By Steve Jones
I sometimes scroll through the faces of the men who have liked or reacted to a poem or a writing of mine. I see something in us all.
I see something behind the eyes and the smiles knowing what they are holding onto. I know their fear and I know the mask that we men can put on to hide that fear, and to protect our stoic masculinity. Here’s the poem that came to me.
We hide behind our faces of stoic masculinity.
Some afraid to smile from behind our manly beards, from behind our etched faces.
Faces of character, love, and strength.
Our masculinity hides the frailty of fear. It hides our ability to speak.
It hides our inner expression, our willingness to share.
Our pride of who we are, what we stand for. Our innate urge to protect, to guide, to provide.
Somehow the loss of part of who we are burns deep into the fiber of who we are. What it means to be us.
Our stoic masculinity is something that we hold dear. We are more than the sum of one part.
Take all you want but you will not be able to break us. You may bend us, but you won’t break us.
Fear is not weak; it is just an emotion like any other.
Tears are not weak; they are an expression of sorrow and loss.
We are allowed to feel fear and we are allowed to show emotion and we are allowed to have pride in our stoic masculinity.
© Stephen Jones 2022
The Art in the Face of Cancer show referred to in my previous poem went really well. Six of my poems were featured in print at the show in Utah, some accompanying other paintings and sculptures. I also had the opportunity to read a couple to a live audience at the show opening.