What I Got

A degree that cost me a lot of time and money
Contempt for government tyranny
A job at the supermarket down the street
Memories of former coworkers at my former job
Guys who run like the plague hath cometh
Unanswered questions and
A thousand pounds of skepticism
A dog who begs for everything I cook
A notebook with ripped-out pages
Digital copies of the novels I’ve written
A list of those who will be held accountable
A set of masks hanging on a hook in the guest room
A set of ninja cowls that I wear instead of masks
All my family history documents that I have collected, digitized
A plan in case I need to run further
A plan in case the future goes the way I see it going
A sleeve full of tricks and illusions
A team ready for the coming Apocalypse
Hot cocoa made in a saucepan
A memory of $1,200 from Uncle Sam
A memory of a man tortured, arrested after curfew
A memory of chucking out firewood at the border, into a metal container to die
And, still,

Velvet Elvis

“What’s good drunk people food?” asks my roommate, having dunked a cheese bagel
Into some soup
“Burgers,” I reply and the mists of time take me back, years in the past
To a cantina called the El Rey in SoCal, real swanky place,
With candles in those corrugated glass jars
And velvet paintings of Elvis, hanging everywhere
I’d ordered one too many drinks
One too many Velvet Elvises—it was a drink with vodka and cherries
We drove, went to In & Out, my sis and I and her friend
And I got dizzy dizzy dizzy
Stepped out of the car
BLAPPED all over my shoes
Continued on, upstairs, not cleaning up
Laid down in my sister’s bed and asked for
A burger
Shoved it in my nasty, un-washed-out mouth
And it was the BEST burger I had tasted on Earth—
Probably, will ever taste
Between here and the world’s spinning
“That’s gross!” says my roommate.
It was. It was also delicious.

The Truth

“I think drunk people can actually feel the turning of the world,”
I’d said to him
“Like, the Earth is always spinning but we never feel it, even though
It’s spinning so fast.
So what if it’s not about you feeling like the world is spinning
When you’re drunk
But you—
Feeling the way things really are, reality
That your mind is constantly trying to protect you from?
Like—what if when you’re drunk, you can actually feel the rotation of the Earth,
Which you normally don’t?
What if being drunk makes you attuned to reality, in some weird way?”
He looked at me like I’d blown his mind
Like I was from Mars
And I felt it too. I gave too much info. To the Humans. Too Soon.
Time for me to go Home.

A Heart of Jadis

Say it like an anathema, like a whispered word in woods that can hear you,
There are many Jadises around—
White Witch Queens of Narnia, Empresses of London,
News anchors on the 7 o’clock,
Governors who lock up the tomato seeds,
State worker lackeys who must do evil or give up a regular paycheck,
The ones who always pass the buck,
Those who do as they please,
eating fruit from golden-gated forbidden gardens at the end of the world,
even if it drains them of their souls
Who’ll rip up lives just like lamppost cross-bars
Without thinking twice—
Fudging numbers, skewing data,
Placing edicts on the citizenry, but like THE Jadis,
From destruction they unwittingly create
Even as they gaze upon a world of people turned to dust,
Worlds of people changed to stone,
Empty streets where folk dare not walk anymore,
Ruins like Charn, or Coronavirus-Land, or whatever…
The lion in my heart stands unafraid, for it is not a tame lion
But the devastation is real, and no one could deny
The auto wreck, the lives stopped short as statues, the darkness at play
As we watch the twitching sorcery of the Chaos-Witches of the world,
Vibrantly tearing up new worlds,
And having a field day.