Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Poetry Jam: They have such pretty mouths

Logan, 9, Branson, MO

where are all the men?

all the mothers on hard metal bleachers
aluminum teeth eating into their ample posteriors

talk, talk, talk

while i try to watch practice:

'Oh, it's so stiff...i spent $214
on school supplies...think i pulled something
at the Y...we should do manicures
while they play...it works better with a darker
color under it...'

boys throw their bodies into each other
picking up mouth pieces from the mud & dirt
where they spit them gasping for breath
after the last play, pop them back in
& lick their lips, sweat no longer rivulets
it is their skin

'skinny jeans...did you see...we went out
to eat at...that teacher is such a...johnny has a rash
where the pads rub his...'

grunting, back to the ground, they exhale fountains
bang their helmet heads, bleed, grass stain pants,
faces smudged, limping to the line again...again....

give them a week,
     give them a game

these moms will bring their husbands,
there will be swearing angry voices, referees
trembling at the vehemence, testosterone filling
the air, finger pointing & not the nice kind

& nothing will calm them
their pretty painted mouths having never been
so dirty, as their husbands blush & i
will still be asking

where are all the men?

written for Poetry Jam.

72 comments:

CiCi said...

Good thing the mothers have time to come to practice and cheer the kids on as they learn to play with others. That snow cone is so inviting.

Mary said...

Interesting that so many mothers bring their kids to practice. Wonder if there are dads in these families or if the dads are still working. Hopefully, they are not just disinterested. Sounds like some of the women need to tame their mouths though. Yes, where are the men indeed?

Whoispattinsonrobert? said...

They have such pretty mouths
"where are all the men?

all the mothers on hard metal bleachers aluminum teeth eating into their ample posteriors..."


Hi! Brian...
Thanks, for sharing the photograph Of your son Cole, and asking the question in your poem...
"where are all the men?..."

...as you point[ed] out[very descriptively] the women..."potty" mouths:
Oops! I meant to type...

deedee :)

Mary Mansfield said...

Really thought-provoking writing here! I have to agree about the petty viciousness women can show at times, definitely not a pretty thing. And I've often wondered where all the men have gone, seems that societal standards have beaten many of them into a sissified and feminized state of submissiveness. Lots to ponder from this one, thanks so much for sharing with us!

G-Man said...

Hmmmm....
You sure "Delivered" on this one Son...:-)

JANU said...

Good observation here. Parents can be possessive and think only that their kids are the best...seen their meaner side too.

Grandmother said...

I'll tell you where the men weren't and that's at their daughters' team sports. As the mother of only a daughter and a never-miss-a-game parent, my Honey was ever and always the ONLY Dad present from elementary and middle school softball to high school swimming. It was eerie and heart breaking.

Teri M said...

I see this a lot. But I do see a lot of great dad's in our community too so there's still hope.

Susan said...

Nicely drawn!

"& nothing will calm them
their pretty painted mouths having never been
so dirty, as their husbands blush . . . "

It's been decades since I've been to little league practices and games, but you put me right back there eavesdropping in all directions with
both ears and eyes.

Interesting to me that you bookend your poem with the ladies' words, not very interesting in the first case and highly attention getting in the second case. The poor kids! Or do they expect these performances from their significant adults? I feel that part of what you are saying is that the men might model better behavior. Is that true? Is the title part of that idea?

"They have such pretty mouths" sure makes me think! Very cool.

Susan said...

PS: And the kids real dirt mouths in parallel to the ladies' dirty mouths! How cool is that!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I LOVE this - love the contrast between the sweaty struggling kids and the moms' conversation. I can well imagine you wondering "where are all the men?"

Magpie said...

I love that twist!! Wonderful, Brian. I was once one of the mothers taking my son to baseball practice. At the time, I was the only one to do it and had to take off of work early, but I enjoyed that time winding down. I have to say, I wasn't one of the moms who did the things you describe. He didn't like it when I called him "Babe" or "Baby" as in "That's the way to do it, Babe!" He was seven then. Now at almost 33 he would love it. :)

Steve E said...

ALL THE MEN? Where ARE they???

At George's Liquor Emporium?
In church?
Home "CAT-sitting"?
Cooking dinner for the weary sports-minded?

Or even MUCH worse...
at Starbucks blogging hmmmmm!
--grin-a-roni

(I REALLY DID enjoy the game, the youthful enthusiasm. But WHERE were all the men?)

AmyLK said...

I was always the one to take Jakes to his practices. I'd sit there reading a book while Jakes practiced.

Tara Miller said...

I agree, the men do need to be there. They have such a huge impact on the way their children perform when they're there....I've witnessed this. Plus I know that Cole always likes it when you're there and looks to make sure you're watching. I rather enjoy the practices and games. It fun, plus I'm actually learning the positions and rules....but not the dirty mouths of fans on the sideline.

SueAnn Lommler said...

Their sweat is their skin....loved that line.
I don't know that the men can be trusted...so much testosterone fills the air when they come. Fights break out between them. Not good at all.
Hugs
SueAnn

Friko said...

