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

Sunday, March 12, 2017

day FIFTY TWO

all the good people
with cokes and ice cream cones


all the good people
with cokes and ice cream cones
are walking the george washington bridge
they are taking photos of new york city
selfies and group shots to post online
and bike riders are riding in lycra gangs
ringing their asinine bells at anyone in their way
and the joggers are getting fit
it’s seventy degrees out in february for a third day
it is so easy to smile into the face
of our own ecological damnation
ah, but the hudson river looks like melted gold
reflecting off of the sun
and manhattan shines like a wondrous emerald oz
today we are sweating as we hustle along the bridge
tomorrow there will be snow showers
and the weather will barely reach forty
and the lovers holding hands will hide inside and shiver
the wind will howl
tossing garbage cans and tree bark
the bike riders and joggers will take the bus
and all the good people
with cokes and ice cream cones
will sit in their homes and sip tea and eat soup
manhattan will turn gray again
the hudson river will get choppy
the sun will shun us like dead love
winter will make winter great again
for at least a couple of days
before it turns seventy degrees once more
and all of the people will come back outside
to walk the george washington bridge like clueless lemmings
smiling zombies waddling in end times
never thinking for a moment
how much better it could be
to simply step up on the metal ledge
and jump the hell off.

           --John Grochalski

SUBMIT2RESIST @ winedrunksidewalk@gmail.com








                                              

Saturday, March 11, 2017

day FIFTY ONE

let's destroy nightmares

i wish this were
only a nightmare
so i could open my eyes,
and will it all away;
so many insist
that we must give him a chance
and accept the will
of the people—
yet they don't seem to be literate
because he lost the popular vote
which meant most of america
didn't like the man,
and i can safely say he's not my president;
i don't believe in bigotry or hatred or the wars
that he so loves—
when nightmares become reality
i've realized we cannot
succumb to despair,
but dream brighter and better dreams to conquer
this darkness to fight it with everything within
our spirits;
because only light can destroy
nightmares, darkness, and monsters.

- linda m. crate

SUBMIT2RESIST winedrunksidewalk@gmail.com

WineDrunk SideWalk: Shipwrecked in Trumpland Weekly Wrap Up week SEVEN

Week 7…and it’s been doozy.

I suppose we should start with the most outrageous and work our way around Crazytown from there, huh?

Saturday morning America and the world woke up to a series of insane tweets by so-called “president” sherbet baby-dick (I need an acronym for this gas bag because I’m getting tired of writing this…so fake ass POTUS45 will now be known by the acronym DOUCHE) accusing President Obama of wiretapping him in Trump Tower during his nefarious, racist, xenophobic, sexist presidential campaign that warmed the hearts of wealthy and inbred white people throughout the nation. Almost immediately FBI director (and DOUCHE enabler) James Comey asked the Justice Department to deny these allegations…but since the Justice Department no longer exists they were unable to do so.

See…the thing is Presidents cannot order unilaterally order a wiretap. Usually this involves someone, say, like the FBI and the justice department, going to a federal judge and making the case for someone to be wiretapped. If DOUCHE had one shred of a shred of an idea of how this country works he would’ve KNOWN that. But since he doesn’t and continues to surround himself with yes-men/women and an ex-methhead neo-nazi….he never will. And let’s just say all the stars DID align and DOUCHE was being surveilled…well….then most likely you just outed yourself as a target in an ongoing investigation…..fucking idiot.

The week also gave us Muslim Ban 2.0 which looks an awful lot like the illegal Muslim Ban 1.0 except for the following changes: Iraq is excluded from the ban as well as lawful permanent resident s and those folks with visas issued before that dark day of January 20th, 2017. The fucker is still as Islamophobic and Xenophobic as one can get. Hawaii has the distinction of becoming the first state to challenge this revised piece of camel dung.

Are we done yet….not even close, bud.

Paul Ryan, one of the heads of the domestic terrorist organization formally known as the Republican Party, helped launch the American Health Care Act (AKA World’s Greatest Health Care Act of 2017) this week, seven years in the making….and it looked an awful lot like President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Look, I don’t know much about health care and I see a doctor about as frequently as I do Haley’s Comet but you can find all the information on the differences between TRUMPCARE (rumor has it he hates the name…so feel free to use it) and the ACA right HERE….or just find a raving old person on the street and they’ll give you a mouthful. The one thing I do know is that from what I’ve read it seems that a lot of those good old patriots who voted for DOUCHE are going to be affected negatively should Ted Cruz and the Tea Party republicans completely capitulate and vote for this thing. I for one am happy…any DOUCHE created tragedy that should befall his supporter I welcome with open arms.


Hey….GUESS WHAT???? The new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, doesn’t not believe that Co2 (or Carbon Dioxide as the Hoi Polloi call it) is a main contributor, a statement that puts him at odds with NEARLY EVERY FUCKING SCIENTIST AND RATIONAL THINKING HUMAN BEING OUT THERE….christ, Bannon wasn’t lying when he said these people were picked to tear shit down….and happier news my local Army/Navy surplus store is selling gas masks for 30% off!

...and for the record it was 60 degrees here in NYC on Thursday....Friday we had snow...
and today I froze my ass off walking to work in 20 degree weather....so.....

Hey the CIA is spying on us....maybe....at least according to documents released by Wikileaks.
If DOUCHE is that mean boyfriend/girlfriend who acts nice in front of people you know,
Wikileaks is more like that cool boyfriend/girlfriend who does that one horrible, unforgiving
thing....like killing your pet. Anyway...so the CIA might be using smart phones, smart TVs,
etc. to spy on people....big fucking surprise there.  In all honesty anything designed and
called a "smart" product will usually make you look stupid in the end...and thus this
is why I continue in my quest to be the last human being EVER to own a smart phone.

stick around we've got Linda M. Crate today at 12pm and yours truly tomorrow
at 12pm.

SUBMIT2RESIST winedrunksidewalk@gmail.com








Friday, March 10, 2017

day FIFTY

roses are red
violets are purple
but nothing rhymes with purple
so we alter the truth
to better fit the scheme
to better confirm to what's expected
and nobody seems to care
that violets are not
really blue

 -- Beren Weil

SUBMIT2RESIST: winedrunksidewalk@gmail.com

Thursday, March 9, 2017

day FORTY NINE

 
Today everyone will wake up. We will want to crawl back under the covers to hide, but we won’t. Something is stopping us. Remember what that something is. Today is a day of many days. Soon, the sun will swell into a red giant. It won’t remember a time when it was a perfect blue circle of ice.

When gravity fails us, our words will tug the universe. It will cradle us in a blanket of stars and sing the song of us. We will remember.

 -- Hillary Leftwich


Hillary Leftwich is co-host for At the Inkwell, a NYC based reading series and organizes/hosts other reading events around Denver. Her writing can be found online and in print.

SUBMIT2RESIST: winedrunksidewalk@gmail.com