Support Group for Men
Imagine sitting in that converted factory
where once upon a time Asian women
sewed nursing uniforms and never saw
the light of day except for twenty minutes
at lunch over a bowl of noodles,
listening to everything these men have done.
What he sprayed her psyche with,
or how this one’s mother’s eye had a crack
that would wink at him in the shower,
until, at sixteen, he nearly soaped himself.
They all spoke bravely of being potty-trained,
and schooled. Often there were tears,
and much embracing amid a scraping of chairs.
Smoking was permitted at first, then banned.
It wasn’t as fun, not seeing Derek flick his ash
against his propped black electrician’s boot.
The coffee improved with the times,
but no one made any more money.
Whoever had a house still had one,
and whoever had been evicted was evicted again.
Nothing we said had to do with anything else.
I remember after we had confessed enough one night
we came out and smoked in the parking lot,
inhaling gratefully as the city lights danced on the bay
and the sky shone with a clear blackness,
and for a moment we felt we could really breathe,
as if anything might happen, a world of possibility.
A baker’s dozen of us just standing around,
traveling nearer and nearer to the red-hot core.
RANDY GENTRY lives with his family in New Jersey. His stories and poems have appeared, or will soon appear, in the following publications: The New Orleans Review, Crab Creek Review, Firefly/Number One, Illuminations: a Journal of International Writing, Perigee, Barnwood, The Green Hills Literary Lantern, and Mangrove Review.