Thriller Suite: New Poems

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Update on Werewolves

Margaret Atwood

In the old days, all werewolves were male.
They burst through their bluejean clothing
as well as their own split skins,
exposed themselves in parks,
howled at the moonshine.
Those things frat boys do.

Went too far with the pigtail yanking -
growled down into the pink and wriggling
females, who cried Wee wee
wee all the way to the bone.
Heck, it was only flirting,
plus a canid sense of fun:
See Jane run!

But now it's different.
Now it's a global threat.
Long-legged women sprint through ravines
in furry warmups, a pack of kinky
models in sado French Vogue getups
and airbrushed short-term memories,
bent on no-penalties rampage.

Look at their red-rimmed paws!
Look at their gnashing eyeballs!
Look at the backlit gauze
of their full-moon subversive haloes!
Hairy all over, this belle dame,
and it's not a sweater.

O freedom, freedom and power!
they sing as they lope over bridges,
bums to the wind, ripping out throats
on footpaths, pissing off brokers.

Tomorrow they'll be back
in their middle-management black
and Jimmy Choos
with hours they can't account for
and first dates' blood on the stairs.
They'll make some calls: Goodbye.
It isn't you. I can't say why.
They'll dream of sprouting tails
at sales meetings,
right in the audiovisuals.
They'll have addictive hangovers
and ruined nails.


Notes on Update on Werewolves:

1. I was frightened as a child by Abbot and Costello films, and also by Quebec folktales about the Loup Garou.
2. After which I wrote a poem -  in 1986 - called "Werewolf Movies." 
3. In those days, all werewolves were men. As in "An American Werewolf in Paris."
4. But now they aren't. Angela Carter has a wolvish female. There are female werewolf novels, and female werewolves in the Twilight series. So this poem is an update on the earlier poem.

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