RIP Harold Norse

I’M NOT A MAN


I’m not a man, I can’t earn a living, buy new things for my family.

I have acne and a small peter.

I’m not a man. I don’t like football, boxing and cars.

I like to express my feeling. I even like to put an arm around my friend’s shoulder.

I’m not a man. I won’t play the role assigned to me- the role created

by Madison Avenue, Playboy, Hollywood and Oliver Cromwell,

Television does not dictate my behavior.

I’m not a man. Once when I shot a squirrel I swore that I would

never kill again. I gave up meat. The sight of blood makes me sick.

I like flowers.

I’m not a man. I went to prison resisting the draft. I do not fight

when real men beat me up and call me queer. I dislike violence.

I’m not a man. I have never raped a woman. I don’t hate blacks.

I do not get emotional when the flag is waved. I do not think I should

love America or leave it. I think I should laugh at it.

I’m not a man. I have never had the clap.

I’m not a man. Playboy is not my favorite magazine.

I’m not a man. I cry when I’m unhappy.

I’m not a man. I do not feel superior to women

I’m not a man. I don’t wear a jockstrap.

I’m not a man. I write poetry.

I’m not a man. I meditate on peace and love.

I’m not a man. I don’t want to destroy you.


Harold Norse

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4 Responses to RIP Harold Norse

  1. Nik Perring says:

    I LOVE that. Thanks for posting. Sad loss.

  2. Yes, a good man gone.

  3. Lally says:

    Yeah, thanks for that man. I don't remember ever reading that before. Where's it from?

  4. It's one of the most posted of Norse's poems, and it just felt very apposite right now, although I suppose it's always apposite. I first came across his work in the Gay Sunshine anthology Angels of the Lyre, and one of my favourite poems is the one he wrote about Lorca's murder, printed there. That's probably the one I'd have posted if I'd had time to key it in. Reading a lot of him together you see his influences clearly, Ginsberg and O'Hara stand out, but also a lovely consistency of tone that makes him original. And, of course, his courage, which is perfectly displayed in this poem.

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