Gritty Details

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tonight's Poet Corner: American Nihilism

American Nihilism
by Belinda Roddie

trying to come back to my senses
in a prickly rain; the crazy street art
on the walls of the liquor store stain
the corners of my brain like I've dipped
my dreams in Cabernet. the metaphorical

veins of the streets are pushing, pulsing,
threatening to pop from the pressure. I'm
thinking I'll measure and remeasure my
strength before I bank on surviving these
next four years under serious restraint. there's

a swastika sprayed on a garage door. that
house used to be owned by a gay friend
I knew from home. we had moved here
together, but on our own separate terms. if
you wanna escape the virus, you gotta flee
before you catch the germs. walk through

the intersection, and you can see the collection
of the churches who all swear by dear old Jesus's
resurrection. I bet if he came back today with
his hands all raw and throbbing, he'd denounce
his own creed and join us in our ugly sobbing. see,

the world's still spinning, someone's still winning,
but I'm drinking more, and the delirium's fitting. people
are spitting on the graves of the heroes who died for our
rights, which we could lose in this fight. damn it,
we could lose them in this fight. I'm attempting

to remind myself of the good stories I've told,
but they're far behind me now, and they're not worth
the gold that my ancestors prospected for in the cold
rivers that other shadows of the past used to ford.
I'm bored of the normalization of a nation that's way

past the expectations of a sane civilization. you can
wrap up a dead rat in red, white, and blue, but it's still
a fucking dead rat, and it's gonna smell, too. it's got
a perfume that a sick man with bad hair would use,
so everyone in the room can catch a whiff of the doom.

so let's celebrate mortality over beers and burgers, and
play a song or two and forget about the murders
in Aleppo and the Philippines - think too hard, and
you will scream. those people say goodbye, but
they're just pixels on our tiny screens. swipe left, swipe

right, dodge the bullets, good night. someone really
super white won't have to fear another slight. the
sight of this city in the rain is beautiful, but my disdain
for the present makes the past gray and the future
all the more fucking vague.

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