15 March 2011

Tuesday Poem: Men Briefly Explained - the title poem of my new poetry collection

Men Briefly Explained

My friend and I are talking to
the most attractive woman in the room.

My friend and I are talking at
the most attractive woman in the room.

We're talking big: theories, hypotheses,
each wilder than the rest.

How huge our brains must be!
How fit our genes, to allow

such brilliant and superfluous display!
The most attractive woman in the room

smiles at us each in turn.
She is clearly impressed, and her sisters

are smiling too. We are gibbons
swinging through the trees. Chimps

waving sticks and bones. Gorillas
in the mountain forests,

beating hairy chests
as the poacher Time takes aim.

Tim says: "Men Briefly Explained", which is previously unpublished, is the title poem of my third poetry collection, which will be published by Interactive Press of Brisbane in late 2011. Interactive Press also published Voyagers, the anthology which I co-edited with Mark Pirie, in 2009.

Naturally, I'm very excited that this collection is going to be published - and also very pleased that, all being well, I'll be doing some joint launch events with Lower Hutt poet Keith Westwater, whose debut collection Tongues of Ash won Best First Book in the 2011 IP Picks Awards.

You can see all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog (the hub poem in the middle, and all the other poems on the right-hand side).


Penal-Colony said...

Poachers, upsetters of the natural order of things, tamperers of the game.

What a riot!

Rachel Fenton said...

"Gibbons" - love it. I'll be interested to read how you turn from and spring off that poem - late 2011, eh?

Mark Pirie said...

Good news about your book. Good that IP are keepung up their NZ connection.

Mary McCallum said...

As John says, 'what a riot'. Love it, Tim.

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, John, Rachel, Mark and Mary!

Rachel, we're dotting i's and crossing t's about the exact publication arrangements at the moment - I'll put up more news on the blog as it comes to hand. Perhaps unfortunately, though, this poem is the only one in the book with a reference to gibbons.

Mark, it is indeed good!

Rachel Fenton said...

that's as it should be; you don't want too many gibbons running amok through your poems - regular primates are enough of a handful!

Helen Rickerby said...

Congrats Tim! I look forward to Men Briefly Explaineds arrival in the world.

Isabel Doyle said...

Congratulations on the imminent release of your new collection.
I enjoyed your explanation of men and particularly like 'poacher Time'. Nice Darwinian echoes.
I look forward to reading an explanation of the most attractive woman in the room - and what was it that the monkeys found so irresistable?

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Rachel, Helen and Isabel.

Isabel, this poem is based on something I noticed - a male friend and I were chatting with a group of women in an office kitchen somewhere in Wellington, and I realised that, not intentionally (at least on my part), we were competing to show off our verbal fireworks to the the youngest, (and therefore, from a sociobiological point of view) most attractive woman in the room.

It seemed like one of those moments when genetic programming took over from conscious intention. There is a short but indicative article about display behaviour here, although this article does not cover the many species where the females engage in display behaviour. In humans, both genders are prone to engage in such behaviour.

Rachel Fenton said...

I don't know if you're intending to be as funny as you are, Tim, (please don't be offended) but that was the funniest, longest and most articulate yet scientific archaic description of common flirting I've ever read! Have to clean up the tea I splurted out reading it now! Based on that alone I will be recommending your colelction!

Isabel Doyle said...

Thanks for the interesting explanation of flirting, and the genesis of your poem - but I was only teasing.

I did really like it.

AJ Ponder said...

Social interactions even a biologist can understand :)

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Rachel, Isabel, and AJ.

Rachel, my aim is to get people splurting their tea when they read the book. That way, they will need to buy replacement copies.

Isabel, thank you! I am lamentably literal-minded, which often leads me into difficulty.

AJ, I'll take that as an endorsement. Mine's an honorary doctorate in anthropomorphism, thanks.

Kathleen Jones said...

This really made me smile Tim! There's a programme on TV here at the moment called 'How to Live with a Woman' - that would make a good title for a collection too!

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Kathleen. Your proposed title lays down a challenge which, parfait knight that I am, I will ignominiously decline.

Madeleine Marie Slavick said...

'as the poacher Time takes aim' - a great close, Tim - I like how the poem can go elsewhere.

Hope you'll feel good with the new book. Congrats.

Isabel Doyle said...

Hi Tim, I read your 'Books in the Trees' on Turbine very clever, very engaging. I look forward to reading some more of your stories.
Thanks for making them available in exile land.

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Isabel! "Book in the Trees" was subsequently published as the final story in my short story collection "Transported" - that's now out of print, but it's available as an ebook, and I still have some copies myself, so let me know if you'd like one.

Joan said...

I love this poem. How it made me laugh. The last line is wonderful. Can't wait to read the rest!