This poem consists of three “acts,” of which the first two were published in Volume 6 (January 1st, 2019) of The American Journal of Poetry. The entire poem subsequently appeared in (DISSINFORMATION), published by Main Street Rag.
Please click here read the story behind the initiative to republish all my work lost with the disappearance of The American Journal of Poetry.
(ACT I: Red)
A Metaphor is Fake News
A simile is like fake news.
Humans are torn pages from books—
arranged by gods who can’t read.
Humans are metaphors:
figures of speech that assert people
are other people to enhance
writing or gossip.
Black people are white people.
White people are black people.
Humans are like similes:
figures of speech that compare
unlike people to make descriptions more colorful.
White people are like black people.
Black people are like white people.
Metaphors are humans:
philosophers who say one thing is another thing;
madmen who say one thing is another thing.
Similes are like humans:
they compare two unlike things
and say they’re similar, like madmen;
they compare two unlike things
and say they’re similar, like philosophers.
Humans who drop bombs
are the ushers of democracy.
Humans who drop bombs
are like the ushers of democracy.
The bombs will always fall
because we weren’t guilty
of inventing gravity.
Even the cosmos was born
from an explosion—
we’re only to blame for the literature.
Human nature is an old violin
strung with saints’ hair
and played in a chamber of skeptics.
Hope. Hope. Hope.
Hope is acute, like an insight,
yet hope is also acute, like an illness.
Hope is obtuse, as in narrow minded;
hope is also obtuse—more than 90 degrees.
But how many different triangles
do you need to prove that three angles
always add up to the same despair?
Hope is the freedom to draw three sided squares.
Hope is like the freedom to draw four sided triangles.
Dear humanity, our philosophy is a million
blank papers inside red
envelopes falling on Damascus.
Our crisis is an Inuk
who sees palm trees in his dreams.
Hope. Hope. Hope.
We have walked a long way
on the treadmill of reason
to avoid making pilgrimages.
Please, America, don’t invent
missile-proof houses and deploy
humanitarian forces to build them
in war zones so everyone can live
happy lives under your air strikes—
just stop dropping bombs.
Humans can’t tear away from screens.
The “like” button is a simile for danger,
but the real world is danger.
Danger is a person who thinks
he’s safe at home.
The person who thinks
he’s safe at home
is a public library that doesn’t lend books.
If you never leave the house—
a bookshelf holding lots of knowledge
can still fall and cause problems.
A bomb is a book.
A bomb is like a book.
A book is like a bomb.
A book is a bomb.
Our crisis is an Inuk who sees
palm trees on the screen;
scholars say this can’t be a crisis
because it all depends on how we define
crisis. Is it good? Is it bad?
It’s all relative and they urge
people to think with extreme caution:
When the Inuit see palm trees on the screen,
they aren’t really seeing palm trees
because you can’t, in fact, claim to have seen
things when you’ve only seen them on a screen.
Have you truly seen the horrors of Vietnam
after watching them on TV?
Would you claim you saw the Mona Lisa
after looking at pictures on the internet?
Seeing isn’t seeing.
Seeing isn’t like seeing.
Yes, the Inuit can’t be terrified
of palm trees on the screen
because they have no right
to claim they ever saw them.
Hence, Alaskan Natives
shouldn’t be afraid of giving up their land
because we need more space to build
bombs, planes, and factories.
We need more global warming because
the population is growing and Antarctica
is still too cold for palm trees; Denmark
is making good progress,
but Arctic Norway is still frozen.
Our crisis is an Inuk
who sees palm trees in real life.
The scholars are now confused,
but lawmakers aren’t afraid yet.
The Russians sold Alaska for pennies on the dollar,
and Alaskan Natives will give up winter,
just like they gave up their land—
from palm tree to shining palm tree.
Winter is simply bad for business.
Winter is a job-killing regulation.
Winter is a ski resort,
and ski resorts are like the arts in public schools.
We must cut the arts to make sure
kids get more math and science.
Statistics and science show that our kids
are behind in statistics and science.
