Friday, March 31, 2017

day SEVENTY ONE

The Racist Goose

Serve me the Skinhead Special. Scratch that,
I’m not at The White Eagle. What is it that all
the hip young racists are drinking these days?
Give me one of those. Mark says The Garage
in Oakland used to have Wetback Wednesdays.
You know, before everyone had to get all P.C.

I used to love the jukebox here back in the day.
I couldn’t stop from feeding dollar bills into it,
even when I was almost broke and even when
it would play songs I didn’t pick with my bills.
Now there are political statements inside there.
Everything changes. This is a break-up poem.

--Scott Silsbe


Thursday, March 30, 2017

day SEVENTY

no white kids

jill says
there ain’t no white kids
and i think maybe there’s an epidemic or a god
but she’s talking about
the first graders standing in line across the street
no white kids, she says
like she saying there are no americans
she’s right though
there are no white kids standing there
most of them are asian
with a few black and arab kids mixed in
they’re all in matching red t-shirts
except the one kid (a chinese one) whose wearing a batman t-shirt
what do you think this means? jill asks me
i’m white and male
i have the inside track on what’s going on in america
since its founding
so maybe i can shed some light
on the sudden disappearance of my race
maybe there’s a frozen yogurt place nearby, i tell her
or a mommy and me yoga class
next to a taco truck or a vegan restaurant in another dimension
but jill just rolls her eyes
she says it’s odd, isn’t it?
like the school has started some kind
of reverse discrimination
instead of simply adhering to neighborhood demographics
she says that class
needs to add some white kids
like adding a dash of salt or a pinch of pepper
i tell her there aren’t any latino or indian kids either
but jill’s not having any of that
last week she told me….america, love it or leave it
and i almost took her up on the offer
no white kids, she says again
like a warning, a harbinger of things to come
jill shakes her head and waddles away
just like george washington
after a rough night at fraunces tavern
as the kids outside get a final head count
before being marched onto a school bus
that’s as yellow as a river of piss
and as wide as the mississippi river
right before a flood.            

--John Grochalski                                      

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

day SIXTY NINE

Kintsugi
She was broken, but beautiful,
held together by laughter and gold.

This crack is a lesson learned.
This crack is a dragon slayed.
This crack is a battle won.

She was never ashamed.
Not of the thing that caused the cracks,
and not of the way the pieces fit together after.

by Jes Oliveri

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

day SIXTY EIGHT

blue pill red pill

should I
just
give in

this time
it’s the
blue pill

one swallow
and the truth
is just a dream

they’ve
swallowed
the lie

blind to the truth
given up thinking
it will be easy

I could just
repeat the lies
copy and paste

give up - take
the blue pill
the lie will win

but
where’s my
red pill

the way to
the truth
it’s gone

I
swallowed
it

too late
I now have to
fight the lie

live the truth
flush the
blue pill

--Thomas R. Thomas 

Monday, March 27, 2017

day SIXTY SEVEN

Check Trump

Conspiracy theories
escalate, most too quickly,
just like slasher films
from the eighties
especially the Friday the 13th
sequels.

Man, Jason could move
fast and all that anger
taking lives indiscriminately.

Today we don’t need
the velvet glove or tabloids
to send shivers down
our spines.

We have a President
to do that for us now
in fits and tweets
and all out lies.

Trump can walk
back any promise
can doublespeak
every surprise.

He is the lord of the flies
and his minions seek blood
from the rock, money for
nothing but, what is the prize?

This blonde walks into the
White House with Putin at his side….

Am I right?
Am I right.
Am I right!

--Matthew Sradeja


Sunday, March 26, 2017

day SIXTY SIX

the boy who thinks he is king

the lost eyes of
the child that
has grown old

mommy never
loved him

daddy was
never proud

even military
school couldn't
make a man
out of him

every wrinkle
screams this is
too much for
someone like
me

now, the whole
world gets to
see what happens
when a fucking
joke goes too
far

--J.J. Campbell

Saturday, March 25, 2017

day SIXTY FIVE

Ballad of the Dark Knight   (Put Out The Fire)

The movie theater was your second home
Now that memory is tainted through the smoke
When the Joker creates another Colorado storm

The Dark Knight rises on a Jersey Wave
All his rifles and machine guns thrown away
And Gotham cries for justice
What a bloody plague

Put out the Fire
Put out the Fire
Put out the Fire Before It's Too Late
Put out the Fire 
Put out the Fire 
Put out the Fire Before It's Too Late 

When the memory of a massacre fades away
And the lobbyists fight for the NRA
More victims to be claimed in the good ol’ USA.

How many more victims will it take
For a federal ban to see the light of day
And assault weapons rust in their dirty grave

Chorus

I’m not sayin’ guns are solely to blame
You can hate me for my politics and thats okay 
But I’m just like you when sickness causes so much pain

Chorus

- Ben Burns


WineDrunk SideWalk: Shipwrecked in TrumpLand week NINE weekly wrap-up

I think this might be the first week that I get to start one of these wrap-ups with some good news…provided you consider the FBI formally investigating the White House for links into Russian interference with a United States Presidential election good news….we’ll take what we can get these days…I guess.

But that’s just what happened on Monday…. FBI directore, James “Hilary Clinton Killer” Comey, testified before the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI was INDEED investigating whether or not members of the DOUCHE campaign colluded with the Russians to help influence the 2016 election.  Comey was joined by the director of everyone’s favorite data storing agency, the NSA’s very own Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who dismissed the claim that everyone from your senile grandmother to your son and/or daughter’s bully already knows…that President Obama DID NOT wiretap DOUCHE’s phones/microwaves/etc at the Dark Tower.

Of course the White House dismissed most of the testimony as “fake news.” It has been a general practice here to NOT include the quotes of a raving lunatic so if you’d like to read what DOUCHE had to rant about I would suggest getting a Twitter account or giving your drunken uncle a call at the local VFW.

