Feeling Useful

I am posting a poem by a writer named David Eubanks who presented this at an open mic session that I attended last weekend. We have posted a number of things since the election about what people might have been feeling when they voted for president. I don't know Mr. Eubank's politics, but I thought that his poem captured what I have been hearing from people on the street particularly well.

There's an angry man shouting at the camera.

He got a street survivor's stubble on his face, and his teeth are angled,
like gray logs tangled in a rapids.

He means what he saying and can prove none of it. Doesn’t matter.
That's not the point.

He not trying to impress you with his IQ, he's trying to explain what you can't seem to understand.

He needs to replace the tires on his truck and he can't afford that,
forget dental appointments.

He's angry at his wife for wanting what he can't provide.
She's not working either.

He's got five kids because the last pleasure he has in life is sex.
It's a buy now pay later recreation, so it doesn't hurt at the time.

He worried about his children’s welfare and resents he ever had them.
Every cherubic baby's face a symbol of his incompetence,
Of the unfairness born unto himself, disrespected from birth.

And he's been a damn good welder, made good money, but now
nobody wants him to do anything.

His pain has spread and everything he once ignored is a pin sharp stab,
he can feel it in his finger tips, his joints and there's a nagging ache
ever present behind his eyes and he wants to scream at somebody,
about something, at all the shadows who are after him
and tearing his life apart.

If he had a spear he'd chuck it at those devils, if he could find them,
then somebody says he can help him out there, and tells him exactly where the devils are.

Their flooding over the border though he knows not of a single
instance where any one of them took the job he coveted, but it's got to be somebody.
These things don't happen out of the blue.

That's the rub, the way these invaders have crept up on him with their nonsense,
men marrying men, to him is the depraved issue of the crazed, proposed under the guise
of fairness, which he thinks has nothing to do with fairness and entirely with perversion.

At the rally he mixes with the  crowd and shares the chants of medieval man,
howling at the woman at the podium like she is strapped to a stake, Burn the bitch...Burn Her,
and there's a reason for her extermination that he's not quite sure about,
but he is certain she's needs to go up in smoke.

There's a feeling in his chest as he screams, the relief of broken phlegm clearing his lungs,
and for a while he believes he's breathing better. 

The sound of the crowd is deafening and he knows he is among his people,
together they will punish their trespassers and something will come of it,
a renewed chance, and the day will arrive when the kings kneel before him and he will decide whose head is lopped off, and there will be pork chops enough for everyone at the table,
and that night he will mount his wife with the earned air of entitlement, she will be his,
and in the morning the children will obey their father.

unagidon is a contributing editor to Commonweal.

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