Math and science are nuclear bombs and, therefore, important.
Ski resorts aren’t nuclear bombs and, therefore, of no use.
We must cut winter or America’s assets will freeze.
1) The greenhouse effect should be outsourced
to all Arctic spots on the planet.
2) Still, we can produce
good global warming right here in the States—
Americans are tired of overpaying for heating.
More jobs, more nukes, more take-home pay.
3) We must sign the North American Global Warming Agreement (NAGWA);
global warming should freely move
across the borders, but the Inuit must be restricted.
We all know the price of global warming
only depends on the free market.
We all know fossil fuels aren’t the problem.
Black Tuesday didn’t affect the USSR
because they had no free market,
yet fossil fuels burned and burned.
Russians without warm clothes
confirmed that communist Siberia was the coldest
place without capitalism.
If fossil fuels caused global warming,
the Cold War could’ve never happened—
gas, coal, and oil powered the arms race
but the political climate only got colder and colder.
So, to sustain global warming, we must remove
all Arctic tribes;
then, we must establish free markets in Siberia
that retain warm relations with other markets.
If Russia hacks global warming again,
communism will rise and flood the market.
Everything will be free,
except the freedom to leave—or travel abroad.
Remember how good it was? The food was free
because there was no food to buy;
you could always travel abroad—
if you never wanted to come back.
When the jig was up and the walls fell,
a curtain of global warming descended across the continent.
“Don’t be coldhearted,” they said. “Put food on the shelves,
then make sure no one can afford it. Give them freedom
to apply for visas, then reject all applications.”
A good capitalist knows that poverty
is more humane than hunger.
A good capitalist knows that actual walls
tear people apart, not lines on a map.
Lines on a map are good metaphors for walls.
Lines on a map are like good similes for walls.
Borders are abstract and walls are concrete;
together they form great poetic devices
that keep people apart.
A wall is a dam that restricts the flood of migrants.
A wall is like a dam that restricts the flow of migrants.
Hope. Hope. Hope.
Hope is a white wall with a white door
to which you don’t have the key,
but if you find the door and pick the lock,
armed guards are waiting on the other side;
they’re paid well to watch the border.
Your only hope is to bribe them.
Our crisis is an Inuk
who can’t say “snow” in his language.
A palm tree is a Christmas tree.
A palm tree is like a Christmas tree.
Rich people buy palm trees on Christmas;
the poor must settle for cacti.
If a Christmas tree fell in the USSR,
where no one could celebrate Christmas,
did it make the sound of “Jingle Bells?”
Gravity says yes, because gravity never dies.
Gravity never sees the gravity
of the situation.
Gravity doesn’t call for help
when there’s no one to hear it.
Gravity is a person who falls
off buildings without a parachute
and doesn’t make a sound.
Gravity refuses to slow down with age;
it’s wise—like an old professor.
Bombs still fall according to gravity’s laws,
but now they’re bigger and stronger.
Never fear—gravity knows what to do with bombs;
if such physics don’t suit you, take your pacifism
to the moon and let’s see how long you’ll last—
no one dies because no one’s there,
and bombs don’t fall because lunar gravity is lazy.
Gravity is the cruelest thing on earth.
Everyone who jumps off a building
gets treated exactly the same.
Gravity must be controlled by the Communists.
The Russians have hacked into America’s gravity.
For some reason, the rich no longer fall
slower when they jump off a building.
Nyet, tovarish polkovnik! Everyone gets the same ration!
America will solve the world’s gravity problem
with her entrepreneurial spirit—
luxury parachutes for the rich.
The ACLU is outraged.
Everyone should have the right
to fall off a building without dying—
life, liberty, and the pursuit
of falling off a building without dying.
America will help Africa end its gravity problem.
We’ll drop ten million emergency
parachute kits over the land
using our state-of-the-art parachutes,
which must be returned ASAP.
Gravity doesn’t cost America a thing.
Gravity is like global warming; we can use
as much as we want and it will never run out.
A good capitalist knows that gravity
isn’t responsible for falling wages
or rising temperatures.
