Lateeka's working, my favorite teller--
she's got wild nail art & fire red/
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
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.
Added: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 / From "The Switching Yard" (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013). Used with permission.
Jan Beatty's newest book of poetry, Jackknife (2017, Pittsburgh Poetry Series), was just released from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her book, The Switching/Yard, was named by Library Journal as one of ...30 New Books That Will Help You Rediscover Poetry. The Huffington Post called her one of ten “advanced women poets for required reading.” Other books include Red Sugar (2008, Finalist, Paterson Prize), Boneshaker (2002), and Mad River (1994 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize), all from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her limited edition chapbooks include Ravage, published by Lefty Blondie Press in 2012, and Ravenous, winner of the 1995 State Street Prize. Beatty hosts and produces Prosody, a public radio show on NPR affiliate WESA-FM featuring national writers. She worked as a welfare caseworker, in maximum security prisons, and as a waitress for fifteen years. Awards include publication in Best American Poetry 2013, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, two PCA fellowships, and the $15,000 Creative Achievement Award from the Heinz Foundation. Beatty has read her work widely, at venues such as the Geraldine R. Dodge Festival and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. She directs the creative writing program at Carlow University and the Madwomen in the Attic Workshops, where she teaches in the MFA program. She was a featured poet at Split This Rock’s 2010 and 2016 festivals. For more information, visit Beatty’s website.