Domestic Violence

How come guys like Bill Murray and Charlie Sheen
get to beat women and not go to jail?
I don’t care if they beat them with their mouths
or their walking sticks,
they should go to jail.
They don’t. It’s their money.
Really, it’s because they’re just children with big feet
and we don’t like to put children in prison,
children with money in prison with big feet.
Or maybe it’s because they have figured out a way
to jump out of an airplane naked, hair on fire,
while sitting on a couch
in front of the big screen
watching The Cubs smash The Ravens
over a bottle of single malt scotch.
How come guys like Bill and Charlie get to beat women
while they’re high on single malt scotch and not go to jail?
It’s because they have names like Bill and Charlie
and America is a pretty simple place.
What if they were named Matthew?
It’s not a simple name
but it’s the name of the first book of The Bible.
That’s when Jesus gets born.  I’m not saying I’m Jesus
or that Jesus beat women
but it’s hard to keep your boxing mitted hands off the ladies
when you are named Bill or Charlie.
What if you were named Billy Charlie?  What then?
Probably a lot of middle school kids would’ve made fun of you
and that’s the reason for all your violence.
I’m glad no one made fun of me in middle school.
I’m glad I’m not a funny, idiot movie star who, in public,
makes people bust a gut and then goes home
and takes out the spatula when things get sticky.
I’m sorry to anyone I’ve ever hurt
even though I never beat them.
Honestly, I would love Bill and Charlie’s humor that makes money.
I don’t care what they say about me, if I did,
I would never raise my fist even to a baby, especially a girl baby,
even though, once, it crossed my mind
when I was very tired and didn’t have enough cash
to buy the diapers.

*

Matthew Lippman is the author of three poetry collections, AMERICAN CHEW, winner of The Burnside Review Book Prize (Burnside Review Book Press, 2013), MONKEY BARS (Typecast Publishing, 2010), and THE NEW YEAR OF YELLOW, winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize (Sarabande Books, 2007).  He is the recipient of the 2010 Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize from THE AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW.

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