If I Had a Gun

by Gig Ryan

I’d shoot the man who pulled up slowly in his hot car this morning
I’d shoot the man who whistled from his balcony
I’d shoot the man with things dangling over his creepy chest
in the park when I was contemplating the universe
I’d shoot the man who can’t look me in the eye
who stares at my boobs when we’re talking
who rips me off in the milk-bar and smiles his wet purple smile
who comments on my clothes. I’m not a fucking painting
that needs to be told what it looks like.
who tells me where to put my hands, who wrenches me into position
like a meccano-set, who drags you round like a war
I’d shoot the man who couldn’t live without me
I’d shoot the man who thinks it’s his turn to be pretty
flashing his skin passively like something I’ve got
to step into, the man who says John’s a chemistry PhD
and an ace cricketer, Jane’s got rotten legs

who thinks I’m wearing perfume for him
who says Baby you can really drive like it’s so complicated,
male, his fucking highway, who says ah but you’re like that
and pats you on the head, who kisses you at the party because
everybody does it, who shoves it up like a nail
I’d shoot the man who can’t look after himself
who comes to me for wisdom
who’s witty with his mates about heavy things
that wouldn’t interest you, who keeps a little time
to be human and tells me, female, his ridiculous
private thoughts. Who sits up in his moderate bed
and says Was that good like a menu
who hangs onto you sloppy and thick as a carpet
I’d shoot the man last night who said Smile honey
don’t look so glum
with money swearing from his jacket
and a 3-course meal he prods lazily
who tells me his problems: his girlfriend, his mother,
his wife, his daughter, his sister, his lover
because women will listen to that sort of rubbish
Women are full of compassion and have soft soggy hearts
you can throw up in and no one’ll notice
and they won’t complain. I’d shoot the man
who thinks he can look like and excavation-site
but you can’t, who thinks what you look like’s for him
to appraise, to sit back, to talk his intelligent way.
I’ve got eyes in my fucking head. who thinks if he’s smart
he’ll get it in. I’d shoot the man who said
Andrew’s dedicated and works hard, Julia’s ruthlessly ambitious
who says I’ll introduce you to the ones who know
with their inert alcoholic eyes
that’ll get by, sad, savage, and civilised
who say you can like there’s a law against it
I’d shoot the man who goes stupid
in his puny abstract how-could-I-refuse-she-needed-me
taking her tatty head in his neutral arms like a pope
I’d shoot the man who pulled up at the lights
and revved the engine, who says you’re paranoid
with his educated born-to-it calm
who’s standing there wasted as a rifle
and explains the world to me. I’d shoot the man who says
Relax honey come and kiss my valium-mouth blue.