Graphic by Rachel Hawley
boys are taught from the start that their dirty hands are badges of honor
that the mud is the best place for all the games they could think of
stomachs flat against the dirt, they are trained to crawl under barbed wire
is it any wonder then,
those boys grow up to be men, blood mixed with the grime under their fingernails
praised for skinned knees by their childhood friends, they skin their knuckles searching for that same approval
boys are bred for violence
boys are taught that silence is their best defense but at some point, silence becomes trying, and those boys send their feelings to their fists to keep their mouths shut
men are no strangers to the battlegrounds of emotion, but it is a war that takes place between the palms of their hands and the bar of the bench press, do you think
if we turned all the feeling in a man into testosterone, he would finally feel at home in his own body?
when a man stares down his greatest fears, he does not look to his brothers for support
“every man for himself”
there is no love lost in this war
brotherhood is a lost art
there is no time to speak, bombshells are raining down, and being a man is running through a minefield, every step thick with the hot breath of his enemy on his neck,
is it his enemy or his brother?
here, in this rage and confusion, it becomes hard to tell the difference
how long will this war rage, father?
how long will masculinity take this beating
when will the onslaught falter and the raids cease
when will our soldiers come home, and hug their brothers, their sons, their friends
when are they allowed to lie in their own beds,
and whisper to the ceiling how glad they are to have made it out alive