The Sunday Poem: James C. Burbank… Why Men Are Such Unmitigated Wimps

I heard Jim Burbank read this poem at Sunday Chatter a couple of weeks ago.  He literally brought down the house.  So relax, lean back, read on, and be confident that your Sunday morning includes a smile or two.

James C. Burbank is director of UNM's Professional Writing Internship Program.  He lives in Nob Hill.

Why Men Are Such Unmitigated Wimps

Most guys know
nothing about

hair curling irons, or
wands as they are called.

This is an act of willful
ignorance, a choice to

obey the dictates of
gender and a

numbing fear of
political correctness

that produces only
mumbling incohesion on

the part of
the male subject.

Usually, however,
baldness, male
pattern baldness

has so predispositioned
the simple, guileless, and
foolish man to a

naked hatred
of hair.

Hair, it is to be
recalled, consists

of dead follicles
leaking from the skull.

Were hair to live,
the agony of a

haircut would make
the poor, disheveled
male cry out.

Secretly he studies
the ways of
the ancients—

the Egyptians, the
Babylonians, the

Assyrians, who curled
and dyed their beards
and hair jet black,

the Minoans, who
curled their hair
and leaped over

the backs of bulls,
the Greeks who
curled their hair

and indulged in philosophy and
public debate—all this

proud history damned
because the Modern
Man has either

gone bald or
refuses to deal
with his hair-curling past.

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 90

Comment by Margaret Randall on January 20, 2013 at 8:31am

These days it feel particularly delicious to wake up to a bit of humor in poetry. The beauty of this poem is that it is humorous and serious at the same time--what often makes poetry sing.

Comment by Don McIver on January 20, 2013 at 8:44am

This poem makes me proud of my full mane at the same time it brings up I never know what to do with the damn stuff.

Comment by James Burbank on January 20, 2013 at 9:52am

I would suggest, Don, that you give that "damn stuff" to me in the form of plugs neatly removed from your scalp. Don't worry, I'll take care of 'em.

Comment by Dee Cohen on January 20, 2013 at 3:42pm

That's the kind of poem that makes my hair curl -without a wand. Thanks for a laugh. Dee

Comment by Izquierdo on January 20, 2013 at 4:34pm

Dead follicles? Balderdash, as any man who has ever gotten a hair caught in his zipper can attest.


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