….confirmation hearings began for Judge Neil “Fascism Forever” Gorsuch on Capitol Hill this week in probably one of the more partisan opening sessions ever with Democrats complaining about the way the GOP treated Obama and his pick Merrick Garland, and the GOP reminding the Democrats that cheating, lying, obstruction and an overall inability to lead a nation can ONLY come from their side of the room. Gorsuch, for his part, read an opening speech where he basically gave a Tom Joad whitewash to his life/career…fly fishing anyone? The rest of this week has been pretty much softball questions from the Trump/Ryan terrorist faction of the government and the same, spineless Democrats we’ve known and loved for years….except for this guy...




….he really gave it to Gorsuch.

Look…we can go through four days of this bullshit…but let’s be honest. Unless it comes out that Gorsuch eats babies…he’s going to be confirmed by either the needed 60 votes (let us not forget how spineless the Democratic Party is) or the GOP will just change the rules to a simple majority vote…I mean this is a party staying numb on the fucking president playing footsie with Vladimir Putin so….

…a terrorist attack…in London…on the anniversary of the terrorist attack in Brussels…you don’t say…that’s right, for those of you sleeping under a rock on Wednesday afternoon (sissy European time that is, not big and tough morning AmeriKKKan time), a knife-wielding (the NY TMES word…I would NEVER use wielding) nutbag driving an SUV mowed down pedestrians along the Westminster Bridge, and stabbed a cop to death around the Parliament section of London, before being shot himself…and here I was thinking MY work days were boring. All kidding aside at least four people died and forty were injured in what is being called a terrorist attack, and the first in London since July of 2005. For those of you itching to change your Facebook photo to the Union Jack keep in mind that 50 people died last week in two separate bombings in the city of Damascus. Here’s a link to Syrian Flags. For his part DOUCHE tried to quell the fears of Americans worried about this sort of attack happening here by saying, and I quote: HA! HA! Told You So! London had gotten so bad! SAD!...actually did he even say anything at all?  I think he left it to DOUCHE Jr. to keep the family’s good name afloat.


Also…try this ONE on for size.


On Thursday the GOP failed at its first attempt to get a vote scheduled for a replacement/repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or as DOUCHE supporters like to call Obamacare…that is until they realize both are one in the same and that once America’s favorite Domestic Terrorist Party DOES replace/repeal they will be fucked…apparently the GOP couldn’t get the votes over an inter-party arguments over how many millions of Americans they could fuck even more. The ironically named Freedom Caucus met with DOUCHE on Thursday demanding that the federal health insurance requirements for basic benefits (maternity care, emergency services etc.) be cut from the bill…and rumor has it these freedom loving members of the GOP would also like to see the rule on pre-existing care removed as well. DOUCHE, for his part, after the vote was cancelled, threatened House GOPers by saying they either pass the bill or remain stuck with Obamacare….yet it looks like the House will still fall shy of the votes.

Is anybody surprised by this? The Republican Party hasn’t been able to effectively govern (if you want to call GOP style governing governance at all) since September 11, 2001. And having been the party of NO for eight years of President Obama’s term, they’ve simply lost whatever governing embers had remained. The GOP is a party of corporately owned petulant children who get hard every time they think about fucking over women and minorities. I’m not talking about fucking Goldman Sach’s speeches here, but actually feeling the ghostly spirit of corporate lobbyists from the past every single time one of these navy-suited, bullshit flag pin wearing racists speak….and as for Paul Ryan….if ever there was a mendacious, anti-intellectual, ineffective, spineless, craven little twerp in Congress currently worse than him…I have yet to see it. People call Paul Ryan a policy wonk….Paul Ryan couldn’t pass gas in a farting contest. Just in case you don't hate him enough....





Ladies and gentlemen and all others…I present the inevitable
 
Since the sun has a better chance of burning out before the GOP cares about anything other than its own corporate interests….my bet is that they are going to do something to make them look like they can govern…something warm and cozy…like giving tax breaks to the rich…and not the poor.
All the same another banner week in America as we witness the end of democracy as we know it. You can still SUBMIT2RESIST here at winedrunksidewalk@gmail.com
Stick around today at 12pm we have the musical stylings of Ben Burn and tomorrow at 12pm the poetry of J.J. Campbell.




Friday, March 24, 2017

day SIXTY FOUR


steak and ketchup

good christ
don’t worry what the president
puts on his steak
worry about the women that he’s assaulted
worry about the black men that will die
worry about your muslim neighbor
trying to get home from work
worry about nuclear codes in the hands
of an orange-faced petulant child
with baby-dick syndrome
worry about putin and computer hacks
worry about the head of the EPA denying climate change
worry about backroom deals
using the nation for huuuuuuuuuuuuuugge golf courses
and high-rise apartments in taiwan
worry about your health care
worry about your public schools
worry about pollution
worry about the great lakes filling up with sludge
worry about authoritarianism
give our crumbling infrastructure a go
worry about what over four hundred years
of the patriarchy can do to someone’s psyche
worry about toxic masculinity instead
worry that the attorney general is a racist
worry about a neo-nazi lurking around the white house
worry about the right to choose
worry about families fleeing from gangs
in el salvador, honduras and guatemala
say a prayer for the NEA and the NEH
but for christ’s sake
stop worrying about what the president
puts on his steak
be it ketchup or unicorn blood
worry about who he’s coming after next
because
it might just be
you.

--John Grochalski









Thursday, March 23, 2017

day SIXTY THREE

1984
 
They say the sales have gone up
in just the first five days
of this presidency,
that the use of
alternative facts
are the new
newspeak
the new
doublethink
in our new
regime.
 
Orwell could be a best seller once again.
 
I hope after that,
the populace
will move on to
It Can’t Happen Here
over
The Plot Against America
or the Man in the High Castle
because let’s be honest,
Roth and Dick have already had their day in the sun
and if America has decided
to read again
instead of watching
reality TV
instead of staring at their phones
and the asses
of beautiful women
if they’ve decided to educate
themselves about why
reality TV has begot a reality president
I think they should start with a challenge.
Or start with the People’s History of the United States
and see that we were never what we told ourselves we were
that the poor have been pushing back from day one
only to land under the boot of a cooperation.
Besides it’s only the first few days
in this new regime
so we’ve got plenty of time
to build a solid
fascist
reading list. 
 
