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Remembering Poet Ric Masten

Remembering Poet Ric Masten

Posted By Sunny Lockwood

I first heard Ric Masten’s poetry on the radio. I’d awakened before 5 a.m. on a Saturday and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I turned on KGO Radio (an ABC affiliate in San Francisco) just to see what was on at that hour.

And Ric Masten was reading his poem "The Deserted Rooster."

The poem grabbed me. It was sharp and funny and sad and so full of truth I couldn’t believe it. "This guy should be on prime time, not 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning," I thought.

When he’d finished reading, he talked about why he wrote the poem…how there were plenty of books and poems about women’s experience as their children grow up and move on, but there was nothing to describe what a man goes through at that time of life. So he decided to write a poem about his experience.

I knew immediately I had to meet this man and talk to him about his work.

At that time, I had a small but thriving public relations business, and I had a direct line to the producer’s booth at KGO and I dialed that number.

Serendipitously, the producer who answered was a friend of mine. He said he’d get Ric’s number and call me with it after the show.

What happened was that Ric called me. And that phone call was the start of a long and rewarding friendship. Ric is one of the few poets who actually made a living and raised a family with his poetry. He published his own books and sold them through live performances at colleges, churches and other gatherings.

This month is National Poetry Month and I want to honor Ric and his work by posting the poem that so captured me. Here it is: The Deserted Rooster

If this were a documentary

Lorne green would narrate

Describing in his big male-animal-world way

The migration

As one by one the fledglings flew the coop

Followed by the hen

Liberated and running off to join the sisters

Cloistered in the halls of a community college




Steinem – till it become catholic


So far nothing new

Children leaving home

A woman’s victory over the empty nest syndrome

Themes done to death


But the deserted rooster is a subject

That has not yet been addressed

We know him

Only as that laughable old strutter

Preening and parading up and down

Involved in his sexual prowess

And the sound of his own voice


At an ungodly hour to start the day

It was all part of the job

And there wasn’t a problem

When there wasn’t a choice


But picture him now

After the exodus

All alone

Scratching around in his abandoned domain

Looking for a good reason to get up tomorrow

And crow


If this were a documentary

It would end

Focused on a stereotype weather vane

Rusted on the turning point

In a changing wind


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