2006 – Joe Benevento – Tough Guys Don’t Write

Poetry selection from the 2006 issue

Tough Guys Don’t Write
by Joe Benevento

Posers from Hemingway to Junot
from Bukowski to Eminem have never fooled
folks with any sense, anyone who’s ever
really met an actual bad ass.

The real deal hardly ever reflects
and never in tranquility,
doesn’t take the time to find words
to express what he always finds expressible
with a fist or a blade or a gun.

I’m not saying a writer can’t be mean
and almost anyone can abuse drugs
or sometimes win a fight,
but there’s a reason writers
want you to know they once
worked construction, survived
the ‘hood, didn’t dodge
a purple heart;

there’s a reason really tough
women and men can always pull
the writer from a line-up
of purported thugs,
scars or sneers notwithstanding:

as soon as you’re ready
to write a novel,
rap yourself into a sonnet,
stage your life for all the world,
you forever after can only
posture not to care
what others might think
and feel.

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