Monday, December 17, 2018


The Most Powerful Hobby

It begins
as it always begins
a phone buzzing
distant breaking news alert
a skipped breath as we wonder
“Who do I know near there?”

Years ago
Nick responded to my panic text
“I know the shooter, she’s fucking insane”
Claire and Neal live near Stoneman
This time it was near my house,
I guess everyone gets a turn to host
these days

They tell us to
run. hide. fight.
as if
as if

They say this is the price of freedom
and no
it is never ever free
still, we find ourselves
recalculating the interest
to the point
where the principal
will never be paid

But then
what are we to do
give us your weary
your insecure
frightened to go downtown
paranoid about the government
weekend camo cosplayers
Walmart shopper survivalists

But that’s the thing
this is really just about shopping
no one is stopping a predator drone
and the good guys with guns
put holes in their basement ceilings
during routine cleaning accidents

I understand
almost, though I only graduated
from baseball cards
to books and records
maybe someday
I can get a classic car

Blame it on human nature
blame it on the summer heat
talk about Chicago all you want
(whisper quietly)
about the mixing of the races
but this is just about defending shopping

The rush of acquisition
the primal urge of the hoard
the knowledge that
you earned this
treat yourself
every fucking day

Tell yourself
this is about patriotism
and safety
and that when shit goes down
you’ll be ready
flying sideways in slow-mo
every bullet hitting its target

Sure man
if you can pay for it
you can have it
even if you don’t understand
the price

--Matthew Ussia

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