Boys Don’t Cry by Kenneth Bucker Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate

Today a man stared at me after crying at a funeral
Tears streaming down my face
I wonder if it was a rare to see a man who knew that emotion existed
At a young age, whenever I fell off my bike
I was told suck it up, be a man
Taught that the only way to be super is to be a man of steel
That boys will be boys but lacked to mention
That those boys will become young men
Young men who were told who they should be instead of who they were
Creating a conflict of self-identity
So it’s not a mistake that men are the ones who go through a midlife crisis
This is a crisis
There are days when I go digging for myself in graveyards because I feel buried alive in my emotions
But I am told to keep my feelings in the grave because a man must be strong
A man must not show any signs of weakness
A man must stand tall even at the times he feels short
Women are not only ones who wear makeup in the morning
But I woke up like this
My flaws are the only things that remind me that I am nothing less than a man
That I am nothing less than at all
There are men out there who are failing under the pressure of pretending to be perfect
Men who find pills because they do more than the prayers ever did
Eventually the pills become a pistol and bang that’s how the story ends.
In the United States, men are 4 times as likely to commit suicide as women
But those men are dead long before they decide to pull the trigger
So men ask yourselves
Will you ever stand behind metal bars for the murder of your identity?
How much of yourself have you buried six feet under within the depths of your insecurities?
Did you have enough courage to write the obituary?
What about the eulogy?
Teach me that being sensitive does not equate to being feminine
Teach me that who I am will not be thrift shopped to society
Teach me that it’s okay to lose myself
Teach me to find myself
When you are little, they will always tell you about the boy who cried wolf
But you will never hear the story about the boy who cried for help
Maybe because no one cared to listen to him
Maybe because his pride and dignity drowned out his screams.
Maybe because they thought his scars were from falling off of bikes but they were from falling off of mountains
Sometimes when you have the weight of the world on your back
You forget that you are living in it
That your heart is still beating
That there are vibrations in your pulse
Oxygen in your lungs
That you have emotions
That you are human not a God.
But even God cries sometimes.
His tears are often mistaken for the rain.
Your tears are often locked up in chains.
Let them free.
Let them flow like a waterfall because you may not see them again until next spring or four summers.
Sounds a lot like Fort Sumter
There is a civil war going on in our men these days
And we’ve neglected to count the casualties.
Instead we call them survivors knowing damn well that parts of them are no longer living.
Parts of me are no longer living.
Last week, a man stared to me at a funeral
For the rivers flowing down my face
I should’ve told him that I had already cried for his death too

Sofia Snow