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"Real Men Die" & Other Poems

“trainers” is british english for “sneakers”

I took some of my dad’s trainers

The last time I saw him.

He is not yet dead He can still walk But he cannot run He can only really shuffle.

He doesn’t need trainers And though I sometimes say I don’t need him I do enjoy Thinking about my dad The younger him The healthier him When I am far away And trying to make myself fitter.

three half-arsed tries

Though I am now The happiest I’ve ever been

I sometimes still wish That I’d done it.1

I was scared of dying

But desperate For death Or at least

For the end of that life.2

Three times I tried Three half-arsed tries

Three times I could have Done it.3

I’m squeamish And nervous So I didn’t take

Enough of the stuff

To die.4


1 The lowest lows were just so low and none of the happy parts come close to their opposite.

2 It is not an option anyone undertakes lightly I wish I hadn’t wished it was.

3 Twice in Summer, once in Spring: the sunshine made me feel alone.

4 When I was at my lowest I made a perfect fourth plan: I was going to chain myself in a nighttime low tide as close as I could to the water

then I would overdose like the other times but when I passed out I would drown.

real men die

Men are meant to slash their wrists like Romans

Men are meant to tear their stomachs like Samurai

Men are meant to find a gun like an American And ruin as many people as they can.

It is women who put their heads in ovens

It is women who take too many pills It is women who attempt suicide Real men

Get it right: They make a mess

And die.

Real men Stop the trains for an hour

Real men Take other people too

Real men Leave their bodies hanging

In a house their family

Calls home.

Real men Don’t swallow legal medicine

Wash it down with pinot grigio

Lie in bed And hope they never wake up.

Real men do it properly Real men don’t mess about

Because if they do it wrong

Someone Will make them talk about


Scott Manley Hadley blogs at and his debut poetry collection, Bad Boy Poet, is available now from Open Pen. For more details visit or @Scott_Hadley on Twitter. His upcoming non-fiction book My Father, From A Distance will be available this March from Selcouth Station!

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