Men at Work

By Margie Shaheed

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Clustered before fiery steel barrel
hands knotted oil rags of talk and beer bottles
warmed like fur-lined gloves
in crisp night air standing
next to the rained on, pissed on,
had sex on three-legged recliner
sitting in the back parking lot
of the corner liquor store

We see him as levels of brutality
his grime, a second sweaty suit
eyes crossed like missed answers on the test
Gray plaits betray his gait as he pulls the squalor
of two garbage bags up on the bus like Sunday’s
chicken dinner placing them on the seat like giant
platters of mustard greens and fried corn
on finely polished wood.  He looks around,
takes a seat, pulls out a book

He gathers an audience from rush hour
takes Africa out of his hip pocket
sits down on a set of milk crates
drum sticks strike thunder
chop out a conniption

Just finished watching the 100th episode
of Criminal Minds and for the 100th time
women are hunted prey by men serial killers
The unsub after unspeakable torture gut women like fish
This is a storyline Hollywood repeats
I wonder to myself:  Who are the writers of these gruesome tales?
They must hate their mothers
They must want her dead so desperately
they kill her night, after night, after night, after

– Margie Shaheed