Midway Airport to downtown Chicago—
one rat terrier jumps up at me:
a banner of lights strobes the screen
in the back of the cab:
Adopt Me adopt Me
flashing on & off, now dancing with its
spindly little legs, its paws slapping
the dark bars of its cage.
I was thinking of my hotel, maybe
a steak dinner, & then the pit bull:
restrained with rawhide,
stares from its pen. Sickly pink pigment
rims the mouth like baby butt skin,
a remarkable Cro-Magnon head, the long
tongue dripping rivers of saliva.
The once-lumbering beagle with oversized
brown eyes plops on its cage-pillow:
Same scam as baby adoptions,
commercials that say:
Make the right choice
with pitiful pictures of waiting
orphans (child models)
Cut to body part/
picture of a dog’s neck with owner tags hanging:
Yes! You can own something breathing!
Yes, you! Boring, co-dependent you!
Be in charge of a body, your very own
devil child who will jump & play.
Pretend the child is yours & watch it
turn into a bastard, bastard,
cutting your family sheets into strips—
then watch the mongrel attack the dogs
in the lovely cul-de-sac where you live:
what will you do with all the blood?
Now cutting your skin into strips,
& all you wanted to do was save
the little lost thing, give her a real
home, & now look at her:
she’s fucking everyone in the neighborhood
just to feel alive—
she’s hip to your tricks:
you wanted her
never wanted her
Sticking It to the Man
In the bank line:
young guy in hi-tops w/ipod,
black-blazered girl on her lunch hour,
guy with 20-inch arms in a Hines Ward jersey/
cut-off at the sleeves,
white-haired woman with a cane & her daughter
I’m behind hi-tops.
Lateeka’s working, my favorite teller—
she’s got wild nail art & fire red/burgundy
feather extensions. We always talk hair & makeup,
she’s in school for accounting.
Line’s not moving—restaurant guy walks in
with a bag stuffed with slips & receipts.
The blonde teller working the line
leaves her post & exits side-door,
so it’s Lateeka & people
roll their eyes & grumble:
Oh great, now there’s only one teller up there.
Steeler guy shakes his head:
Jesus Christ, do you believe this?
Daughter says to mother,
Why don’t you sit down?
I’m alright, she says.
Blazer girl turns:
I’m late for an appointment.
Steeler guy, red-faced, waves his massive arms wide
like he’s going out for a pass & yells:
Hey, I got an idea—
why don’t we shut this shit down & open up a bank?
We turn to see his arms sweeping &
jabbing the air like he’s trying to grab it down —
even his neck red with rage.
He barrels out the door & we bust into
laughing, the air brimming with mutiny.
1 new spot open, we inch forward
like fat cattle, clutching our checks & deposits
a little less tightly—moving towards Lateeka,
small now behind the cage, the open bars—
& in the clear, quiet place in the cage
of the mind, with each new step,
we have won for the day,
we are sticking it to the man.