We encounter monsters of some kind every day. They hide beneath clothing, behind eye glasses, and in all the places we consider too ordinary to look. Kate McNicholas uncovers these monsters in her poem “Monster Incorporated.” “Human monster. / Monster me,” she writes, exposing the poem’s reader to the raw truth that is packed into her imagery. This is not a dream. It’s a horror story.
You have claws but no teeth,
I have scales but no fire,
Together we could be the ultimate monstrosity.
We all have parts and pieces, Talons and acid.
We keep them hidden under Nike t-shirts and Louis Vuitton shoes,
Walking on the backs of others until the sidewalk ends,
And we fall to the hell we belong in.
She’s an activist who shoots guns on Tuesdays,
He’s a feminist who covers his face with a white sheet on Sunday mornings
Monsters were explained to our childhood brains
Under beds, behind shadows, in closets
Yet, when I came out of the closet the monsters I encountered had no fur, claws, snake eyes
They were covered in human skin,
Driving vehicles with loud bumper stickers,
Accessorized with diamonds someone died mining the previous morning.
Sometimes the monsters would take these disguises off,
Shooting school children, hanging black women,
Spitting in the eyes of others to get a glimpse of the real beast.
Their faces flashed on news screens exposed and awakened, encaged.
The monsters are not under our beds they are in them,
Covered by a silk duvet cover called ignorance,
Scheming layers and layers of complex thoughts,
To convince themselves they are better than anyone, everyone else.
I am a beast,
So are you.
Our hands turning green from the money we carry,
Our pupils narrowing to a single point of view,
Claws trimmed and polished by women we ignore,
Fur taken off others who breathed and ran free before.
Read me a scary story mommy,
Tell me about your day,
And all the times you didn’t run away,
From the lurkers of this world, their teeth and lips curled
Filet mignon for some bread and water for others.
This is survival of the fittest,
This is where the wild things are.
We are asleep and unaware,
But this is not a dream,
It’s a horror story,
And you, my monstrous friend, are in it.