Treasure Island

Maya Angelou

(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)

Men


When I was young, I used to
Watch behind the curtains
As men walked up and down the street. Wino men, old men.
Young men sharp as mustard.
See them. Men are always
Going somewhere.
They knew I was there. Fifteen
Years old and starving for them.
Under my window, they would pauses,
Their shoulders high like the
Breasts of a young girl,
Jacket tails slapping over
Those behinds,
Men.

One day they hold you in the
Palms of their hands, gentle, as if you
Were the last raw egg in the world. Then
They tighten up. Just a little. The
First squeeze is nice. A quick hug.
Soft into your defenselessness. A little
More. The hurt begins. Wrench out a
Smile that slides around the fear. When the
Air disappears,
Your mind pops, exploding fiercely, briefly,
Like the head of a kitchen match. Shattered.
It is your juice
That runs down their legs. Staining their shoes.
When the earth rights itself again,
And taste tries to return to the tongue,
Your body has slammed shut. Forever.
No keys exist.

Then the window draws full upon
Your mind. There, just beyond
The sway of curtains, men walk.
Knowing something.
Going someplace.
But this time, I will simply
Stand and watch.

Maybe.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Comments about this poem (Men by Maya Angelou )

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  • marvin brato (10/28/2013 9:22:00 AM)

    Well, this reality...both men and women are meant for each other.....complimenting in all ways through life culminate in sex! (Report) Reply

  • Patricia Grantham (6/17/2013 8:44:00 PM)

    A very passionate write. Constantly looking and desiring
    the male gender. When fantasies are bought to life the
    object of devotion soon becomes something to back
    away from. (Report) Reply

  • Daniel Mcdowell (1/30/2013 8:40:00 PM)

    Great poem yet very shocking. I didn't want it to be about rape, but it is a very good poem about that.

    Also, I figured out why the verification code doesn't work at times. You need to ensure that the cursor is not still inside the text box. Click outside the text box and then click submit and it will work. Please spread this and thump it up as I know this annoys many people including myself. I hope this helps. (Report) Reply

  • Madhavan Edasseri (9/10/2012 10:34:00 AM)

    Maya Angelou's tryst with reality is gripping and triggers strong flow of empathy from readers... Good reading even in this century! It is interesting how girlhood's pain finds universal appeal; Kamala Das in her Introduction portrays her disillusionment after her first lusty love. (Report) Reply

  • Dahlia Fujiwara (7/19/2012 1:24:00 AM)

    It's a beautiful poem but sad that it's about when she was raped when she was 8 years old. It's amazing how the most beautiful and soulful people have their talent born of sorrowful circumstances (Report) Reply

  • Ladawn Trice (3/13/2012 12:01:00 PM)

    filled w such pain and honesty.... something meant to be so delicate, soft, sensational, joyous.... giving up a specialty, an invaluable treasure that can not be given back to receive a moment of pleasure(being wrapped in their arms) filled w pain... loveable-pain (oxymoron) (Report) Reply

  • Gajanan Mishra (1/30/2012 9:44:00 AM)

    Very Fine. I like your poems verymuch. I am impressed.
    Will you please express your views on my poems.

    Thanking you
    With regards,
    Gajanan Mishra (Report) Reply

  • izzy Barnwell (12/28/2011 7:13:00 PM)

    EVERYBODY: Did you know my real name is Isabelle.Read my poems Your Kiss Burns, Smile With Tears, Behind Your Caramel eyes. (Report) Reply

Read all 45 comments »

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