Pieces of a Man
Listening to Gil Scott Heron paint a picture of a broken man in his song, “pieces of a man.” I wonder if there was ever a time in which men were not broken.
“Scattered jigsaw pieces, thrown about the room,” sounds like the most accurate description for even the best of men. Made so by the puzzle presented at the dawn of human civilization. The quagmire of putting together the idea of a man. The pieces of which are so fragile they’re wrapped in aggression. Not so much to protect it from shattering, that is an exercise in futility, but rather to make sure that when it breaks, it breaks outwardly. Not allow for self-examination, if we crack you feel it.
Some break bad, and some break good, but in the end, we all break as we try to force the spectacularly unique experience of life into the frame called man.
I imagine that many are unaware of the breaks and so they remain stagnant, and like the broken bone that heals before being properly placed they are unable to grow. Crippled as the puzzle remains incomplete, they hang onto to hope that they can yet become, “real men.”
It is an impossible feat, the real man being as elusive as Bigfoot, the loch ness monster, and other imaginary beings. Many have claimed to be real men, only to fall prey to the same weakness of fake men. And counterfeit men find the courage to be real from time to time. Erasing the line between the two and drawing it back once more in a constant struggle to paint our image in the shifting sands of social consciousness.
But I am real, am I not? I feel real when my piece is inside of my love, and if my dick makes me a man, then I am a man. Except I know, one day it will not make me a man in the sense that it will not function in the way a real man’s dick is supposed to perform. So what then, will I then become fake? If my fragile piece breaks where will I hang the mantle of a man?
Maybe it can sit on my vast piles of money. Because as we Know all real men are successful and in a capitalist society success is measured in bank notes. Except I have very few bank notes to speak of as I write this. I wonder if that disqualifies me from this discussion seeing that being broke means you ain’t-a real man. Though my father, on the contrary, was not broke and he wasn’t a real man because he did not take care of his son. Somewhere along the line, the pieces of his image must have splintered because he cut me so. I tried to put his pieces together for my sake, how can a boy grow into a man without a father’s image to guide him. But my father had a father according to my mother, and he is broken all the same, a real man evades us once more.
I can hear the resentment of real men as I write this, “just cause you ain’t-a real man doesn’t mean I’m not a real man,” and I must admit that they have a point. Their belief in what they are makes them real in the same way that nothing can be made real until it is imagined so. What is belief anyway, except for a strong feeling of confirmation in what you imagine to be true but can not prove? What proof is there in the case of the man that does not at the same time both confirm his claim and destroy his argument? There will always be a man that defines himself so in a state that is in contrast to another’s definition of manly-ness. Exposing all evidence to be less than shallow as any statement that can explain two contradictory outcomes explains nothing at all.
“She didn’t know what she was doing; she could hardly understand. That she was only speaking to, pieces of a man.”
A woman’s curse from birth is the broken puzzle of a man. She can only see herself in man’s fractured reflection, that is if she is to be a good woman in a man’s world. And this is a man’s world is it not? The male form falls victim to the rule of man, and the female form even more so. No being has yet to successfully stand up to the will of man including the human being. We suffer at the hand of man now because we have suffered at the hand of man for so long that we cannot imagine ourselves with first imagining man. The male hopes to one day become a good man as he filters his life through the prism of masculinity. The female wishes to free herself from the ire of good men and have had to do so by reaffirming the man’s masculinity. She must be a lady so that men can be men and gorge themselves on her form and if she is not a lady, then she is exiled from civil society and civil treatment. Her body is made to face physical and verbal assault. This explains why the female body is at the front line in the battle for equality between the two genders and not her mind.
But the female mind, for so long constrained by the belief that her body existed for the sake of man, has always been in the process of reimagining the female body for itself first and foremost.
Today, old and archaic reasoning crumbles against the modern argument for a freely feminist world. As females check Adam’s rib at the door we are presented with the company of a new woman or should I say a more liberated female. More so than the male, who is now forced to pick up the pieces of his own delusional identity without the drafted reinforcement of subjected femininity.
We watch them fall to pieces every day, the matchsticks men and the bronze alike. So it has been since the first man was declared and so it will be until the last man rests his eyes. Pieced together with by the will for control they fall apart as the glue grows weak and control slips beyond their reach.