no Cagney, me

I had a borrowed tv set for a month
and I saw some old Cagney movies.

most of Cagney’s moves with women
happen in the kitchen.
they say something he doesn’t
like.  he slaps them with a dishtowel
or pushes a grapefruit into their
faces.   they weep and fall
into his arms.

me, I am always being attacked by
especially when I am
drunk.   they push me out of doorways
into the rain, into mud puddles on my
back.   they pour beer over my head
come at me with knives and bookends
they attack
snarling like the leopard
they rip my coats and shirts
they attack at any moment,
while I am casually talking to a
friend or while I am
asleep.   sometimes they beat their heads
against the walls.

I’m leaving, I say.

oh, you always want to end it,
don’t you?

well, Christ, you act like you don’t
like it.

well, go then, go!

I go.   no Cagney, me.   I drive away
thinking, oh shit, god, it’s so nice to
be alone.

you had it, Jimmy.
what a woman wants is a
what a man wants is a

you’re best.