---Ally Malinenko

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

day SIXTY TWO

The next phase
 
I sit back and watch as the unreal becomes real
horrors become usual
and outrage begins to fade.
 
Responsibility is not a negative,
a dirty word
to be avoided.
 
I am both here and not here.
 
Grief makes it more real
and less,
I don’t know
what comes next.
 
The moon was full last night
as we stepped out into the cold
 
this will be our last
time seeing the moon
over this particular field and hills.
 
I mourn it
but I am ready
to move to the
next phase.
 
Reuse could be the battle cry
for this generation
and the next
 
I am confident
that overall we are
getting smarter,
 
we must be
I tell myself
as I watch two boys
at preschool chase each other
around with a plastic saw.
The teacher calls after them,
“it’s not a weapon,
it’s for building things.”
 
They continue on in their game.
 
It stops raining finally
after 11 days of non-stop
water dropping from the sky
 
and for a moment
everyone’s mood is lightened.
 
--Susie Sweetland Garay

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

day SIXTY ONE

FIRST WE TAKE MANHATTAN

                                                    (click on image to enlarge)

by OSCAR VARONA

Monday, March 20, 2017

day SIXTY

United States of Addicts

Before we built Our shrines to
revolutionaries and reformist
seeking to make our nation
Equal, Free and Great

This has been perverted
Equal - if you conform
Free - only if you are received
Great - a hateful lie to enrage the ignorant

The shrines built now to the plastic people
with fancy names and famous spouses
They flock to their weekly televised antics
by the millions to get their fix -
greed, hate, ignorance and debauchery

And in our highest office
where a nation should be proud
There sits the deformed ken doll
neutered, stumpy, hate-filled orange creature
chosen by those addicts -
the reality TV junkies
"alternative fact" believers
too stupid to recognize the lies

Addicted to scandal and extreme
you voted or did not vote
like it was reality TV -
who is the next (insert stupid show) winner
and infected this nation with
lies, misogyny and racism

Welcome to nation of addicts
Their drug of choice is stupidity -
disguised in the form of reality TV
and now the presidency

--Melissa Pagan 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

day FIFTY NINE

Why We Voted for Hitler Trump
 
Because the economy’s been bad for so long
And no one seems able to fix it
Or maybe they just don’t care about us
And when a man can’t feed his family…
 
Because life was better in our parents’ day
We were strong and respected then
Traditional values hadn’t been ripped away and mocked
A man knew where he stood
 
Because we’ve always loved a strong leader
A man who knew what he believed
Who didn’t back down or care what others said
And besides, he right about the jews Muslims

by Michael Isgur

Saturday, March 18, 2017

day FIFTY EIGHT

the young may love without fear
dedicated to all who died fighting fascism
and to all who might


what would they think, those
lying in rest on the hill, white stones
marking their remains,
what would they think of us now
gleefully cheering an authoritarian
ego obsessed with ratings and
thrusting his fat chin high into the air?

what would they think,
those who died with bullets
shredding their guts, those who
died in fire, their flesh melting as they
screamed, those who drowned
beneath two hundred tons of sinking
steel and oil in Pacific waters,
those who exploded
in the air fighting fascism,
fighting party rule, fighting the
end of free speech and the right of
people to peaceably assemble
in their own homeland
on their own untainted soil,
what would they think?

our grandfathers and great-grandfathers
our grandmothers and great-grandmothers

 how have we devolved from the nation
that trampled fascism to the nation
that welcomed it?
how did we survive McCarthyism
only to again embrace it?
how have we allowed ourselves
to elevate a man who our
gentlemen grandfathers would
have punched in the mouth
had he ever spoken to
our grandmothers in the same
manner he has spoken of
women in public, on film, on
the radio?
and heaven help what our
grandmothers would have done to him
had he tried to force himself upon
their sassy hard-fisted selves

we, a nation always grappling with our
worst traits and habits,
always struggling with our ugly
history and cruelty, have
finally elevated our most banal
ethos to the highest seat,
we have risen to our lowest low

and what will we do now? will we
allow ourselves
to become our least selves?

will we let this
happen without a fight?

I do not ask you, reader
I do not ask these questions
to hear answers from the crowd
or from our leaders
I ask to hear from our
forefathers and foremothers    
I wait in silence for their voices
for they have seen what we now see
they have fought what we now fight
and I wait for them, I wait
in shame, I wait
but I also fight
so that
we may redeem
ourselves in their eyes
and that someday the young
may love without fear

---James Duncan

WineDrunk SideWalk: Shipwrecked in TrumpLand week EIGHT Wrap up

Week Eight….hell….pure hell

One of the hard things about writing this weekly post about the DOUCHE administration is that so many things just keep on happening. I post this on Saturdays at 10 A.M. EST, thinking, okay, it’s the weekend, DOUCHE is down in Florida at his Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong resort…nothing else should be happening until he farts his way back to Washington D.C. (on the taxpayers dime…I mean EVERY fucking weekend….we’re essentially paying for this asshole to play GOLF…and I fucking HATE golf)..but with this administration this is simply not the case.

Saturday morning…woke up to DOUCHE and his little ladybody, Jeffy Sessions, asking for the resignation of the remaining 46 U.S. attorneys to have served under President Obama…while this isn’t unusual in regards to administration transitions, doing things like this in bulk, ala a firing squad, sends a sort of authoritarian message…and maybe just a touch of paranoia.

HEY KIDS! BE CAREFUL AROUND THOSE MICROWAVES….they could be spy cameras.


That’s right…the DOUCHE administration let Kellyanne Conway off the leash again and she’s out there spouting her crazy. On Sunday Crazypants Conway said that President Obama could’ve used any number of devices to spy on the MENSA meetings going on at the Dark Tower….including using a microwave as a spy camera and a wiretap. She’s getting the Jim Halpert for that one…




…of course Kellyanne has since backed off from this statement saying she was speaking more in a broad manner and that she wasn’t just speaking about microwaves, but also coffee pots, tea cups, saucers etc….obviously SOMEONE is excited for the new Beauty and the Beast movie. All the same…I’m finding somewhere else to heat up my daily morning breakfast burrito.

