Your Inauguration Tote Bag

Your inaugural tote bag, sir. I had just gone through
three levels of security to be allowed into the stands so
I could sit and watch President-elect Jonestown Massacre
and his running-mate Abu Ghraib take the oath of office.

I admit to having enjoyed the dirty bits. The press was
positively drooling over the newly-elected party functionaries
whose only claim to fame as far as I was able to see was the fact
that they had volunteered to set their opponents on fire.

I was amazed when he poked around in his ashes and pulled
out a 2 x 2 piece of his skull and, using chop sticks, placed it
into the porcelain urn especially made in China for the
remains of former heads of state.

It is painful. And the DNC stations are just fawning over President
Massacre. Oh, he even farts so much nicer. He likes deli sandwiches,
not Big Macs! Score for America! He had the Diet Coke button
removed from the Oval office! Score for Democracy!!

It is a pity Hillary Clinton was not elected. Had she installed
such a button, she would have called hourly for a chilled glass
of Chardonnay. She remembers back in Arkansas how she and
Bill would drink Gallo Chablis. Now she is drunk before luncheon.

I attended a rally at Elated Park. The National Guard were there,
arresting the dejected. I paid $129 to have my face painted yellow
with bright white and black features showing a happy face. I tied
a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree.

At the sound of the buzzer, I pissed all over the posters of former-
President Hitler-Look-Alike and his running mate Zhou Enlai, II.
We spoke in whispers about former-President Obama who is said to
have had a special button under his desk for ordering double latte.

Ooooh!!! Yesssss! Exactly! Vice-President Ghraib came by, walking
her little fru-fru white poodle in her women’s green metallic, mid-heeled
slippers. It was a special moment. She blew kisses. The Secret Service
was there in force to see that everyone respected her.

They’ll give you 10 to 15 years for calling her, him. Many have been
arrested. A teacher in Cleveland was picked up for texting that the new
VP didn’t use hand lotion. He was said to have questioned the VP’s right
to receive government-issued sanitary napkins.

I know it’s true but I don’t believe it. That is what I said as soon as reports
came in. I’m frightened. I went to Temple on Grand but the doorman asked,
“Are you wearing the wrong underwear?” “Jesus, Mary,” I replied. “Just
what the hell do you take me for? I haven’t worn underwear in years.”

If I want a tax rebate, I must join one of two organizations: “Lovers of Wisdom”
(Democrats) or “Remember Death” (Republicans). Both are tax deductible, but
there are only two available to Caucasians. African-Americans can join one
of a dozen, including “Justice for All, “Black Lives Matter,” and “Woe Is Me.”

I bought a couple of presidential commemorative cups, too. They were designed
here in America but made in China. The paint was removed because it contains
lead. They had said, MAKE CHINA GREAT AGAIN, but with the lettering all
removed, they are just grey, the color of clay with no markings.

You may ask what one might find in one’s inauguration day tote bag? It is said
that had Trump been reelected, his bags would have contained loaded pistols.
President Massacre has been concerned with being accused of promoting toxic
masculinity. He personally placed into each bag male Kotex and anal lube.


His hands are dirty. His toes smell of ear wax. Why has this man
put an egg on my burger? I am eager to get back to my book on Blood
Island, the prisoner of war camp movie directed by Val Guest. And,
I am reading poetry. T.S. Eliot writes a good-natured apocalypse.

A wasp has crawled into the marmalade. Blood orange or
just plain bloody, I can’t remember which. Then someone takes
my towel and I blow up. “If you are going to be like that, I’ll
just go home.”

I am reading Amy Clampitt. At least she didn’t put her head in the oven.
In this shithole, only the children of the prince read books. My neighbors
listen to the radio and their kids play videogames. Their boys hide
in the back and stick their cocks in the family robot.

“A falling cherry blossom is this body.” This is written
by a nineteen-year-old kamikaze pilot in a haiku addressed to
his sweetheart the night before he left the airfield to fly his Zero
on a death mission into the side of the USS Something or Other.

LaSabra Epps, Delbert Parker, and Earleen Jackson are part of the crew
assigned to the officers’ mess hall. I come in a couple of times to pick up
the garbage. I got to know LaSabra who, due to a wild coincidence, knows
my family who lives in the same town as hers.

Humpty Dumpty has a fall and nobody hears a thing. And with that
comes the end of the nursery rhyme as it has been known throughout
history. Eliot asks the right questions. Our commander at the camp
possesses the mien of an aristocrat in is his contempt and his anger.

Cheery he is not. We keep our distance. Try to imagine being in a barracks
with several hundred men and never ever being touched. And I watch.
No one approaches another soldier; nothing like that silly movie with
Steve McQueen, with all that comradery: the shoulder patting and hand-shakes.

“Up your bum, sir.” One of my favorite lines from that movie, The Darkest
Hour; yes, Churchill has been schooled by his bright female secretary.
She teaches him a thing or two. He had been running around town
telling people to go stuff it.

Embattled, Part II

My favorite French chef reminds viewers not to crack eggs on the edge of the pan.
He hits the egg on its side against the top of the table. This way no shell falls into
the omelet. We sit and listen, but from time to time one wants to say, “Who put you
in charge?” Am I wrong? Who the hell is he to tell anyone what to do?

The know-it-all vs. the dolt. Who can play the dolt? Movie opens just before Christmas.
Harrison Ford? And the Jew? Jeff Goldblum? Dustin Hoffman? Whoever it is, he will be ignored. Herein lies the conflict. “There’s a fire! Run for your lives!” The hero is met
with steely eyes. Lee Marvin: “Nobody tells me what to do.” Everything is political.

