Unlearning the Man

1999. Bothered by my constant crying my aunt shows me a book “real men don’t cry,” I want to be a real man.

I stop crying.

I don’t understand why real men didn’t cry. I’m just told they don’t. The only thing worse than not being able to be a real man is being a girl.


2007. My grandfather dies. He was a real man. Standing by his grave I try to be a real man, I try not to cry. The tears tickle at the edges of my eyes.

In shame I run away.

In the farm I steel myself. I do not cry.

Sokoro would be proud.



2014. “Fuck you and your poetry. You’re wasting your talent. You could have been a lawyer.”

I refuse to stifle the tears. They flow until my head aches.


In front of the bathroom mirror, my father cries. The mirror gradually disappears.

Or, in front of the bathroom mirror, my father cries. His reflection disappears.

–          Kweli, Views of My Father Crying, Again.



Few things are more precious

than tear drops clinging

to an eyelash

daring each other to jump.


2015. There will be tears.

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