…and if Sean Spicer can use “wiretapping” in quotes then I can continue to use “president” in quotes when writing about/talking about/dreaming about DOUCHE.

According to the Congressional Budget Office…TRUMPCARE could add an estimated 24 million people to the list of uninsured by 2026 but SAVE an estimated 337 Billion dollars in the budget…which, let’s be honest, will probably go to some bullshit war.

A Nor’Easter in March????? Say it ain’t so Joe…wish I could but yours truly is writing this from the comfort of my home, on a work day, with the wind/snow/sleet/freezing rain outside doing it’s worst…but EPA Director Scott  “Captain Carbon” Pruitt says not to worry about a storm like this so late in the Winter…and he knows what he’s talking about.

In other news….if you’re a fan of the EPA better start stocking up on those T-shirts and coffee mugs now…DOUCHE’s budget proposal, aside from cuts to the State Department and Agriculture, calls for a 31% decrease in spending for the EPA (insert crying Native American commercial here)….but, hey, if you enjoy blowing shit up, the budget also calls for a HUUUUGGGEEEE increase in military spending. The budget also, sadly, seeks to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, two organizations our art and knowledge hating GOPers have always been at odds with. Our Friends at the NY Times sum it up right HERE.

Honestly....anyone taking a look at DOUCHE's budget and is saying okay to this....
YOU HAVE NO SOUL.

Muslim Ban 2.0….DOA….FUCK YOU TRUMP. Of course DOUCHE tried to double down on the ban at one of his Neo-Nazi/Klan rallies in Tennessee by calling the block “political” and that he was going to bring back the original Muslim Ban….what a “tough” guy baby-dick is!

Russia’s favorite Attorney General Dzheff Sessions announced this week that it was time to get “tough” on crime and drug dealers in America…which is the GOP equivalent of saying, gee, we haven’t arrested enough Black and Latino dudes this year…..suburban white drug dealers named Todd and Chad rejoiced at the news….i give the DOUCHE administration until May before they start talking about Welfare Queens…or Dancing Queens…or however DOUCHE remembers it.

Brief observation that I stole from someone else….Trump is the President and Bill Cosby is a rapist…those of you out there STILL nostalgic for the 1980s….let me be the first to say FUCK YOU.



Just last Sunday the New York Times published in article about Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State who is pretty much a ghost….well, the real Rex Tillerson showed up in Japan this week aiming to reset the way the United States deals with North Korea. Secretary Exxon said that the U.S. needed a “different approach” in dealing with North Korea’s escalating nuclear threat….apparently in the DOUCHE administration a “different approach” means a possible military strike…wonder how China feels about that?

On Friday DOUCHE met with the last bastion of a liberal world order, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the meeting seemed to get off to a great start when DOUCHE REFUSED A REQUEST TO SHAKE MERKEL’S HAND….but he did find the time to quadruple down on this whole wiretapping business…apparently it was the British the whole time.

This fucking administration wears me out. From Bannon’s Apocalyptic Budget present by his orange-hued puppet to being too much of a baby to shake someone’s hand…every single day of this madness is a WHAT THE FUCK moment….and thanks to the GOP being a pack of spineless freedom hating cowards we still have 1403 days to go of this.

I say bring on the NUKES.

Anyway…while we still have civilization…if you’d like to share your art about DOUCHE or about all the fucked up bullshit going on in the world…feel free to send poems, short stories, art work my way at Winedrunksidewalk@gmail.com SUBMIT2RESIST

Stick around…today at 12pm we have the work of James Duncan and tomorrow at 12pm the work of Michael Isgur
 
 


Friday, March 17, 2017

day FIFTY SEVEN

under donald trump

found myself
thinking about how it must feel
for melania under donald trump
i mean is it a horrifying thirty seconds
trapped beneath what looks like
two hundred and sixty pounds of orange plastic garbage bags?
does she imagine he’s one of his grease-ball sons
as trump pumps away thinking about
fourteen year old pageant contestants or thai ladyboys
are the moans of pleasure real?
although from what we’ve heard in the press
about the donald’s baby-dick
a certain amount of acting must be taking place
and does melania think about that?
like what her life could’ve been
if she hadn’t traded it all to become a trophy wife
to america’s biggest philistine
would it be B horror or B comedy films?
the harmless tit flick on late night cable tv
would the modeling career have taken off
jet setting and celebrity romance?
or maybe she would’ve chucked it all
and become a neurosurgeon
…i’m talking after the work visa came through
does she regret being a part of the birther movement
christ, can she even breathe under that slobbering beast?
wondering what pussy he grabbed on the way home
if it was assault, consensual at all?
i can’t even imagine being asphyxiated under that nazi
smelling his red meat breath
tasting his poisoned saliva
while being bitch-slapped with his comb-over
…and pretending to like it?
give melania the academy award for that one
or better yet for even being able to smile in public
holding hands with that philandering, sherbet grinch
i don’t even know
what got me thinking about this shit in the first place
i was in midtown and i was hungry
i got lost looking for the NBC store at rockefeller center
and some black dude tried to hand me a cd of music
saying don’t be scared of black people, when i wouldn’t take it
and i thought about being frightened
being truly frightened
and then she just came to me
melania under donald trump
pretending at her job like we all do
giving his flabby ass a cursory squeeze
secretly praying for him to finish in under twenty seconds
hoping for a better and more fulfilling life
or maybe just to get fired
grab the kid
a stack of cash
and take the first available flight
back to stunning slovenia           

--John Grochalski

                                

Thursday, March 16, 2017

day FIFTY SIX

After Midnight Melancholia IV
“There are only three things to be done with a woman,” said Clea once. “You can love her, you can suffer for her, or you can turn her into literature.” –Lawrence Durrell, Justine

Didn’t you quote Justine once?
Or was it another?
A different you
from a time before or after,
an old friend,
someone I’d seen naked.

