Flowers In The Fort

Jim Ellis 

To honor the circle of men, we bring to you an image to which many of you may be able to relate. It’s our fort, our place among the males we would stand for and we could stand for. Are you ready to stand for it … again?

It was a place of our own, a place to call home
Away from mom and dad and teachers – away … but not alone
Away from sisters and girls who would never understand
Away from sisters and girls who would never understand
What it meant to be a boy, what it meant to be a man
A place of our own – we could hide in our own hideout
We could play pirate, hunter, villain, captain, soldier and scout
We could play anything we wanted to, there were no limits in our mind
We didn’t have to be nice, or pleasant, or courteous or kind
Just silly and goofy and joking about all this stuff
And play the way we wanted – mean, hard, rowdy and rough
And call each other names – dork, dweeb, pinhead and dick
And idiot, dumbshit, fuckface, femmy and prick
But we didn’t make a fuss; it really was no big deal
It was ours to imagine, it was ours to make real
It was a space where jesters and jokers could always hold court
A haven in the skies – a perfect disguise – our own special fort

But like rules that come along to cage the wild beast
Like gardeners who come along to cut down the tall trees
Like a mother’s fears that cut you down at the knees
Like the forced and obligatory “thank you,” “sorry” and “please”
Like the dark void when dads depart, leaving us only with mother
Like the farewell, from the front door, of an older and wiser brother
Like our bullshit we believe when the girlfriend enters the scene
Like our bullshit we believe when a wife takes the lead
Like the death of pirates, scouts and jesters holding court
Like flowers in the fort
It was just like … flowers in the fort

Now nothing against girls, though yeah we said “no”
The sign on the door wasn’t for drama; it wasn’t for show
It wasn’t for meanness or for hatred or for glory
It was just that we wanted to tell our own story
We had our own story, an adventure apart from the girls
Who had their own thoughts, their own ways, their own worlds
It’s not they didn’t belong, it just that we had what we had
No one would ever really get us – no … not even dad
Yes, there was no true label; no way to give it a name
And when it was lost … there was no one else to blame
For like sand that runs out of a sacred time piece
Like rockets and bombs and grenades that finally cease
Time reveals the end of the game, the clock shows zero
The fort ablaze with flames, the hanging of our hero
Our havens in the tree shot down by the will of surprise enemy
Attacking us from all angles – the sky, the land, the sea
It’s not the girls who wanted in, to see what was there
Not the females whose curiosity and control appeared without a care
It wasn’t a nuclear blast whose explosion comes without a sound
It wasn’t the old gardener who chopped this tree down
The enemy was a rift, a memory lapse, a betrayal of our own
It happened over generations, buried under weeds that had grown
The enemy was the men who grew distant, leaving behind the joy
The enemy was the men who grew up, leaving behind the boy
Like the edge of a sharp blade that is worn down and dull
Like the body that wastes away into skeleton and skull
We are witness to a pirate’s last voyage and plunder
The last stand for the villain, captain, soldier and hunter
Losing our brothers, our buds, our comrades of all sort
Leaving only a memory, and flowers in the fort
Flowers in the fort

James Anthony Ellis is an award-winning playwright, journalist and filmmaker, who is the author of eight books, including the men-focused “The Honor Book” available HERE. Image

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1 thought on “Flowers In The Fort”

  1. Oh my God Jim, When I did the Men Sex and Power I graduated with my own expression of manhood. I took my right arm and slapped it across my chest while yelling “Warrior Good”. I then went to war against being feminized. Then years later after we lost to the feminine paradigms. I realize I was just being lazy. To blame the women for our loss of respect and our place in society was on me …not women. They were just being true to their nature.
    I remember my neighbor little tiny fort in a tree. I remember slingshot wars and being shot with a green berry right between the eyes. I learned, hey Stupid, keep your head down and pick a better place to hide.Duh

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