Fiery with Firemen

by Ken Harnisch

A young woman I know,
Who was fiery with firemen,
Is getting married next month

I am thinking that the maid of honor
Who toasts this lovely young lady
Will either not mention her past
Or make light of it, as if it never was

Well, we’re entitled to our own autobiographies:
What we write, how we say it,
What we want and don’t want remembered

It just seems the white paint comes out
When we move on from one stage of life
To the next. And not to be sexist about it,
But it seems the women I know
Buy far more paint than the men

There are young ladies right now
Scouring eBay to buy up all outstanding
Copies of “Girls Gone Wild” DVDs
From Cancun in 2006

And some of those sorority parties,
On video, don’t seem as much fun now
As they did when drunken Chad
Was filming the goings-on from
The bed on the other side of the room

Funny how, as we age, it seems
More important to us that we be remembered
As nuns than the imperfect and beautiful human beings
We are. Or is it that the Puritan impulse,
Which we so decried in wild youth, is a germ
That age and marriage explodes into malignant bloom?

I’ll give the ladies this:
Men, who speak of long-ago conquests as if
They happened last Saturday, are more apt
To turn their sexual adventures into the stuff of Herculean myth
While women, now as wise as they are lovely,
Prefer to remain circumspect until
The lava cools and the sediments of time bury
The scarlet landscape of past indiscretions.

Leaving it to an old codger like me to alone remember
When a young girl was fiery with firemen
And wondering, to myself, why it matters at all.


Author's Note: Regrettably, the double standard lives...and will for some time.

Posted on 02/22/2013
Copyright © 2021 Ken Harnisch

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 02/22/13 at 01:48 PM

Excellent capture Ken about the indescretions of youth giving way through the passage of time to age and wisdom, and for some, regret...with lots of white paint.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 02/22/13 at 03:01 PM

I've always been thankful no one could read my thoughts years ago - that book would not be pretty. As for videos, what WERE they thinking!!! I really like the "fiery for firemen" frase :). "the imperfect and beautiful human beings We are." - I really appreciate this line, Ken. Thanks.

Posted by Alison McKenzie on 02/24/13 at 05:13 PM

I'd like to see you explore this whole concept as deeply as it can go, all the way through so there are no more possible observations you can make!! Haha!! Double standards abound!!! Great write Ken!! REALLY got me thinking!!

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