He rises up before you every day
(Or so it seems): the blotchy, fleshy face;
The blank-eyed stare; the hair in disarray
Or greased back. From his purple nose, you trace
The booze or drugs, the broken veins that splay
Across the sallow skin. And to displace
The weak chin, token of man’s pedigree:
The contoured, grey-flecked, middle-aged goatee.
Each mugshot shows a flattened vacancy,
Ambitions bleached, and half-held vows ignored,
A faint hint of respectability
Amid the self-inflicted wreckage. Bored
Eyes narrow in contempt or glint with glee
At what he takes as some kind of reward:
If it required this as an audition,
Then it was worth the price of ammunition.
No doubt a man who liked the quiet life,
Who loved his guns, his Harley, and a beer.
But recently, he’d found out that his wife
Was seeing Pablo from accounts. The fear
Of cuckoldry had cut him like a knife.
That Friday, he’d loaded his hunting gear
And brought down both with his AR-15:
He prided himself that his shots were clean.
He didn’t go to church much, but he knew
Some Bible stuff, and he had read online
About Islam. “I’ve got my eye on you,”
He told Virat in sales. “One move, you’re mine.”
Virat just smiled, but two weeks later grew
Concerned enough to leave his job. At nine,
Virat was killed—a bullet to the head:
“He looked suspicious to me . . . glad he’s dead.”
He had to save the innocents from death,
He heard their frantic cries for his protection.
He’d never stand down. To his final breath,
Even if it demanded insurrection,
He would obey the higher law that saith,
“Suffer the little children.” No reflection
Was needed when he hit the detonator:
If he had faults, their faults were all the greater.
He had nothing against the blacks and Jews,
The ones from India were kinda smart.
The Mexicans were everywhere, their crews
Did all the work around there: A fresh start—
He understood that. But why did they choose
His women? Each to his own kind was part
Of God’s law. When he saw one with a white,
He knew that what he had to do was right.
He didn’t understand when it all changed:
These crazy genders, diets, and gay marriage.
Who said the order should be rearranged,
What was wrong with the horse before the carriage?
His children didn’t call him, his estranged
Wife took his money—all liked to disparage
What he believed in. He’d show who was boss:
One more dead bureaucrat was no one’s loss.
Hell, let them come—the Black Hawks, Kevlar suits,
The G-men, smoke-bombs, hand grenades, the lot.
For he was armed and ready. Thugs in boots
Could kick his door down, but they’d all be shot.
He’d die his own man—from his corpse, the shoots
Of a pure land would sprout, purged of the rot
Of mongrelism. Martyrdom would bring
Forward that hoped-for day: Let freedom ring.
Since when was it all right to interject
When he was talking? When was it OK
To claim his privilege had to be “checked”?
For decades he’d worked hard, could he not say
Whatever he damn liked? Or not expect
Some deference? Chips would fall where they may,
But he would be allowed to speak right through,
Even if it required a death or two.
You once knew what it was to be a man.
You held a job; you put your kids through school;
You married someone organized who’d plan
Your life, but didn’t change you. Then, the rule
Of law meant something and what you began
You finished. But these days you were a fool
If you did not take whatever you pleased.
The only “triggers” that mattered were squeezed.
You women have to live with guys like these:
The ones who claim that might always makes right;
The ones who tie the nooses to the trees;
The hairy gutbucket and troglodyte
Who guns his oily hotrod; every sleaze
Who speaks of hard work, yet this parasite
Sucks at the creamy teats of state for free—
A champion of “real” liberty.
The entitled, condescending “voice of reason”
Who shuts you up (because he knows what’s best);
Who purrs, “For everything there is a season,”
And yet year-round is feathering his nest;
Who loves to lecture you, though you’ve degrees in
The subject, and when you start to protest,
Is flabbergasted there was a suggestion
That what he said might be open to question.
The idiot who catcalls in the street,
Assuming that no lady can resist him,
As both of them offer the other “meat.”
And even though each woman has dismissed him,
He’s confident (she’s obviously in heat),
Her ire is regret that she’s not kissed him.
Or if not that, he’s whiled away an hour
By showing females who has real power.
You’d thought that toxic masculinity—
Unwarranted assurance, childish brashness,
Assertion without proof, misogyny,
Indignant threats of retribution, rashness,
Bone-idleness, ass-backwards sophistry,
Refusal to back down, and talking trash—yes,
You hoped that after all we had endured
Our adolescent country had matured.
What naïfs you were to presume white guys
Would take their place among the rest; how callow
To think they (we) would hand over the prize
Awarded to them every day; how shallow
To hope they’d step down, and not exercise
All their amendment rights. Having left fallow
(In their minds) the last eight years, they intended
Emasculated rule to be suspended.
