Inspired by
That Two-Thousand Yard Stare, 1944

The Price, 1946


I am man.
I am strong, I am patriotic, I am sacred;
I have arms that lift and throw and embrace;
I have legs that hold me up, that kick, that walk;
I have stomach that sustains me, that merges two halves of me, that binds me;
I have hair and face and soul and ideas, I am man.

As man, I protect.
I protect country and child and woman;
As man, I use arms to hold gun, to throttle, to give orders and crawl;
As man, I use legs to run, to jump, to climb astride machines;
As man, I have stomach that aches with hunger and disgust, but I am man and I am strong.

I have throat that contracts and mouth that yells;
I have fingers that pull pins and triggers;
I have love and hate that break the love of another man, the hate of another man.

But my hands shake, I am man.
My legs buckle, I am man.
My stomach rejects its sustenance, I am man.
My body bleeds and my mind breaks.

I am only a man.