I Don’t

I Don’t…

mind, listening to a ‘grown’ man cry

tell him to “man-up”

relish the strength of a man
surreptitiously trained
out of fear

respect the ignorance of a man
beaten by society into stupidity

defend his ‘need’
to be unfeeling

like that women
often take advantage
of a man’s DNA-driven focus
or his love
expecting princely treatment
yet display themselves
to the better bidder…
and often leave for him
only to return when they see
how shallow and stupid
and dishonorable this is…
all the while asking for

I Don’t

like that in this country
most everyone perpetuates
the naiveté
of women
including the women
nor that this is all
to serve the stupidity
of most of the men

(or, their ignorance)
and their sense of entitlement
which makes
kingdom-less princesses
out of most of the women

I Don’t…

defend a woman who tortures
a man,
regardless of her reasons
in fear:
of abandonment
of insufficient support
or even of loss of love

I Don’t…

lack any compassion
for stupid men and women, and

I Don’t…

like using the word ‘stupid’,
but the outcome
of society is largely
ubiquitous stupidity
and men & women perpetuate
so I name it what it is


I Don’t…

like that stupidity rules most human life;
and man-made female-naiveté
or that it all trumps love

I Don’t…

like that a people can live amidst
space-faring-age technology
and still emote like cavemen

I Don’t…

like that tens of thousands of men
suffered the horrors of war
so people around me now
and forever, can live in luxury

nor that they seek to deny it
and forget it
because the nations that paid for
that freedom benefit

I Don’t…

like that my blood:
my dear uncle;
a lover, a brother, a son, a beloved, and an artist, a poet, a musician…
saw his friends killed, here
and went mad for a time, himself,

that he sweat through dreams
of that hell
for the rest of his life–
so horrid, that he couldn’t visit me here
or the man that was an orphan boy
whom my soldier-uncle raised
on Geohjae Island–
when the nightmare was real
and bad dreams were a respite from battle
and I don’t like that I am disrespected
by the children of those my uncle saved
because I share his nationality

I Don’t…

like that my and other nations
preach peace and democracy
but do not teach it
so after the horror
tribalism prevails

I Don’t…

like that my nation killed 3,000
Jeju-ans, because
they looked communist

I Don’t…

like that my nation
torched sixty Japanese cities
and dropped the rage of the sun
on two more of them
for the horrors Japan committed
and to frighten the world
and that the Koreans think
the Japanese didn’t pay

I Don’t…

Like that we dropped
chemical weapons
on the Vietnamese
and that the Koreans helped
because we paid them
yet they rail about the cruelty
of the Japanese

I Don’t…

like that I and my friends
and family
paid for these and other wars
which aren’t only for freedom
and that we have to stay here
but I know
there wouldn’t be ‘a here’
if we didn’t
and I wish you appreciated it

I Don’t…

like that the rest of my life
is painted one color
because of happenstance

And I don’t mind crying


Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.


A Note About This Poem to Feminists:

If you find offense that I generalize about women, I applaud your sentiments that are aligned in issues of equality. However, I would not agree with you if you were to say that I should negate my experience as an expatriate resident in a Confucian country, where the roles of women were maddeningly codified and thus quite in line what I have conveyed in this poem. Now, I often struggled with how to describe my subjects without offending, but simultaneously struggling to impart a message to a definite group exhibiting definite behavior that is deleterious to the human soul. So, as I penned poems about my experience and pain of living in South Korea, I often bent to remove the label of that country to avoid having to deal with the ignorant charge of “racism” (the use of that stupid word!). Had I used the name of the country, I might have prevented this moment, because you would not feel I am labeling the behavior of all women, but that of those in a group. But alas, the truth is, some women in all cultures do what I have described in this poem, and I am not obligated to make that statement of gendered behavior neutral, because it is poetry, not sociological dissertation that I write. In addition, were no women in the experience of others found to act as I have described, and had only the women in my life acted that way, then I would still have the right to describe those women as “women” and be justified as a poet in doing it. Finally, it would not, as my writing now does not, make me sexist. It only makes me human, describing human experiences. I am not sexist; I am honest, forgiving, and descriptive. MA

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Carl is a Tokyo-based Writer, Artist, Videographer and Voice Actor from New York interested in Japanese, Ukiyo-e, philosophy and aerospace. For more about him, see his About pages.

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