Women's talk, the same the world over. Boys learning playful violence early, practising to become men;

Why are men needed here? They'd spoil the picture.

Magpie said...

Brian, thanks for passing on the hug. I almost feel like I'm there with you guys! :)

Wander said...

Enjoy your son Brian...and when the boys dressed as men show, remain the voice of reason

Pat Hatt said...

LMAO now I know why
You go up on the hill to spy
Listening to places of a rash
Would surely make me want to dash
And yeah their mouthes will turn dirty
But right now they are sure flirty

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

OH! This rings SOOO true!! Written by a guy sitting just waiting for practice to be done...the things you MUST learn!!! OY!
SO FUNNY!

kaykuala said...

Fathers have responsibilities. They are not there. They're busy making money. Mothers have too but of a lesser kind.So they accompany the kids. Great write, Brian!

Hank

Mrsupole said...

Hi Brian,

Maybe they need one of those "Potty Mouth" jars and every time they use a curse word then they have to pay up. And by the end of the season you should have some serious money. It could be used for a great party, or help with the cost of uniforms, or even donated to a Charity. You could start a "Potty Mouth" Charity amongst all the teams and vote for a charity to donate to.

Great poem and maybe someday the dads will show up.

God bless.

Daydreamertoo said...

I bet those umpires/refs whatever you call them do get a bit worried about these angry parents who hurl abuse and threats too. Good grief it's bad enough to see it all on TV. You are right though, where are all the men, indeed. It would drive me crazy to have to sit and listen to those women. You're a better man than I am Gunga Din ;)

Lizzy said...

...Excellent!

Don't leave home without them.

Alice Audrey said...

Hah! Where indeed? It was the same with wrestling while my son was still interested in it.

Anne said...

You have a way of turning social commentary into verse and making people exam these issues in new ways. The roles of men and women are very confused in today's world and many men don't know what is even expected of them in this post feminism world. Women have become men and men have become emasculated. Personally I don't favor it.

Willow said...

Many interesting things in the poem. The mothers with their pretty painted mouths don't pay any attention to their sons being ground in the dirt, mouth pieces brushed off and reinserted, bloody, sweaty, dirty, and where are the men, who might at least pay attention to the game, and who are the kids playing for, themselves or their parents? Such a dangerous game for young bodies, especially heads, and then when the men do show up, the poor sportsmanship, the swearing and the anger, where are the men?

Willow said...

Many interesting things in the poem. The mothers with their pretty painted mouths don't pay any attention to their sons being ground in the dirt, mouth pieces brushed off and reinserted, bloody, sweaty, dirty, and where are the men, who might at least pay attention to the game, and who are the kids playing for, themselves or their parents? Such a dangerous game for young bodies, especially heads, and then when the men do show up, the poor sportsmanship, the swearing and the anger, where are the men?

Claudia said...

i think for boys it makes a big difference when their dads take the time to take them to practice... though over here, once they can ride a bike, most kids go on their own to their sports training and the parents only show up for the games.. think that is a bit different compared to the states.. still...i think it's so important that the men show up and participate in their lives..and way too many are just too busy with their work and can't make it...sad..

ayala said...

A great capture, Brian. So true their pretty little mouths so dirty :) love that .

manicddaily said...

Ouch!

You are right. A lot of adolescents though. Crazy.

love the manicures and the sweat, and all that to-come testosterone, though the women can be pretty crazy at the games.

And the mouthpieces. k.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Working? Coaching?

Why'd you have to make all the moms have big butts? lol

Monkey Man said...

back when I helped coach the team for our local school I always said the moms are the worst...you captured it to perfection :)

hedgewitch said...

Good one brian--very vivid visuals of the kids playing so seriously and for real, and the adults zoning on themselves. Got to stick up for your gender--maybe,even when bemoaning its absence when needed? But at least the nannies aren't bringing them, and neither parent ever shows I guess. Sounds like we're both revving on a nice brainfreeze bite of bitter snowcone today.

daydreamerdreams said...

LMAO...very funny and so vivid! You lent life to your words here, like watching a motion picture! I love the insights into the conversations. Great job!

Mama Zen said...

All I can say is that if I had boys . . .

^.^ said...

Hilllarious, B ... (and so true) :)

Rachel said...

hilarious, but SO thought-provoking.

Poet Laundry said...

Good question Brian...and I think I know these ladies...have sons in sports myself :)

SaraV said...

oh wow, did this ever bring back memories! Those metal benches do bite *smile*
Very well written scenes and commentary--really enjoyed this

happygirl said...

I was glad I was able to be home and take my kid to practice while my husband was a sea, defending this country. This ruffled my feathers. Good luck in the job search.

Heaven said...

You raise an interesting question, where are all the men? I think its important for boys to have a strong role model in their fathers ~ I agree that some mothers get carried away in these games, in between the gossip and swearing ~

Happy day to you ~

Gloria said...