I could have imagined it.
I imagine so many things:
faces in leaves,
the courts of insect hierarchies,
legions of ancient mainframe computers
buried in a concrete labyrinth miles beneath the earth
whirring through a sea of breathless data,
calculating a list, checking twice,
The stories between the words,
in the measurement of margins,
in the deep inhalation of breath before the candidate speaks.
Can you imagine?
imagine me
like I imagine you.
Either way,
I think we can both agree
the book was butterflied,
propped open by your bedside,
quick in your hands
like a prop in a play,
something with purpose,
design.
Whose design?
Mine?
Or someone different?
Someone from before or after.
Someone you’d seen naked.
It’s unlikely it was your mother.
You being older then,
older than you are now,
and living alone,
not a child in someone else’s house.
It’s hard to tell the pears from the pages.
After so many years
and so many cigarettes,
it all begins to taste the same.
There’s only a hazy sense of place,
as if it were all clouds
and I just a child on a hill,
time only where the tether slips
when I reach my hand to pluck another dandelion.
Even so, I think we can agree
Durrell reeks of corpses.
But then, so do you
and I,
and this city,
and the traffic lights
turned by wind and made to spin,
and the cars clicking
their dirty clockwork all night
and the half-naked woman,
eyes blinded in the bus stop enclosure,
pulling her shorts to her ankles,
and turning a circle with her hips,
the men from the liquor store
drawing out their cell phones.
Everyone becoming camera now,
a seething wave of insect eyes
mapping the map,
dressing the bride in her digital gown.
Every ounce of air
full of frantic particles
eager to expel heat.

But why should I blame Durrell—
He’s never done anything to me.
I’ve never even finished one of his books—
or the palm fronds like desiccated wings
gathered around the trunk of the tree,
or Pepsi-Cola,
or Big Oil,
or Charles Babbage,
or anything.
I mean, they’re my eyes after all,
my lungs so full of smoke and coughs,
my bones so brittle and shattered into spines.
I can only drink so much before I get sick.

Besides, I love corpses.
They’re my business.

All this flesh falling away,
I gather it up,
make a kind of origami.
“It’s alive. It’s alive.
It’s five for a dollar.
Everything must go.”
Everything a corpse
until we breathe life.

-- Larry Duncan

Bio: Larry Duncan currently lives in Redondo Beach, CA. His poetry has appeared in Juked, the Mas Tequila Review, Emerge Literary Journal and the Free State Review. He is the author of two chapbooks, Crossroads of Stars and White Lightning and Drunk on Ophelia. To learn more about Larry and his writing, visit at http://larrydunc.wix.com/larry-duncan


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

day FIFTY FIVE

The Molten Mirror Shows Himself

The Orange Menace admires The Molten Mirror.
“@FollowMMorElse shows you all your weaknesses
before melting you into a heap of slop,” he writes.
“Effective leader. Would work with him anytime!”

The Molten Mirror used to be a police officer,
became too curious about science, stood too close
to chemical reactions, where opposing cultures crash.
He discovered how to police as more than one man.

The Orange Menace asks The Molten Mirror to visit.
He arranges a summit of golf at Citrus Palisades.
The Molten Mirror has manipulated his form
to accommodate pub cap, argyle sweater, spikes.

The Molten Mirror says there’s no need to look away.
The Orange Menace tries to find eyes but sees only
fast food, women, dotted lines to sign, incarnations
of himself losing control, so many incarnations.

The Orange Menace seeps into the green on Hole 17.
The Molten Mirror taps in an easy putt for birdie,
calls a groundskeeper to hose things down, tweets,
“I’m so pleased to be your Mulligan, America. :)”

--Daniel M. Shapiro

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

day FIFTY FOUR

Mary and the Future

Talking with Mary between breaks at banjo night
I was supposed to meet her husband here
he’s having a meltdown, the current state
of American politics has him boiling
I understand, I’ve had fluttering
in my abdomen, occasional but definite since the election
I can’t escape these conversations
I don’t want to escape these conversations
it seems all of the gatherings I end up at
teeter at the point of bursting
we are celebrating excesses now for an uncertain future
we are dreading an uncertain future
we are preparing for the worst
we are asking ourselves difficult moral questions
we are all outright frightened
Mary is no different
I am no different

We talk about me maybe losing my job
as a new years gift, I’m running
the last five years in my head
2011 is the last year I was fully employed
the next year, I was on the road, living on severance
in 13 I worked five different part time jobs
for seven different places, or was it more
the last three years I’ve been employed
mostly because I was running a friends business
he was attempting a recovery from cancer
my new employer says business won’t keep up enough
for even one paid employee
each year I’ve done more with less

The conversation with Mary echoes so many
what are we doing, what can we do, how do we do
NOW!
I say the same thing, its so fucking American
instant gratification, most of us asleep
while our country has been slowly commandeered
by robber barons, by fascists, by a class of people
who serve themselves, who pay politicians to serve
them. No one still wants to admit this is class war

In postindustrial America we sat and waited
our seats at empty tables no said anything
it’s a farce to believe
an industrial revolution will come again
now its an automated revolution
as such we should be working less for more
no one is saying that, like no one questioned before

in three weeks we expect easy answers
there are no easy answers from here, there never was
we’ve gone backwards, we will keep going backwards

I say, Mary this is when as artists
as intellectuals, as advocates, as allies
this is the time to build our communities
as we should have been before
from the bottom up, this is how we’ll shield our friends
this is how we’ll inform those who haven’t been
this how we start to change, it has to start local
and merge into something national
the laws of inertia apply to humans
the same way they apply to objects
now is the time for movement
she wants to believe me
I want to believe me too

--Jason Baldinger 

Monday, March 13, 2017

day FIFTY THREE


Darwin Slaughter kept reaching for his Megadeth CD as he drove northbound on the Garden State Parkway, but each time he quickly thought better of it.

He had been warned.

