Why the Young Men Are So Ugly by Tony Hoagland
They have little tractors in their blood
and all day the tractors climb up and down
inside their arms and legs, their
collarbones and heads.
That is why they yell and scream and slam the barbells
down into their clanking slots,
making the metal ring like sledgehammers on iron,
like dungeon prisoners rattling their chains.
That is why they shriek their tires at the stopsign,
why they turn the base up on the stereo
until it shakes the traffic light, until it
dryhumps the eardrum of the crossing guard.
Testosterone is a drug,
and they say No, No, No until
they are overwhelmed and punch
their buddy in the face for joy,
or make a joke about gravy and bottomless holes
to a middle-aged waitress who is gently
setting down the plate in front of them.
If they are grotesque, if
what they say and do is often nothing more
than a kind of psychopathic fart,
it is only because of the tractors,
the tractors in their blood,
revving their engines, chewing up the turf
inside their arteries and veins
It is the testosterone tractor
constantly climbing the mudhill of the world
and dragging the young man behind it
by a chain around his leg.
In the stink and the noise, in the clouds
of filthy exhaust
is where they live. It is the tractors
that make them
what they are. While they make being a man
look like a disease.