Rich Men Suck
Sheep without shepherd,
Raw thread sans loom…
O, rich white man, is that how you see us?
As ants scurrying to gather your crumbs?
Does this vision strengthen your egos?
Give me your hands,
your fingertips, softer than mine –
pushing paper and counting money all day.
Opalescent nails, polished and perfect.
(I can’t afford a manicure, sorry if I offend.)
In your mind, you picture
raw, thirsting power.
A lion’s heart with the speed of an elk.
The virility of a man’s man (who doesn’t really NEED the Viagra).
But I’ve spied you in the office corridor,
side-glancing in the gilt mirror,
yearning to look like Don Draper.
Real power needn’t preen
nor reassure itself.
Real power was in the humanity you left behind
when you bought your first pair of Guccis.
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For dverse Open Mic Night and at my poetic hearth, Poets United.
March 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm
OO, bust their ass, Ameleh! What does it profit a man, if he gains a Rolex and loses his soul? I’ll tell ya, nuthin!
You can’t take it with you – though many have tried and failed! Love ya, Your Bro from Annuda Mudda
March 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm
love this! you describe a “type” very well…had to laugh at the Don Draper line…working in corporate america for my “day job”, I’ve seen plenty a stolen side glance in a passing office glass. 🙂
March 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm
Nice one Amy. Problem with the whole rat race is even if you come in first you’re still a rat! :o)
March 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm
You say this so much better than I could, myself, and I have some opinions on this topic for sure.
March 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm
Oh, I so agree with you on this. Real power isn’t about what you have, it’s who you are, within. How much you love and help your fellow man with compassion, kindness and caring, loving those who are less fortunate than yourself and who need that love.
Well said Amy and, well penned.
March 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm
truly see the vanity in this piece…
March 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm
Permit me a sigh of relief. I am a man, a white man, and am misunderstood by some to be affluent, maybe even rich. But lucky me, I prefer to wear beat-up old sandals, whether in deep snow or in the office’s conference room. So hopefully I’m safe.
Madeleine Begun Kane
March 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm
Wonderful. And what a boffo ending!
Victoria C. Slotto
March 6, 2012 at 6:41 pm
This is a biting indictment, Amy. True, real power needn’t preen. Nor abuse.
March 6, 2012 at 9:07 pm
I have known such men–You capture the lack of compassion well–I am sad though that I can remember them so clearly
March 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm
I love the contrast between the rich man’s perception of himself as a man’s man and his appearance with hands softer than (presumably) a woman’s.
March 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm
nice…that last stanza has the grit of truth that i really like…set up well throughout but i like it best…
March 7, 2012 at 2:01 am
Hmmm! Could we qualify the title to “Many Rich Men…”? I have known the occasional hardworking generous and good rich person, and I should hate to condemn them all on a generalisation?
March 7, 2012 at 3:14 am
Strong write. Love the tone throughout, definite class differential on display- properly I tend to agree. Love the ending stanza, real power needn’t preen, nor reassure itself, real power was in the humanity you left behind, when you bought your first pair of guccis. Great lines- strong piece. Thanks
March 7, 2012 at 7:25 am
Well, I have to say that I think that there are probably a pretty wide variety of rich men these days (many of whom are probably pretty voracious and don’t need viagra!)–but my sense is that there is a fair amount of vanity to go around too, which you’ve captured well. As well as capturing the kind of resentment felt by the rest of us! K.
March 7, 2012 at 11:22 am
Real power was in the humanity you left behind…i like…yep…real power has nothing to do with money or position….love this amy..
March 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm
March 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm
I love the way you managed to get Don Draper in here!
March 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm
vanity and $$$$ are a poisonous combo… unhealthy to say the least…
March 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm
A bit of hope from The Word:
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. ~Mark10:25
But I’m sure you knew dat!
You made some needle-sharp points here, A
Sharp Little Pencil
March 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm
Thanks, Colette. Trivia: The Eye of the Needle was a gateway into a city, I believe Jerusalem. The idea was that a camel COULD go in, but it had to do so kneeling. So it’s not impossible for a rich man to get in – but there is a certain amount of humility required. Ultimately, I believe God accepts all of us, warts and all, but thought the story was worth adding!@! Love, Amer
March 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm
Fascinating and helpful trivia. Thanks.
All too true.
March 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm
btw… don’t be posting this though… in your first stanza you said “rich white man” and then “your egos.”
I could be wrong but I thought it sounded like it needed to be either “men” or “ego.”
Please correct me at any (many) instance of my own incongruence…
March 12, 2012 at 4:17 am
Admonitions for the vain; thoughtful expose’…
Sharp Little Pencil
March 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm
Thanks, Lindy! Amazing how many people think THEIR portrait is on every hundred-dollar bill! A
March 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm
Hard to top all the great comments so far, so I’ll simply say:
Ditto, Ditto, Ditto! Love this 🙂 🙂
Sharp Little Pencil
March 13, 2012 at 8:54 pm
Dittohead, ha ha ha. Thanks, Mary, you rock! Amy
March 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm
Preach it sister!
Love the point of view in this!
Sharp Little Pencil
March 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm
Ha, I had a feeling. One person felt I was being too hard on them; that there are, in fact, a few nice folks in that pack. I had to admit that… but 99% of the time… RICH MEN SUCK! So glad you’re around, Guapo. Amy