One more violation of the Gillers Moral Superiority Act and Tax Omnibus Executive Order of 2017, and Darwin faced a punishment cruel enough to keep him from taking any chances. If he dared listen to any music whatsoever, tiny electronic devices embedded beneath the pavement, known as “rhythm detectors,” would send out a signal to Federal Vice Police dispatchers. In a matter of moments, a convoy of red Ford Crown Victorias would be in hot pursuit of Darwin “Shock” Slaughter, disc jockey at New Jersey’s WRAT-FM, formerly a hard-rock station.

Listening to his fellow WRAT DJ, Goatman Greg, trying to deliver an international news report was about as enjoyable as a root canal. Yet Darwin found himself in the strange position of being jealous of Goat, a fellow rocker reduced to mumbling in a crabby monotone about unprecedented floods in Eastern Europe and guerrilla warfare in the Sudan. As the least senior DJ at the “Rat,” Darwin had no shot at reading glamorous stuff, like the international news.

For the past six weeks, he had been reduced to reading obituaries on the air.

Darwin punched the volume knob in frustration, leaving him with just the drone of the old Honda Accord’s out-of-tune engine, and his distant sound of his father’s voice, chiding him over and over. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain,” white-haired Dustin Slaughter warned his politically apathetic son on the eve of Election Day 2016. Sorry, Dad, but I’m complaining, he muttered to himself. How was he supposed to know that talk-show host Marvin Gillers’ DOWN WITH ART 2016 presidential campaign was serious? How was he supposed to know that Americans would elect a president so intent on restoring “Christian family values” that he was willing to enact a ban on music?

For weeks after the enactment of the Moral Superiority Act, Darwin dragged himself down the Garden State Parkway to the radio station to recite the obituaries to coastal New Jersey, stubbornly keeping the faith that one day soon, the music would return. It had to.

But it wasn’t. Popular music had grown so derivative and wretched by 2017 that most of the white, working-class voters in middle America who voted for Gillers didn’t miss it. The public support for the executive order astounded Darwin and his colleagues at the Rat—but it shouldn’t have.

After all, the formation of the twenty-million-strong Federal Vice Police, and the instant jobs for the construction workers and engineers who installed the rhythm detectors in record time, had almost completely eliminated unemployment. The few dissenters to the Act, mainly along the coasts, were belittled and branded “liberals.”

 

A Married with Children rerun was about to start as Darwin sat on his sofa that night, wolfing down cold Spaghetti-O’s directly from the can. Just as the suave crooning of Frank Sinatra was about to come through the TV speakers, a shrill female voice filled the room instead.

PHONE call! PHONE call! PHONE call!”

Darwin groaned. When people found their telephone bells were setting off the rhythm detectors, resulting in millions of unwarranted bust-ins by the Federal Vice Police, the FCC ordered the immediate switchover of the nation’s 1.3 billion landline and cellular phones from ring to voice notification. A contest was held to find the one voice that would notify people nationwide that someone was calling them. In a cruel twist of irony, the winner turned out to be one-time pop-music sensation Avril Lavigne.

“Yeah,” Darwin mumbled.

“I’m fucking bored, Shock,” moaned his girlfriend, Scarlet. “You need to come here.”

Darwin froze, staring blankly at the TV. Instead of the dulcet tones of Sinatra, there was nothing but buzzy feedback as the lyrics to the classic theme song appeared in bold green letters at the bottom of the screen.

LOVE AND MARRIAGE

LOVE AND MARRIAGE

GO TOGETHER LIKE A

HORSE AND CARRIAGE

 

Those fuckers, Darwin thought, angrily hitting the power button on the remote.

“I’ll see you in ten, babe,” said Darwin, grabbing his car keys.

 

As he closed the door of the Honda and headed for Scarlet’s apartment, Darwin couldn’t help but feel a nauseous sensation percolating in the pit of his stomach, as if he’d downed too many shots too fast. Still, when Scarlet answered the door, Darwin’s body tensed up excitedly. In a trashy gray low-cut tank top, a sharply spiked black leather necklace, and tight faded jeans cuffed at her bare ankles, Scarlet was red hot. Her platinum blond hair was wild, but attractively so. The fringes around her brown eyes were bathed in sky-blue eye shadow.

“Hey, babe,” he said.

Scarlet’s demeanor was cold, all business. She motioned for Darwin to come in and he obediently followed.

“What are you waiting for?” Scarlet asked coldly.

Darwin failed to respond, the nauseous sensation intensifying despite his better wishes.

Scarlet undressed herself with one hand and tacitly pushed Darwin toward her dilapidated convertible sofa with the other. Wasting no time, she unlaced his Vans sneakers, slid off his jeans, and lifted off his Iron Maiden T-shirt, leaving a pair of black socks as his only barrier from her thin, warm body. She forced his right hand off her small, knob-like breasts and onto her corduroys; he fumbled awkwardly with his right hand to unbutton them as their lips locked in an almost violent kiss. Before Darwin could completely gain his bearings, he felt her body thrusting against his, up and down in imperfect, syncopated rhythm.

In the absence of the heavy metal that always used to play when they made love, his ears filled with a ringing sensation that gradually grew from benign to bothersome. They were completely out of sync. All at once, all Darwin could think of were the day’s obituaries that he’d read on the air. 91-year-old Alice Fletcher of Lakewood, who’d left behind twenty-three grandchildren. 52-year-old Henry Slovinsky of Toms River, who’d smoked in bed and paid the price. 26-year-old Darwin Slaughter, whose soul was dying in a world without music.

A sense of panic set in. Nothing was happening. Darwin realized he hadn’t had a decent conversation with Scarlet in weeks. Their entire chemistry revolved around music, going to hardcore and metal shows. When that was taken away from them, their relationship was done for. But it just kept going, like a train rolling slowly toward a deep cliff, with no brakeman to stop it. 

 Just as Darwin finally willed himself into a modest state of ecstasy, Scarlet stopped cold. She stared at him with wide open, threatening eyes. The ringing in Darwin’s ears grew unbearably dissonant. The silence in the room seemed as loud as an airplane taking off.

