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.


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.

SYREETA MCFADDEN is a Brooklyn based writer, photographer and adjunct professor of English. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and Storyscape Journal. She is the managing editor of the online literary magazine, Union Station, and a co-curator of Poets in Unexpected Places. You can follow her on Twitter @reetamac.

Syreeta McFadden is a contributing opinion writer for The Guardian US and an editor of Union Station Magazine.

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