“Men on Strike” by Marcela Sulak

Marcela Sulak


Men on parade. Men
migrant Hispanic and red
necks in long hair clean

shaven the kind my
daddy bought parts from never
touching some of them

could rewire your grand
ma’s house sharing their wife’s tort
illas. They’d have stopped on

the narrow shoulder
of the highway to help you change
a flat or driven to town

to fill up the gas
can they were lending you or
given you a jump in

the near-deserted
parking lot, and here they are
now—embarrassed as

hell, like you had asked
them to hug their neighbor’s wife
in church at the kiss

of peace, you know they
secretly like it. The men
I like most answer

not yet instead of
none that I know of some wear
Cuban heels and tight

jeans and spin when they
dance you. The tall black Southern
leader counter clock

wise keeps time today
calling whoooo’s the man? Calling
who’sgonnago? in

sharp beats—merengue
they are embarrassed to dance
with invisible

partners called below
minimum wage! Insufficient
benefits! Every

one looking attract
ing attention the fact of
bodies as things with

needs where before there
had been only necklace links
impossibly de

licate their daughters
brought them unknotting themselves
beneath thick fingers

engines shuddering
to the quick strike of a spark
plug the free combusting

that which a casing
contains all the invisible
forces that keep the machines

of the world worlding
and pinned to the self-cleaning
sky. Chrysler building

in full bloom, forgive them they
feel bad, like they ruined a play
ground. This one here, where

just past Broadway the Grace
building slides to a stop at
their feet.

from Rattle #39, Spring 2013
Tribute to Southern Poets


Marcela Sulak (Texas): “I write poetry because I read too much of the wrong kind of literature growing up on a rice farm.”

Rattle Logo