Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Sticking It to the Man

Lateeka's working, my favorite teller—
she's got wild nail art & fire red/
feather extensions.
In line: young guy in hi-tops w/ipod,
black blazer girl on her lunch hour.
Lateeka & I always talk hair & makeup,
she's in school for accounting.
A guy with 20-inch arms in a Hines Ward jersey/
cut off at the sleeves,
a white-haired woman with
a cane & her daughter
—no suits.
Restaurant guy walks up to the window
with a bagful of 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 to mother:
Why don't you sit down?
Blazer girl turns:
I'm late for an appointment.
Steeler guy waves his massive arms wide
like he's going out for a pass:
Hey, I got an idea—
why don't we shut this shit down & open up a bank?

We turn to see his arms jabbing the air
like he's trying to grab it down—
his neck red with rage.
He barrels out the door & we bust into
laughing, the air full with mutiny:
1 new spot open, we inch forward like
fat cattle, clutching our checks
a little less tightly.
We have won for the day,
we are sticking it to the man.

Credit


Copyright © 2015 by Jan Beatty. From The Switching/Yard (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013). Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Author


Jan Beatty

Jan Beatty is the author of The Switching/Yard (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013). She directs the creative writing program at Carlow University and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Date Published: 2016-03-22

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/sticking-it-man