disney dream vocation

it’s the newest attraction
at disney world
kermit the frog
and moana
teaching vacationers
about vocation

moana leads out:

“maybe it’s something
that’s been burning within you
since you were tiny
something you’ve tried to ignore
or fight
in order to live up
to expectations
but you cannot fight it
suppress it
or ignore it
it picks you up and carries you
like an ocean wave”

then kermit hops in:

“or maybe it’s something
you’ve never seen within you
in all your years
of stargazing and dreaming
something you’d never imagined
until a bewildered prophet
with the voice of god
rows up and lays on you
a vision
of people made happy
made happy by you
so you pick up
and pack up
and you get on your bike and ride”

“whatever you do”
they both implore us
(we the small kids
with our mickey-ear ice creams
we the exhausted parents
resplendent in our cargo shorts
we the young adventurers
plotting our fastpass strategies)

“whatever you do
when you do hear that call
you must stop what you’re doing
and listen”

Men’s Rights

I am a Men’s Rights Activist.
Now, I know what you’re going to say:
are their rights really in need of some activism?
Don’t men have all the rights already,
pretty much?

Well, actually,
I believe that we men could use a few activists.
Maybe we could use a whole bunch of them.
I believe there are a load of rights that we men are currently lacking.
I believe it’s time that this injustice be set right.

Now, I know what you’re going to say:
These so-called rights…
just what are these rights, exactly?

Please, from my own hard-won expertise as a man,
allow me to ‘splain.

I believe in the right of little boys who like dolls,
or daffodils,
or the color pink
to be free of the shame we are fed every day.
To be free of the coercive insistence
that we separate ourselves from the trappings of girls.
Because we are “better” than girls.
Because girls are lesser.

I believe in the right of chubby teenage boys
to be free of the shame of mean locker-room taunts:
“Girl boobs girl boobs Croghan’s got girl boobs!”
I believe in our right to be free of hatred of our own bodies –
a hatred so deep and lasting
as to keep me from taking off my shirt in public
for the next thirty years.

I believe in the right of men who love charm bracelets,
or “chick flicks”,
“girly” cocktails,
or crop tops – even pink ones –
to be free of the shame shoveled on us by men – and women.
To be free of the coercive insistence
that we separate ourselves from the trappings of women,
because we are “better” than women.
Because women are lesser.

I believe in men’s right to love cooking,
and crochet,
and collecting candles. Scented candles.
I believe in men’s right to enjoy parenting,
and pole dancing,
and feeling pretty.
I believe in men’s right to wear lipstick. Fuchsia lipstick.
I believe in men’s right to weep at that moment in the movie
when the heroine finally inhabits her true self.
I believe in men’s right to hug and touch and hold hands with other men.

Even straight men. Even cisgender men.
And absolutely queer and trans men.

I believe in men’s right to be free
of these rusted chains of patriarchy,
which burden us, and bind us, and block us off from our true selves –
just like they do to everybody else.

Yes, I am a Men’s Rights Activist, and this M R A is here to say:
It is long past time for me to get active.


scour the hills and hollows
find yourself a master

when you meet her
you will know her

she could be an ancient monk
who exudes transcendence
one who studied for decades
in the stillness of cave or cell

or she might be a 12-year-old girl
who has closely observed
the ways of snails and garter snakes
and the laws of electrical power

it does not matter
you must find her

do not sit at her feet
(that’s a cliché
and besides
you need to clearly see her hands
and her face)

sit at the table beside her
as she eats and chats
and writes and designs
let her show you how
to work out the algorithms
of spirit

(don’t shudder at that word
“spirit” is just nature unclouded
which is to say
nature full of clouds
brimming with beauty
she will teach you this
if you let your shields fall down)

be patient
learn by example
and soon you will see
how the soul engines are made

one day you will invent your own
and the master will giggle
with gratitude and delight
for you have shown her
a new and marvelous thing

don’t make the error of thinking
you are a master now
you’re merely an apt pupil

(just like her)