
These automatons. These androids from outer space.
And whilst their expressions are seemingly blank and impassive, they are also revealing.
There’s a crack or two beneath their cool facade.
But what does it mean?
Are they just lost in thought or, almost imperceptibly, communicating with me?
Do they even see me?
Or am I just grey background? White noise?
Perhaps I’m the ghost and they’re the most tangible thing in this world.
Wearing their warpaint proudly, like armour.
For each day, to them, must surely be a battle against the grey ghosts of patriarchy.
The menfolk who leer and lust, all licentious and salacious with their gaze and their thoughts.
For I am one. I should know.
Maybe as men we should paint our faces, too.
For our own insecurities are buried, perhaps even more so.
Hidden behind layers of bravado and testosterone.
The knowing nod to a fellow male.
The slightest of hugs.
The tough guy handshake.
Beer. Curry.
For we are men.
And we’re out of our caves now.
Our spears have been replaced with smartphones and laptops.
We’re just a few clicks from killing that woolley mammoth. That saber-tooth tiger.
Or ordering some more crap on eBay.
(assuming we can stop watching porn for more than five minutes)
So maybe colour is what we need?
Brush strokes of empathy across our face. The eyeliner of compassion.
The mascara of understanding and acceptance.
God, this is starting to sound like the weirdest fantasy game ever.
But there’s hope in these ramblings.
There must be.
For these painted ghosts and forgotten men.
All trapped in the ether between realities.
Drifting through life with abandonment.