Intimacy secured behind the titanium door of Puritanism’s vault
and you just might know the combination.
You who have arms to embrace my most vulnerable emotions
and words to bail me out whenever the machismo police
haul me in for questioning. I fill out an access request,
submit to your background investigation.
Will you reveal yourself a sleeper agent for conformity?
Your phrase “Be an adult” code for “Do what I want.”
Your spontaneity only my father’s hidden vodka bottles.
Your independence his self-inflicted smoker’s cough.
His hacking woke me the Christmas morning
I found a tie and electric razor under the tree.
“Welcome to adulthood, son. Pretend you like it.”
Acquaintances tell me they caught anvils of obligation
when their brides threw bouquets. The new wives cover mirrors
and heap retribution on any honesty loud enough to penetrate earplugs.
These men live the lives of wallets,
their days spent on corporate suicide missions,
only to come home to nights at negotiating tables
with adversaries cagey as North Korea.
Their emotional lives an exercise
in Mutual Assured Destruction.
Jon Wesick is the host of San Diego’s Gelato Poetry Series and editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He has published over three hundred poems in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Pearl, and Slipstream. He has also published over seventy short stories. He has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest. Another had a link on the Car Talk website.
Hikkikomori – Japanese term for shut ins.