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Texas Men, Texas Women 

— for Sherrie Flick

i. Texas men wear belt buckles in the shape of the Lone Star State and will eat generally anything as long as it' s been grilled. They want sex, mostly with Texas women and enjoy television shows offering expanses of scenery with little rainfall. Texas men like to explain that Texas isn' t something to be fucked with. They do this with grease on their hands usually between bites of doughnuts standing outside diners as the sun comes up off the plains lighting the horizon. Or at night loaded, oversized swagger swelling into beery parody as their proclamations of love ring across the dry scree toward Mexico, toward America.

ii. Texas men rule Houston with bolo ties and blood feud braggadocio. On high floors of skyscrapers they glare at city lights and scrub, derricks, the whole way to the flagship Neiman Marcus where their high-busted women tear through folding money like it falls off of trucks. Texas men like to pretend they' re starring in Dallas or running for emperor.

iii. Texas men have skin like used bandages and fake Social Security numbers. Shame is on some of them thick as fur on a dog and they put in hours that would break a new clock. Texas men smoke marijuana in King Cab pickups with expired registration and hope their kids do damn sight better. Texas men want to be California Men or Florida Men or men who return south like conquering heroes to towns without running water.  

iv. Texas women want ranch houses and steak and enjoy listening to sentences that employ the word acreage. They hate aging, distrust most diets and want large portions of nearly everything but the federal government. Texas women think of Oklahoma as North, believe geology and interior design to be the most practical of college majors. Their most ready nightmares involve Jackie Kennedy at the hospital, trailer homes under darkening skies, and a cashless stranding on the Eisenhower freeway system any place east of Beaumont. 

v. Texas women read Larry McMurty, sell real estate and desire Texas men more than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Sweating equinox to equinox, Texas women believe equally in central air, Jesus and high quality mascara. They would teach "sir" and "m' am" to aliens if they landed in the shadow of the rotunda in Austin. 

vii. Texas women wear formfitting clothes and smoke cigarettes the size of timber. Few mud wrestle but those that do excel, pinning their opponents with prairie celerity. Texas women are armed to the teeth, some even in church, and while many marry for love, a plurality seek drama in the honkytonks and outlet malls, at Texas State and on strips of empty highway with Texas men in Bentleys or dented minivans, all flailing toward the future. 

— Damian Dressick

Damian Dressick' s work has appeared in numerous literary journals. He holds a PhD from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi, and teaches writing at Robert Morris University. He currently lives in the Allegheny Valley, and can be found online at www.damiandressick.com. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.

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