Larry Says

it was humor that opened
even the toughest woman

if you got her to laugh or smile at
somethin’ you said, you were in there

when I was growin’ up,
part of bein’ a man was knowin’
how to talk to a woman

if you were datin’, you didn’t show up
at her place empty-handed either

after dabbin’ myself with English
Leather, I’d run to the drugstore
for flowers and candy

the smoothest of the smooth
would be outside his lady’s spot –
holdin’ a bottle of ‘Bird with
the Whispers or Stylistics
vinyl under his arm

but we far from those times

today, I stood in a parking lot,
shakin’ my head after a boy
cussed a woman out for not
givin’ up her phone number

young people frustrated

chivalry’s got a headstone –
the kids call it role reversal

but I’ll never get used to watchin’
a woman open a door for her man

what kind’a man he s’posed to be, anyway?

folks today would say he metro-
somethin’…. in my day, we’d call him
somethin’ else

can’t forget our youth
with old souls

just when I’m ready to give up
on this generation, somethin’
keeps me hopeful

like the other night, I seen
this woman struggle to get
her coat on.. a young man
helped her

and all she could do was smile

yeah.. he in there

~ Alan King

Alan King’s fiction and poems have appeared in the Arabesques Review, Warpland, The Amistad, and Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS, among others. A Cave Canem fellow and Vona Alum, his work was also part of Anacostia Exposed, a collaborative exhibit with Irish photographer Mervyn Smyth that showcases the life and energy of Anacostia.

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