Like always you draw so well Brian:)
Love your son picture!!
Whe mine were littles and I go with them normally I went with a book:)
Not always Im good to talk with women:(

SandyCarlson said...

The ladies are doing hard time, and it will pay off even as their social life has its payoff now.

Peggy said...

Such a skilled description of this scene--and it rings so very true in many ways. I wonder if the kids think about there being mostly moms there.

Betsy Brock said...

Taylor never wanted us at practice...that's just not done here...but gosh, I never missed a game. And now I miss them so soak it all in..they grow up so fast!

haha..had to laugh at the chatting going on around you...brought back memories. Oh, you do learn a lot, don't you?

sonny said...

interesting visuals here brian...

dunno about where the men are...but hey...i believe in the zen of swearing and flippin those birdies...grins

Hilary said...

The men are at the other child's game. Games and practices are never coordinated between kidlets.

Margaret said...

Awesome! You know, you MIGHT look cute with blue manicured toes. :)

Enjoyed this one a lot.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Oh, boy, my husband's Mom (I knew him when he played pee wee baseball) was the loudest mother there! His Dad was always at the bar...but I think he turned out okay. :-)

Fred Rutherford said...

love this observation/analysis/reflect in here. The teenspeak is priceless, really nailed the language here.

Ravenblack said...

I only ever been to one softball game when I visited a friend in the States. :D I've seen only a little of what you described here. Made me smile.

Valerie said...

Loved this, Brian. Seems to me that modern women swear a lot more than men. I'm thinking of going out with cotton wool in my ears.... grins.

the walking man said...

ha ha ha hahahahahahaha! Another reason to enjoy solitude and avoid crowds.

She Writes said...

HAH! I've sat at many events like this. The moms are mixtures of birds and bears. If you are coaching, YOU ARE the MAN! :)

Goat said...

I like the twist at the end where men come and still you ask where the men are. NIce social commentary. Like the push.. Don't get me going on being counter-cultural hahaha.

Unknown said...

Interesting place to cultivate a study of our families and our culture. Hopefully the absence is not a sign of a break down of families, hopefully dad is just working. Then again, the cackling hens pretty much tell the story. Can we roll some real men in and shut these women up?!

Archna Sharma said...

Sorry, again, it was me. :)

Daniel said...

I used to bring my daughter to gymnastics. I was typically the only dad there. That's O.K., I wasn't there to socialize.

Laurie Kolp said...

I just love this, Brian. I can picture it all too well. So many sit through practice and don't even watch their kids... and when the games begin, well, I guess it's always going to be the same... unfortunately.

Sue said...

My hubby was at work during the practices, but he never missed a game.

To be honest, I usually dropped my guys off at practice. (I was sort of anti-football, but not quite avidly enough to rain on their parades entirely.)

It was our compromise, my not having to watch.

;)

darkangelwrites said...

Yea Momma bears shouldn't go to games even the sweetest of us get a little narrow minded and totally biased.

Zuzana said...

I guess the men are working.;)) Luckily here i Scandinavia, the men work as much as the women, and the dads are very much part of their kids life.;) I can see how much my husband takes part in every activity his kids are involved in.;)
xoxo

myheartslovesongs.com said...

HA!

Syd said...

Maybe gone for soldiers everyone....reminds me of the old folk song Where Have All the Flowers Gone.

adan said...

wow, quite an indictment! so where "are" all the guys, even when they're there ;-) darn good question

all set up nicely from the first lines,

"all the mothers on hard metal bleachers
aluminum teeth eating into their ample posteriors"

that's an image ;-)

RMP said...

"& I will still be asking where are all the men." sweet! you make me look forward to watching the game (and enjoying the "energy" of the crowd).

this was nice. I could feel myself sitting on the bleaches--half listening half watching.

Simone said...

Brian, you never cease to amaze me with your words. I swear you are like a fly buzzing on the wall (in a good way...not in a bad way) because you capture emotions and feelings vividly. And to think that those moms probably have no idea that you are taking in their conversations.

flipside records said...

"aluminum teeth eating into their ample posteriors" ... What in the world?! This is awesome! Yeah, those bleachers are bothersome to the behind. :)

"'Oh, it's so stiff...think i pulled something at the Y" ... [snicker] If only. Then they'd have something interesting to talk about.

"lick their lips, sweat no longer rivulets
it is their skin" ... I love the sound here. So raw and gritty. Perfect description for football.

"their pretty painted mouths having never been so dirty" ... Hee hee. Such a good point. You can't ignore a kid's "practice" and then expect the "game" to go well. This applies to a child's upbringing as a whole. It's the day-to-day hands-on stuff that affects the outcome, the win/lose status---particularly when it comes to character and self-esteem.

Wow. What a tight ending: "as their husbands blush & i
will still be asking
where are all the men"

Superb writing, sir.

Lorraine said...

they sure can get angry over a game...please what job? are you a coach? you'd be fabulous, but there's no clue do tell

teri said...

Insight abounds... I am glad you are there with your boy.