Your Daily Poem: Jan Beatty

Ed. note: For National Poetry Month, we’re highlighting one feminist poem each day in April. See the whole series here.

Today’s poem is “Shooter“ by Jan Beatty.

Shooter

I shoot the old man who followed my 11-yr-old body on Smithfield St/because I smiled at him/because it was Xmas/ I shoot the man who jacked-off/on the bricks of our house/put a ladder to my window when I was 12/I shoot the professor who said my work was illogical, then used me for publicity when I won an award/ The businessman who wanted to talk about my teenage breasts/ I’m loading & re-loading/ the guy who walked up to me when I was a cashier & asked about my “hole”/I hope you still like me when I say the gynecologist stuck his tongue down my throat when I was 16/ The writer who read his gang rape poem to a room of women students/ I’m putting my finger on the problem/ the men who pose as feminists/the predators/the rapists the bullies & thugs among us/my uncle who tried to kiss me when he was drunk/my 60-yr-old neighbor who grabbed me when my parents weren’t home/it was my fault/a man named Roy who wouldn’t stop when I said no/he said shut up he said now/He taught me to love the trigger/ I’m shooting the cook who grabbed me from behind in the restaurant kitchen/ the famous poet who said there are no great women writers/the boyfriend who left his handprint in black and blue/ the men who say we’re too serious, prettier when we smile/ I’m smiling & shooting/the shrink who tried to lock me up/ the boss who gave me a ride home/wanted a blow job/ pushed my head down/the poet who said I didn’t praise him enough/here’s one for you/the restaurant manager who told me to grow a thicker skin & wear a skimpy uniform/ because really we have an attitude/ we need to lighten up/ I shoot all the men I’ve left off the list, so I don’t have to worry my pretty little head about it.

“Shooter’” appears in Red Sugar, published by University of Pittsburg Press, 2008.

sm-bio Syreeta McFadden is a co-curator of Poets In Unexpected Places.

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 22, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    This poem hits me like a ton of bricks. My feelings exactly.

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