“What’s wrong with you?” Scarlet’s disappointed voice suddenly rose from the quiet.

“This is driving me insane,” Darwin said weakly, reaching for his jeans. “I need music.”

 “I’ve got headphones. Play something.”

Play something?” Darwin was surprised by the anger in his voice. “Don’t you know what they do to third-time offenders? They’re going to put me in solitary, tie me to a fucking chair and play Barry Manilow songs every minute of the day for twenty years! And you’re telling me to fucking play something?”  

“I don’t think we should see each other anymore,” Scarlet growled.

Darwin opened his mouth to say something, but no sound came out.

“Bye, Shock,” she said, tossing him his clothing one piece at a time. “Better luck next time.”

 

Darwin couldn’t sleep. Every time he started to fade out, massive symphony orchestras started playing in his head. Every time he woke up, he wasn’t in a concert hall, but in his apartment watching the lyrics to sitcom theme songs flash on the TV.

Three o’clock passed. Four o’clock. It was hopeless. He had to hear music, somewhere, anywhere, or he was going to lose it. “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. “Paradise City” by Guns ‘n’ Roses. “Oops, I Did It Again” by Britney Spears, for fuck’s sake. “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” The theme music to Family Feud. Anything!

Darwin got dressed, threw his leather jacket and sneakers on, and grabbed his car keys, slamming the door behind him. His Honda Accord would take him someplace to save him from the hideous silence.

He turned the key and the twenty-year-old heap cranked and cranked, but wouldn’t start. “Fucking lemon!” Darwin screamed into the dead air.

He kept cranking the engine, the starter motor turning progressively slower, the warning lights flickering mournfully on the dashboard. After four tries, the engine sluggishly came to life. Darwin floored the gas pedal in triumph, and the car roared raucously into the night.

The rhythm detectors were programmed not to detect car engines, Darwin realized with delight.

He listened to the sweet sound of the idling motor for a few moments, then gave the gas pedal another shove. The sound was so coarse, so industrial, so wonderful.

A wide-eyed Darwin gunned the engine, let it go, gunned it harder. Bedroom lights illuminated up and down the block. Darwin grinned as the orange RPM needle danced across the instrument panel. It was like a junkie’s first hit of cocaine.

Darwin revved it to the red line. He was so busy laughing that he didn’t notice the oil light glowing crimson on the panel. In seconds, the engine choked to a halt, the front end of the Accord lost in an oily torrent of smoke. 

 

PHONE call! PHONE call! PHONE call!” the cell phone screamed hours later. Darwin opened his eyes languidly and groaned, confused as to why it was so bright outside, and what he was doing sleeping in his car. It was 9:23 a.m.

“Yeah,” Darwin groaned, but there was no one on the other end. He threw the phone across the passenger compartment.

Darwin tried the ignition, and when he got nothing but a pitiful scraping of metal against metal, remembered why he was in the car.

He picked the phone off the floor and called for a cab. Half an hour later, a yellow Toyota Camry pulled alongside his broken-down Accord. “Carnegie Hall,” he told the driver.

An abrupt burst of acceleration pushed Darwin back in his seat before he could fasten his seat belt. Within minutes, they were on the New Jersey Turnpike, weaving through the eastern spur at nearly a hundred miles per hour.

“Uh, sir, maybe you should slow down?” Darwin spluttered as the Camry twisted through the helix leading down to the Lincoln Tunnel like a race car rocketing through time trials.  

“I get so bored driving this cab without a radio,” the driver grumbled, braking sharply and swerving to avoid ramming a slow-moving truck. Darwin exhaled deeply. “Hey, is that a Jimi Hendrix shirt you’re wearing?”

“I’m amazed I haven’t been arrested yet for wearing it,” Darwin lamented.

“Jimi Hendrix is a guitar god. One of my biggest regrets is that I was born too late to share a stage with him. That man could play the guitar like nobody’s business.”

“I’d give anything to listen to ‘Crosstown Traffic’ right now. Or ‘Foxey Lady.’ Or anything.”

“Same here, man, same here. My life has been such a mess since I can’t jam with my band anymore. Look at what I’ve been reduced to, man. From winning Grammy Awards to driving a cab sixteen hours a day just to make rent.”

Darwin’s nausea intensified as the taxi escaped the Lincoln Tunnel and whizzed up Eighth Avenue, then turned right onto 57th Street. He studied the stickers in the cab, his eyes falling on the driver’s hack license. His jaw dropped when he saw the driver’s name: MATTHEWS, DAVE.

“Forty-five, buddy,” Dave Matthews said as the car stopped at the northeast corner of 57th and Seventh.

Darwin handed Dave three twenties. He wasn’t going to stiff a rock icon, even one whose music he thought was stoner-hipster garbage.

“Thanks, man!” Dave said excitedly. “If you’re buying a lot of plywood, I can have a minivan dispatched for you. Just tell me what time you think you’re going to get out of there.”

“I don’t think I need a—oh, shit.”

Darwin looked out the window. Orange and white balloons hung from the entrance of Carnegie Hall, the elegant marquee emblazoned with a new sign: HOME DEPOT – NOW OPEN!

“At least they turned Carnegie into something useful,” Dave said. “Lincoln Center’s now the world’s largest Walgreens.”

Darwin handed Dave another twenty. “Yankee Stadium, Dave,” he said, “and step on it.”

 

With Dave Matthews driving ninety up the Henry Hudson Parkway, Darwin got to Yankee Stadium in plenty of time to plunk $106 on a seat in the right-field upper deck.  Shortly after one o’clock, a recording of the legendary Eddie Layton playing the Star-Spangled Banner on the Yankee Stadium organ would blast through the Stadium’s speakers, with an amateur chorus of 53,000 singing along.

“May I have your attention please…ladies and gentlemen,” the so-called “Voice of God,” ageless public address announcer Bob Sheppard, beckoned to the crowd at two minutes after one. “Please rise…and remove your caps…for the recitation…of our national anthem.”

Recitation?