How apt it is, therefore, that there appears
A white man without conscience, heavenly
Mercy, or prudence, to dispel the fears
That tremble inside masculinity:
A man who won’t back down, openly leers
At all he wants to fondle, cannot see
Beyond his own self-interest, who cares
Not one jot for any other’s affairs.
A man who’s never struggled, never fought
For something he believes in. No grand mission
Has shaped his life, except what can be bought
Or sold: without an atom of contrition,
Regret, or ruth; without a single thought
Beyond the purview of an acquisition
To fortify the grandiosity
Of his labyrinthine monstrosity.
When all the winding pathways of the maze
Come to an end, do you think you will find
A wounded, half-formed creature, who spends days
And nights howling for help? When you unwind
The skein of kindness, will his furious gaze
Soften. Thus, tempered, would he be inclined
To leave his darkness for the light of day,
And, raging, not turn inward or away?
I doubt it. The ungracious crenellations
(Amassed in eight jejune decades) grow stronger.
The buttressed grievances and crude foundations
Of ego are impermeable. The longer
The flippant palisades and battle stations
Stand to protect the male conceit, the wronger
We’ll be in thinking that he’ll be impeached:
This Bluebeard’s castle’s walls will not be breached.
No decency escapes these parapets—
Just clouds of poisoned gas released each morning
To sour the mood for hours; curdled jets
Of nauseating tweets, rude and suborning.
You try to slough it off, read the regrets
From legislators impotently warning
“Stop!”—vainly pleading no good will come from it:
Yet wait a day . . . another stream of vomit.
For in the end, it’s not about the voters.
Nor all the issues he’s feigned interest in.
It’s not about the state of General Motors,
Or global trade, or (maybe) even skin.
It’s not about whom he will pick for SCOTUS,
Or finding out just who really did win.
It boils down to simple temperament:
This man is not fit to be president.
The only reason why he is still there
Is he’s a man. Given what he has done,
If any woman decided to share
Her thoughts about a man’s parts—oh what fun
The XY chromosomes would have! The air
Would go blue as they turned on her as one
And drummed her out of office for her sin:
It’s certain that no woman’ll ever win.
He swims, unconscious, in the welcome waters
Of masculinity. The thirteen bros
Who drafted healthcare to affect all daughters,
Wives, mothers, sisters, and hurried to close
The clinics that would keep them healthy taught us
That “women’s issues” simply do not pose
A problem to reflect on. Men believe
It’s their job to determine who’ll conceive.
What do they know of caring for the sick?
Or looking after a disabled child
While working two jobs? Or when the dumb brick
That used to be your husband went and filed
For bankruptcy to void his dues, his dick
Lodged in another county seat, bills piled
High, you cannot afford to live . . . or sink. . . .
Do these men ever take the time to think
Of who cleans out their offices, or makes
Their kids’ beds, or rubs Brasso on their plates?
Of who comes in to brew their chai, or bakes
Their croissants, or opens their enclave’s gates?
Can they imagine what courage it takes
To leave it all behind and trust the fates
To seek freedom somewhere that’s strange and new
Trusting what the U.S. proclaims is true?
Or is it our shared task to ensure
That these men know how much we are impressed
By how crucial they are, how much allure
They have, and how we (the weak and distressed)
Are grateful they protect us? Then, demure
Consumers, do we do our level best
To ignore their self-absorption and flip-flopping
By spending days and nights in online shopping?
Whatever is the case, this frantic need
Is more than a whole country can supply:
Think of his cabinet, who went and peed
Their pants in joy exclaiming how and why
They loved working for him, and all agreed
He was the greatest, while he cast his eye
Around the table like an emperor:
As if this was what government was for.
It’s like the worst of white men’s self-belief
Is synthesized in one dude, and distilled:
Vanity, shamelessness, an endless beef
With critics; coarseness; triteness; and a willed
Careless cupidity. A leitmotif
That runs throughout, and lets the tension build,
Is that beyond the craziness, the drama:
How much he’s plagued by hatred for Obama.
But why pretend this bozo needs a cause
To prosecute his dreadful, loathsome schemes?
All efforts by his staff to hit PAUSE,
STOP, and RESTART will fail. The plaintive dreams
Of those who voted for him—all his flaws
Will snuff them out, and rend them at the seams
Because he doesn’t care and never will:
You’ve been had and you will pick up the bill.
Those who still work for him—each ghastly day
Brings yet another call for genuflection.
You stand before us, trying to display
A shred of dignity, while your dejection
Is evident to all. He will betray
The little of what’s left of your affection
And claim you were a tramp, a fraud, a loser:
Now is the time to fly from your abuser!
Enough! Enough! Republicans be brave.
Call for a special session and declare
The time has come for him to go. In grave,
Regretful, rueful prose say this nightmare
Must end, and that the goal must be to save
The country lest we fall into despair
And close up shop, for it will be too late
To rescue the scuppered vessel of state.