AfterQuestions

God keeps me alive
because I have questions
for “after.”
Serious questions.
Questions I know he can’t answer.

Like:

Why is my nose crooked?
Really?  You couldn’t give me something straight?
Anything STRAIGHT?

And why not save us from 
ALL of the Falwell’s — 
let’s go further —
all fundamentalists?
(If you say Free Will
I swear to you I’ll throw 
Crohn’s Disease
in your face.  
Free Will.  
Shit.)
They’re ruining the world
and my upstanding view
of pool boys.  Please!

And as long as we’re here,
not that I’m complaining,
— I’m totally cool in that department —  
but how come
skinny-skater Bodie
was given that dick?
Can you just answer me that?
Was it a reward?
Maybe recognition for his
Exceptional Contribution 
to Human Progress?
I’m sure he’s saved 
hoards with his Board —
it all seems just a little…
peculiar.

More:  

Did you have to let
America have the nukes?
You knew what we’d do,
and there were Canadians nearby.
And why did you let Republicans
happen?
Why are people in Bakersfield
so proud?
Henry Fonda for On Golden Pond?

(Free Will, again, right?)

And there’s this skater named Bodie,
maybe I mentioned him?
Why?
Just why?

See you in a bit.

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Stories? Click here.

Mine

He’s a poster.
He posed for it,
flexed.
Baseball player
who’s won —
wife, kid, God, arms.

Good.
Yes.
I wish him well...

and then plod
up my empty street
soaked in past
and full of dark.
The house is on the right.
A light is on.
He waits for me.

Posters aren’t made of me.
My triceps don’t act like that.
Fans?  No.
My shy love
and this quiet plot,
beautiful,
mine and silent and 
home.

I’ll choose mine
every 
time.

More Poetry? Click here.

A story or five? Click here.

Trick

Is there a trick,
some magical flick,
to that condo way up high?
A wave of the hand
that clears streets to sand
for more than a moment by?

Maybe a way
(I'm afraid to say)
to skip this world and my shame?
To live where I'm rich,
escape this poor niche,
trade up to long-sought-for fame?

Yes.

A warning:

People starved for that condo.
And your rich-world, buddy?
It’s all paid for 
with blood.

(Fuck.  Rhyming seems so stupid now.)

Trump’s Audience and the RNC

One thing I think is true: nobody spends money on putting a message out into the world unless there is an audience to hear it. (Except for poetry writers, and even we want someone to read our words.)

So Trump’s convention is not spitting into the wind. It has purpose. And its purpose is connected to an intended audience.

Another thing I think is true:  People with nothing to lose are the most dangerous people in the room (or in a nation).  People who have nothing can’t have anything taken away from them.  You can’t hold anything over their heads — which might feel like freedom, but it produces something else:  anarchy.  

This is where my thoughts converge.

Trump knows his audience. It is a clan that has nothing to lose, nothing to hold up as their own, so they don’t mind napalming civilization.  Many Americans not in Trump’s camp don’t want anarchy because we’ve worked hard to make something of ourselves and don’t want that blown up.  We have houses and bank accounts and loved ones we care about.  It’s why I can support Black Lives Matter and hate looting.  I have something to lose, something I don’t want to see destroyed. 

Not Trump’s militia — and he knows this.  Trumpers don’t care if the nation catches fire because they don’t have anything that can burn.  Nothing important to them. They want the fire. It’s Holy Fire anyway, right?  God coming to strip away…everything they don’t have. 

What I think what we’re seeing in the Republican National Convention (for those watching, that is) is the activation of people who have nothing to lose.  I think the Republican party has found a way to speak to failed, small men and women in a way that makes their failure and their smallness the fault of others, and then encourages them to actively hate anyone who might challenge that perspective.  Or say, “Hey man, it’s not the democrat’s fault.  It’s yours.” 

If I didn’t care about the effects of Trump’s rhetoric, I’d say his course of action is brilliant. I’d say he’s filled a void in the lives of people defined by emptiness. It’s stupid to think the RNC’s message isn’t effective; it’s being heard by a very important audience, loud and clear — those who want to  think they have honor even as they blame everyone for their lives.  It’s saying out loud what they’ve longed to hear.

I think it will work.  The problem, of course, will be that once those who have nothing to lose have been activated (Trump’s audience), it will be impossible to govern them (napalm is hard to direct).  They will, eventually, go after their makers; it’s in their nature. It’s why dogs that kill have to be put down — once they’ve tasted blood, and all that. The only question to me is how much will have to be destroyed before they turn on themselves.

(Originally published in The Washington Post)