The words lit up, one line at a time, on the Diamond Vision screen, and as Darwin watched in horror, the crowd read the words blandly:

OH SAY CAN YOU SEE

BY THE DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT

WHAT SO PROUDLY WE HAIL’D

AT THE TWILIGHT’S LAST GLEAMING?

 

Darwin stared out at Monument Park beyond the left-field wall. He envisioned Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle turning in their respective graves.

Right around the middle of the anthem, an impeccably dressed older man jumped onto the field, ran to the microphone behind home plate that remained from a pre-game ceremony, and belted out a convincing tenor solo.

And the roh-kets red glaaaaaare!” he sang passionately over the crowd’s monotone. “The bombs BURST-ing in aaaaaaaair!

A squadron of Federal Vice Police, uniformed in bright red military fatigues and red steel-toe Doc Martens, raced out of the visiting team’s dugout. They surrounded the impromptu anthem singer, guns drawn.

“YOU WERE WARNED, JOHN AMIRANTE!” screamed one of the soldiers, his voice carrying through the microphone. “WE HOPE YOU LIKE ‘COPACABANA!’”

The offender was dragged forcibly off the field. The crowd murmured uneasily.

“Let us continue…with the recitation…” Bob Sheppard implored the fans. And they did, soullessly reading the words on the Diamond Vision as if there had been no interruption at all.

 

Darwin ditched the Stadium before a pitch was thrown, jumping on an empty No. 4 express train to Union Square. The red fa├žade of Irving Plaza, the concert hall where he and Scarlet had first met at that fateful Machine Head concert, had turned electric blue. Irving Plaza had become a Citibank.

He got back on the train, continued down to Bowling Green.

It was his last hope.

Whitehall Ferry Terminal was packed. A digital clock above the Slip One boarding doors counted down the minutes to the next Staten Island Ferry’s departure in giant red numbers. His last chance to hear music was just eight minutes away.  Seven minutes…six minutes…five minutes.

A massive orange ferryboat grew larger through the glass as it eased into the slip. Darwin fought his way to the front of the crowd and anxiously waited for the giant glass doors to slide open.

“Excuse me, where do you buy tickets for ferry?” a middle-aged man with an Italian accent asked Darwin.

“There are no tickets,” Darwin responded. “It’s free.”

“Thank you kindly. I look forward so much to seeing Statue of Liberty.”

“I look forward so much to hearing the beautiful music.”

The tourist eyed Darwin skeptically, as if he had grown an extra head on his shoulders.

Four minutes. 

The boat was secured to the dock, and a large crowd plodded up the ramps. The mob seemed never-ending. Three minutes, then two. Darwin anxiously drummed his fingers against the glass.

One minute.

At last, the captain of the ferry gave the signal to load the boat. The glass doors silently crept open. Darwin charged down the ramp.

There it was: the Spirit of America. Darwin raced to the front of the massive Staten Island Ferry, leaning right against the metal gates protecting him from the edge of the boat. He glanced up at the pilot house, bracing himself for the joy of the big moment. As soon as the ferry began to sail, its fog horn would fill New York Harbor with a sonorous trombone blast.

The ferry started coasting away from the dock and into the bay. A seemingly endless minute passed before the vessel reached full throttle. Darwin’s heart was beating so fast it almost hurt.

“All crew members to the main deck for the harbor warning procedure,” the captain’s voice crackled over the public address.

 Huh? Darwin suddenly found himself surrounded by the Spirit of America’s entire crew of sixteen deckhands, each dressed identically in navy blue uniforms. They cupped their hands in the shape of bullhorns and roared in unison into the New York afternoon. 

 

AAY! ALL YOUSE BOATS! GET OUTTA THE WAY!

 

That was it.

Darwin started to shake. Around him, children screamed. Tourists laughed.

“Those fuckers stole our music,” Darwin muttered to himself. “Those fuckers stole our music,” he repeated incessantly as he climbed over the metal gates, finding himself on the narrow perch separating man from harbor.

“Hey!” a squat deckhand bellowed at him. “Remain behind the designated barriers for docking!”

Darwin turned around and faced the crowd of tourists.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED YOU!” he screamed. Only a few people glanced up.

“Richie, we got a 12-9 on the main deck, Staten Island end,” a big, bald deckhand said into his walkie-talkie.

 “IN THE NAME OF ‘CHRISTIAN FAMILY VALUES,’ YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS BANNED MUSIC, THE INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE OF—”

“You were warned, Darwin Slaughter!” an announcement boomed from a distant megaphone. “This is your third violation of the Moral Superiority Act and Tax Omnibus Executive Order of 2017! Step back behind the gate, and put your hands over your mouth!”

Darwin turned to face the passengers, refusing to back down.

“DON’T FUCKING STAND FOR THIS!” he screamed, a few members of the crowd staring at him blankly.

A squadron of Vice Police marched through the doorway onto the deck, their red boots pounding the bare metal floor.

“Stand down, Slaughter!” the lead cop bellowed through his megaphone, machine gun drawn. “There’s no way out!”

“You’ll be doing the Bandstand Boogie at Sing Sing, boy!” another Vice Policeman chimed in.

We’re not gonna take it!” Darwin sang angrily in a raspy voice. “Oh no, we ain’t gonna take it! SING ALONG!” he screamed at the crowd. Their faces were lined with confusion. They had never heard of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister.

“SHUT UP, SLAUGHTER, OR WE OPEN FIRE!” the lead officer roared.

Darwin, left with no choice, rushed for the starboard side of the boat and belly-flopped into the icy currents below.

In the wake of the Gillers Moral Superiority Act and Tax Omnibus Executive Order of 2017, there was only one situation in which music was permissible: it was still legal to sing “Danny Boy” at funerals. Knowing the frigid April currents would kill him in a matter of minutes, the crowd on the deck of the ferry joined in a chorus of the Irish folk song. 

Darwin swam furiously after the Spirit of America, pumping his arms and legs for dear life, savoring every moment of the sweet, sweet music.

--ERIC COHEN

SUBMIT2RESIT: winedrunksidewalk@gmail.com