A popular transgender activist recently called for all children to be put on puberty blockers
until they are able to decide which gender they want to be. I say fuck this. Put everybody
on hormones and let us all change sexes. Why the hell not? Mix it in with the vaccine.
Men can start wearing lace masks. Women can switch to denim.

In the dining hall of the Royal Cherry Blossom Hotel, our group gathers for our buffet
dinner, a massive selection of Japanese dishes ranging from beef curry to sushi, miso soup,
salad, and vegetable tempura. Out of respect for the pandemic, social distancing is being
observed with a maximum of two at tables previously set for four.

My wife and I sit clothed while most of the Japanese come to dinner from the public
baths dressed in their bedclothes, consisting of a thin bathrobe and a long-sleeved jacket.
As I glance around, I notice the ladies sitting primly with their knees together,
as they sip their beer.

But the husbands slouch in their chairs, manspreading thoughtlessly. At their tables,
they sit sprawled out, wearing nothing beneath their robes. The view reminds me
of Monty Python’s parodies of the Scots similarly exposed in their kilts, completely
oblivious to their splendid act of immodesty.

All references to snow are racist. Talk of the Seven Dwarfs is offensive. “‘Jeez’?
What’s that supposed to mean? You some sort of fucking Christian?” Another baffling
convo with a passerby. All poets know St. Louis, but that doesn’t mean their fingers
smell of BBQ. Calcutta on the prairie or follow Elliot to Europe?

Inner City Blah Blah Blah

I’ve seen what’s on offer
and it isn’t inner city cha cha cha,
I can tell you that. It isn’t all Cuban
sandwiches and rum colas to go.

It isn’t only that. It’s lots of
dirty dishes, filth and despair, and
frozen dinners. It’s lots of vomit, too.
There’s far too much MSNBC.

It is often all about drugs and alcohol,
too. That’s what prevails: shit for brains.
It’s entertainment for the rich. It’s
Marie Antoinette, slumming. It’s death.

Washington loves it. They live off it.
It’s the lion pride’s lucky day, to drag
down an elephant and feast for days.
The inner city is such a corpse.

They keep the corpse alive to feed on.
Yum: the corporation fat cats lick their chops,
along with the security guards and police,
the parole officers, and office holders, the rats.

The ghetto is a playpen for the rich. Dollar
Stores and used kitchen tables, gas and electricity.
The landlords and store owners live miles
away, in houses with panic rooms and gun stores.

Not a lot of talent there in Outer Mongolia,
that fancy suburb built for zillionaires. All
the talent awaits discovery in the inner-city. Kids
there grow up to be Tina Turner and Snoop Dog.

The editor says he wants something like chicken
soup for the soul. Instead, what he gets is a can
of Raid. There no talent up in Outer Mongolia,
let me tell you. They’re too busy licking their chops.

The kids climb around shit piles like peasants
in Jakarta, as in the slums in Rio. We must stop
celebrating a culture that kills so many. The rich
are dancing on our corpses. Time for them to go.

Icarus Bound

Who started the fires?
Many are drawn to the flames—men and women in equal number.
They clamber to get closer. They take off work to travel so they can see
for themselves: the flames climbing higher, filling the skies, engulfing.
Smoke is everywhere; ashes fill the houses, carpet the floors, suffocate.
People stand holding out their hands and their tongues. They tear off
their clothing. They crave the heat. They’re excited by the smell of ruin.
They spit on each other. They’re delirious.

The Hudson doesn’t only contain water; it holds the land. It encircles
the earth. West Point, that cool cat school where men train to remain
calm under fire, lies in the river valley, in Cheever country, where his
swimmer drank until he lost track his. Hyde Park to the north, Yonkers
to the south: lose one’s way and end up in the Bronx, not far from Yankee
stadium, just up from Maya’s Harlem. Not as far west as Niagara Falls,
not as far east as the Berkshires, where Edith Wharton once made guests
feel cosmopolitan.

Would you strap wings to your back and head out for the nearest star?
Wouldn’t you rather live in a cave than be left to wing it? Icarus was
an idiot; Daedalus warned him. We moderns know a thing or two, just
ask Picasso. That’s the reason he painted men and women with clay
feet. Icarus is seen as a fool, not a hero. We moderns get the message
loud and clear; his death is seen as a clear warning, not a thrill. We are
not lovers of the sun; not us. The sun is no longer noble. Our instinct
is to head for the fire and defend it, not to fly out in search of glory.

Justice will be swift. Those without will rob those with. It’ll be
a bloodbath. Some say we had it coming. We deserve it. Others
will fight back. If we’re lucky, they’ll be shot. We live in terror.
The news will be too much to bear. Prepare, I say, for the worst.
Men won’t come to the back door offering a day’s labor for a hot
meal. They’ll come in through the front and they won’t bother
knocking. We’ll experience what the Europeans were forced to
endure. Marauders will slit men’s throats and slice open the women.

Shouldn’t everyone live as if they were about to die, not next week,
but now? Out there in the icy universe, there is nothing. Finally, one
loses control of it all. Damn, damn, damn, damn. Humpty Dumpty fell.
He is dead. I just thought lying here that a middle-aged man’s fantasies
are not humiliating, and I will not reject them. After dreams, nothing
in waking life possesses such intensity. This city’s definitely falling apart
and we are all alone. In the end, I shall call for morphine. I am not heroic.