The Opera Called “Boys Against Girls”



Yet all that summer it was boys against girls

when the giant girls and boys were fighting,

where past was prologue, and all bore down

on one another in the radiance of flooded land

where the mezzo-soprano sang the dizzy aria.

Did the “gender binary” ripen with you inside it,

curled like a lima bean, surrounded by giants?


This was the school where we learned the sweet science.

We had opened the door into summer, and passed back through

into winter where the taskmistress greets us. We were once

common men, we were all common men, but now

we are common no longer. I was a student there too,

pupil and pugilist, on Rush Street, the Mecca of clip joints,

along strip malls, and sunrise, and strip joints.


This was the fanfare. This was the fanfare

for the common man. For the common man

grew unruly in the dark arena, cauliflowers growing

in place of each ear, crumpled yams in place

of the lips, the face a tuberose, the head a mandrake,

until you were left to sleep beneath the bamboo

and octagonal windows, a dwarf in the fistic

landscape. And the common woman grew

into a womanhood towering over the Earth,

where the great bell was tolling. It said

“You may see yourself as a wolf or a bear

or some other kind of changeling flummoxed

in a cold blur brought on by changes. And are you

a Trojan, Attic, tasked with living

in the flesh’s bulk whose demands are unforgiving?”

This was the year of our misgivings.




black and white photo of poet Geoffrey NutterGeoffrey Nutter is the author of the poetry collections Christopher Sunset, Water’s Leaves & Other Poems, The Rose of Januaryand most recently Giant Moth Perishes, among others. He runs the Wallson Glass Poetry Seminars in New York City, where he lives with his family.