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What Are Men Anyway?
Adriana DiGennaro

And what are men anyway, at least the kind we like? Lean and smiling all wry, we want them, for some reason, all ten of their fingers, both their eyes, each lip, a swatch of hair to swirl as we grin at them, resting our chins on our palms. We want them like things in shop windows and we want them to want us like things in shop windows. We want them to pick us out of hordes of women, bop us on the head and carry us off, caveman clubs dragging. We want to feel like we've earned it-- with something we said, the way we cut our eyes at them, something we wore, what we're standing for-- we want to redeem these things like coupons for the best model of Man. "Did you see Sarah's 1982 Lamborghini, 'Matt'? I want one like that. Just ten more pounds off and I'm qualified for an upgrade." We want to try them on like shoes. How far can you carry me, O New Man? We want to take them out for test drives, measuring things they say on the Scale of Fabulousness, go on red alert at one bad statement, close it out, catch a new man like a cab and try again. We want to feel when they're on alert so we can hurriedly take back whatever was said that made his face shut like that. That terrible turned-off attitude gloom that makes us lay in bed staring and questioning ourselves with every breath. we want to have a few drinks and try again. we want to meet one who smiles the right way, knows how to craft a perfect verbal gift to make us sigh and squeal, back against the door shut against the night with his cologne still floating in it (as he walks away hopefully sighing too, but not TOO much) and we don't know anything and we love it and we want to own the unknown. We want men. To kiss every inch of our bodies and tongue-probe us slow and tell us not to be ashamed of dimpling fat, say "I LOVE your too-thick ankles," kiss our too-thick ankles. We want a Man to take us by the arm and smirk smilingly at our questions and lead us out to somewhere dark. The sinewy-limbed, strong-handed. The ones who make us stew in secret turmoil. We want them so we can have someone to think about when it's a dull moment or a car ride and there are passing lights and sexy serious music. Otherwise thoughts of what? No nothing. Because what are men anyway but deliciously frustrating mysteries? From the outside only a landscape of skin and fabric. Emitting short cryptic statements from a blank face. Instead of saying "Do you have a man?" One should say "Do you have a mystery?" "I want a mystery to come my way." "My mystery John and I have been together three months." "I'm having trouble with my mystery....I just DON'T understand why he'd--" yes, the joy in not knowing! We want the headspin, we want the anxiety, the conflict and resolution. We want him to say nothing on the way home, want to have a fight about something, want to complain to our girlfriends sniffing and snobbling into kleenex, or calmly over Starbucks mochafrappalatteccino drinks. We want Men to tie sterling strings between their hearts and ours. Just some preciousness. We all want this. If you are a woman I suspect it's true of you. You do.

A member of the Academy of American Poets, Adriana DiGennaro studies literature and creative writing at Bennington College in Vermont. Her first book of poetry, Peripheral Vision, was published in June 2001 by Writers Ink Press. Her poetry has been featured in Red River Review, BigCityLit.Com, PoetryBay, The Aurora Review, The Tipton Poetry Journal, Tryst, Ancient Heart (United Kingdom), Eclectica, City Writers Review, Poetry Midwest, Esopian, Adagio Verse Quarterly, Falling Star Magazine, Wonder Writings, Long Island Quarterly, Triplopia, Clean Sheets, Sidereality, Southern Ocean Review (New Zealand), Perigee and The Improper Hamptonian. She was on Red River Review’s list of nominees for a Pushcart Prize in 2001. Her second book, Acts of Contrition, is due out in the summer of 2006 by Writers Ink Press. Her work is also included in The Light of City and Sea (Street Press 2006), an anthology of Suffolk County poetry edited by Suffolk County Poet Laureate Daniel Thomas Moran; Southshire Pepper-Pot: A Literary Feast With Culinary Refrains edited by Chris DiMarco (Windstorm Creative, 2006); In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself edited by Marlow Peerse Weaver (MWE Press, 2005), Whispers of Inspiration: An Anthology of New American Poets edited by Darlene and Steven Manchester (Sunpiper Press, September 2005); Ancient Heart Magazine Poetry Anthology Vol. III edited by Richard James van der Draaij (Ancient Heart Press, 2005).

Adriana DiGennaro
Bennington College
One College Drive
Bennington, VT 05201-6001