Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 6 No. 3 | Fall 1984 (Seattle) /// Issue of 24 /// Master# 57 of 73

)H MAN I sidestroked through college and into the real world with a head confi- dentlg overstaffed with mod ideas, a malti-sgl- labic mouth and a smart-looking face. Verg few knew I was drowning. there was a new game in town. Our sexuality and how we portrayed it became of vital importance. And being a fast runner, great hitter, or effective hider had absolutely nothing to do with Mary’s or my success in this game. In fact, it seemed to detract from our victory potential. It had me stumped. I didn't get it at all. Sexuality had changed all the rules. By some quirk of fate, I was invited on a handful of dates during high school. But I was lousy at dating. The air was always so thick, yet blank. And first dates never became second dates. And I never really clicked into anybody. And nobody ever really clicked into me. / Think: Therefore I Am I I hen college marched in, I knew I had to formulate a more workable solution. In 1969, college demanded sexual know-how. Modern concepts regarding revolutionary sexual relationships were flying through the air en masse. It seemed mandatory to at least appear on top of it all. Thank god concepts were so easy to learn. Because I was a brain, concepts were the easiest. So I sidestroked through college .. . and into the real world ... with the same basic experiential ignorance, but with a head confidently overstuffed with mod ideas, a multi-syllabic mouth and a smartlooking face. Very few knew I was drowning. The concept I liked the most had to do with limits. And not having them. I featured myself an anarchistic explorer. I could become involved with anyone in any way I wanted. We could make up our own rules. Or have none at all. We could be free. Oh, viva la revolution! To make a long story short, this concept did not work. I had a jagged feeling in my mouth, an exhausted feeling in my brain, and a starving feeling in my heart. After By Leanne Grabel eleven or so years as an active participant in the sexual arena, there were some lovers I couldn’t even remember. And I didn’t even know the addresses of the three men with whom attempts were made at the Big Bond. There was something terribly off. I obviously didn't know what I was doing, where I was going, or what was the point. The point is at the end of the pencil. James Rockney Attemptee #2 And then the reaper showed up. And the last failed relationship pushed me further off the edge than I should really have been going. And I wasn’t really ready for my exit. It was time for Concept Re-evaluation. Bear Wrestling: The Meat o f the Matter / met Hemingway and he was probably the most macho of all machos. The first question he asked me, really, the first thing he said to me was, Have you ever wrestled a bear?' I said no. And I laughed. And later he told someone he thought I was a little shit. Art Buchwald 1 needed to learn about men. I had been walkiig around all those years believing men were no different than me. That like with Mary, Billy and me, we could all just run, jump and play .. . maybe bring in a dab of sexuality here ... a dab of lovetalk there... but basically, everything would still be the same. Straightforward. Easy. And fun. I already know that I’m the girl. UH OH She's the girl But at our essence Our souls have No boobs. UNFORTUNATELY, these moments of quintessence ... of elemental bonding and total communication . . . were just that: MOMENTS. Apparently, I was living in a dream world ... by myself. And I had to come down to earth, so I could live my life .... with men included. And it would feel like living. A few months ago, like a godsend, I met a 24-year-old, redheaded man, trenchcoated and hatted in brown. While (as he later admitted) letting me beat him in pool, he told me he had just been released from the Marine Corps. That he had done time in Grenada. The Marine was an anthropological find. He spoke in a new way, which was really an old way, which was really a new way. The Marine thought that manhood was the point. He was proud of his manhood, and he loved it. The Marine was the meat of the matter: man at his rawest. In junior high school Big Max was a problem. We’d be sitting during lunch hour Eating our peanut butter sandwiches And potato chips. He was hairy of nostril And of eyebrows, his lips Glistened with spittle. He already wore size ten and a half Shoes. His shirts stretched across a Massive chest. His wrists looked like Two by fours. And he walked up Through the shadows behind the gym Where we sat, my friend Eli and I. “You guys, ” he stood there. “You guys Sit with your shoulders slumped! You walk around with your shoulders Slumped! How are you ever going to Make it?" We didn't answer. . . Big Max was ready for the World. It made us sick To look at him. Big Max Charles Bukowski No Polished I 'enom / 1 therapist I know said that most of the males who go to therapy these days are in their 30s (as a m i) ... and are those who were most touched by the concepts of the '60s (as was I). They go to therapy to rediscover their manhood. Because the modern propaganda of the ’60s taught them to seek out their womanhood. And to strap large cement boots to their manhood, forcing it off any pier. The Marine, however, is only 24. He is not of the ’60s generation. He was born in 1960 in a small, hardcore, blue-collar town in New Jersey. His father has only one leg, as eventually do all of the men in his family. It’s congenital. And the Marine’s ankle is hurting already. The Marine did not ride with the Superlative Seekers of the Sixties, even though I am sure he is looking for Freedom and Truth. He just happened to join the Marines. The Marine’s dreams have nothing to do with computers or corporate America. He just wants to build a house on some unspoiled plot of beauty in ethereal Maine, so he can get away from the fear in our citified scramblings. He knew he was warping in Jersey. He just happened to join the Marines. Coming from where I do — overbrained middle-class, Jewish America — I have never met a Marine before. And Jewish fathers, although they also want to rule the world, rarely choose warriorhood as their method. So the Marine is easy game for derision. Slyly, I could rant and rave about fascist foolery. And the stupidity of philosophies that focus on muscular flexion. I could tease the Marine. I could tease manhood. I could write with polished venom about how ugly raw aggression really is. Then there's always guns, grenades, Grenada, the crew-cut- ted recruiters I talked to downtown. And OF COURSE Ronald Reaguns. But it is old. And it is boring. And it is not the point. I just want to understand this manhood business. I want to understand it so I can bring men down to earth. And stop sparring. Like the ’60s-inspired men of whom the therapist spoke — the men who drowned their manhood for the sake of modern theories — I have stripped my natural instincts to fuel my modern brain. But I want my natural instincts back. I went too far too soon. I cast off everything The Marine was an anthropological find. The Marine was the meat of the matter: man at his rawest. — before examination — and expected anarchy to mother my sexual growth. But like a neglected child, my sexuality turned into a juvenile delinquent: all over the place . . . and nowhere. So ... a blue-collar, brown-hatted man from New Jersey. .. who used to tear doors off at the hinges ... who was vibrant and straightforward .. . seemed the obvious place to begin my remodeling. The Marine was the historical research — the pure data. The Marine was the purest point on the spectrum. He had stripped off nothing. I mean, I was really a punk and an asshole when I went in. The Marine Corps made me a man. The Marine } a Gotta Sen e Somebody I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense. I will never surrender of my own free will. If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all Clinton St. Quarterly