“I Am the Shit a.k.a Used to Be / A Bop” by Denise Bell

Denise Bell


my man slow down 
drinking fast gets you high 

look at those pitiful brothers across the street 
they think shucking and jiving me 
will get me to grease their palms with my pension check 
i don’t give money to lost causes 
or to men whose idea of manhood is holding their dicks

listen i was never a want to be 
chump change brother 
who’s content to exist

my life isn’t about just getting by
that’s why i served my country to get a free college education 
i was an accountant 
my man before i retired 
i had an office a secretary who only reported to me 

i was never on my knees begging 
counting chump change 
being grateful to exist 

getting a woman was never a problem 
i’d snap fingers & they’d come running to me 
girls were grateful to be touched by my crown jewels

cause i was never on my knees 
counting chump change 
being grateful to exist 

what’s your hurry man 
take this ten get you some more brews 
i still have a lot of conversating to do

bro what took you so long 
you had to make a pit stop 
man slow down your drinking or start wearing depends 

as i was saying all the women were after me 
i decided to plant my seeds in a quiet educated church girl 
we couldn’t stay together cause she wanted me anchored to one bed 
one woman can’t satisfy me

i sent my kids money twice a month 
they grew up in the brownstone i bought 
my seeds knew nothing of food stamps    welfare checks 

you see 
i was never on my knees 
counting chump change counting brother 
grateful to exist 

i got to be truthful my son is an ungrateful son of a bitch 
he had the guts to tell me i was never around 
& i have no idea who he is 
i put him through college and he talks crap 
my daughter’s different 
she sends me cards 
answers my calls 
least i can do 
is to help her pay rent 
give her tuition money for my grandkids 

you see i was never on my knees 
begging to be loved 
being satisfied just to exist 

i’m tired 
got to call my aide 
the girl is missing a lot of brain cells 
i don’t complain about her 
cause i’m afraid her agency will send me someone dumber 
listen man take this five 
wheel me to my door 

you see brother 
i was never on my knees begging 
i never accepted b.s. 
& definitely    i’ll never be grateful just to exist

from Rattle #62, Winter 2018


Denise Bell: “I am a mature published poet and a listener to the woes and joys of people who are shunned and forced to the margins.”

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