Tuesday Poem: In A World Without Pity, A Town Without Fear

Come 8pm we’re locked away

with cable porn, sport from distant shores,
and Evony.
High heels click
down summer-softened streets.
Treble voices flutter tired leaves.
The women are on the prowl
with no quarry but each other.
If I were free to leave
I would watch them hit the bars,
dolled up, in packs —
at least, that’s how they used to be.
Debbie does Dallas, then Dannevirke.
In last night’s game, Drogba shoots, and scores.
My fighter levels up from Level 2 to Level 3.
Time drips from the clock’s tired hands
and slides to pool in the male-proof lock:
a simple trick with DNA.
She’ll come home and maybe she’ll want me.
If I could, I would take her now.
If I could, I would walk away.

Credit note: First published in Men Briefly Explained (IP, 2011).

Tim says: My first two collections, Boat People and All Blacks’ Kitchen Gardens, both have a section of speculative poems – some specifically science fiction, and others that pose (and even attempt to answer) various “what-if” questions. This is a what-if poem from Men Briefly Explained: what if men were locked inside at night?

The Tuesday Poem: You can check out all the Tuesday Poems at the Tuesday Poem blog – the hub poem in the centre, and the other Tuesday Poets’ work linked from the left.

4 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem: In A World Without Pity, A Town Without Fear

  1. A male curfew is an interesting idea, Tim. I found it amusing that the activities the blokes pursue while locked up are not much different from those of many who are totally free to roam the streets, should they so choose. The repetition of the 'd' sound here gives a certain heaviness to the sentences, a little like the slowness of time passing to the men in the lock-up? You manage to include a lot in this brief poem, too. The problem with the idea (despite minor notions of liberty and judging an entire gender by its scummier members) is that most violence is home-based, of course. This makes for a fascinating comparison with Keith's poem posted this week, and the violence there, while mostly male, is seasoned with a vicious woman.Am I right in supposing that Dannevirke is a fairly remote town far from the bright lights?

  2. Thanks, Penelope!This is a \”what if\” poem, so I make no pretensions to having found a solution to anything – and as you say, most violence occurs in the home. I have seen this proposal suggested seriously, though, at least as a trial.I expect that residents of Dannevirke would hotly dispute any such implication. The rest of us might tend to agree.

  3. A very thought provoking poem. Slightly disturbing that the women seem to become more violent without the men. I suppoese the good men are locked up too. do I suppose that all the women have to be out. Hmm good to have a new set of ideas.

  4. Thanks, Helen!I wasn't envisaging the women becoming more violent – the \”prowl\” in stanza 3 was meant to be sexual rather than physically aggressive. But that does seem a bit more ambiguous than I intended, in retrospect.

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