First of all, I’m really glad that Deanna posted about “The Boys I mean,” because I as well, was very curious what people’s reactions to the poem would be. Even after reading over the poem multiple times, I wasn’t sure exactly what I thought. I was left with a sort of empty feeling, similar to when a fairly disturbing and poignant movie comes to a close and you’re left with just your thoughts.
I think that part of the bizarre emptiness that the reader is left with is due to the author’s dismissive attitude towards the terrible acts he is describing. He accepts the fact that these guys are terrible people, noting their monstrous behavior in detail, yet does not seem genuinely bothered. He openly accepts the fact that these men are disgusting people and to a certain extent, envies them.
By saying, “they shake the mountains when they dance,” in the last line, Cummings establishes that not only are these men physically powerful, but they also have a strong, almost admirable presence about them. Meek, boring people do not shake mountains when they dance. The men’s power is not only seen in a violent, sexual sense. They are powerfully alluring.
As disturbing as the violent images the poem animates, I think the most unnerving part of this work is the author’s mater-of-fact, opinion free recapping. Cummings does not seem repulsed by the men’s actions, making the poem only more unsettling.