A good capitalist knows that gravity
is only responsible for the fall of the USSR.
The gravity in Antarctica is the same
as the gravity in Syria, but Antarctica
needs air strikes
to become a summer resort,
while Syria is already too hot.
Gravity knows that every city must fall.
Gravity doesn’t care that New Orleans
will be the second Atlantis.
Gravity is a foreign threat to America.
America must invade the Democratic People’s Republic of Gravity
to make the world safer,
but New Orleans must sink—
we’ll never forget! Semper Fi!
We’re not savages like the Ancient Greeks—
we’re ushers of democracy.
We’ll let New Orleans fall,
but our history books will know where it sank.
Hope. Hope. Hope.
Hope is a dead metaphor.
A dead metaphor is melted snow.
Melted snow is water.
Water is profit.
Profit is about staying above water.
Dear members of the United States Congressional Capitalist Party (USCCP):
California will soon be Atlantis 3,
except the Sierras and Cascades.
Dump your underwater homes
before the market literally floods.
People in Nevada are partying like its 2999.
Let’s take full advantage and stimulate the economy.
Let’s sell ocean-front houses to Nevada and Arizona.
Californians have enjoyed
this luxury far too long.
Idaho has bought rain checks
from the feds
to get property rights.
By nature, the flooding
should’ve surged to Utah,
but Idaho lobbied Congress
to divert the water at taxpayer expense.
The other states get free
potatoes in exchange.
Europe thinks 49 states struck a great deal—
Idaho taxpayers won’t live to see
the coast, but the other states
get their potatoes now.
Our crisis is an Inuk
who stops hoping for snow.
Hope is an extended metaphor
in an unfinished book.
An unfinished book
is a quiet volcano covered with snow.
Snow is a boomerang that doesn’t return.
A boomerang that doesn’t return is an avalanche.
An avalanche must follow gravity’s laws.
Gravity says real snow falls from the sky.
Real snow is an artist who draws
perfect circles by hand.
Frozen water that doesn’t fall from the sky
is a flawless circle drawn by a compass.
Real snow isn’t a copy of the Mona Lisa,
even if the copy looks better.
Real snow isn’t like a copy of the Mona Lisa,
even if the copy looks better.
Real snow doesn’t fall
from snow machines.
Real snow is the blank canvas
under the Mona Lisa.
Real snow is like the blank canvas
under the Mona Lisa.
Not every blank canvas is real snow.
Not every blank canvas is like real snow.
Our crisis is an Inuk
who knows all of this.
Our crisis is an Inuk
who has forgotten how snow feels.
Hope. Hope. Hope.
Hope was the last snow on earth
melting in the hand of an Inuk
who couldn’t forget the word “hope.”
The last snow on earth
melting in the hand of an Inuk
was a sign of bad luck—like 13 black cats crossing
the path of 13 people who just broke 13 mirrors.
Hope. Hope. Hope.
What is it?
What is it like?
Hope is an unfurnished mansion given
to someone who can’t afford furniture.
Hope feels like anthropologists do in a war zone.
Hope is a physicist who jumps off
a building and prays for gravity to fail.
Hope feels like unrequited love
from a person you’ll never meet.
Hope is a metaphor for things you shouldn’t expect.
Hope is like a simile for things you shouldn’t expect.
Hope is a plate full of freewill seasoned
with foregone conclusions.
Freewill is like a person at a buffet,
who’s free to eat past his limit,
and still has the freedom to make his body feel hungry.
Hope. Hope. Hope.
(ACT II: White)
We found the word “hangover”
in your dictionary
and it was awkward.
How dare you have such a word
in this cold language?
What were you thinking?
Who gave you permission
to feel any pain at all?
Who allowed you to be human?
How dare you stray
from CNN’s stereotypes?
Our neutral stations worked
so hard to air them for you:
Russian aggression, corruption,
no soul, KGB, communist, alcoholic;
this is what you are, Russia,
because our networks said so
and they’re not run by the state.
Your children aren’t children.
Your suffering isn’t suffering.
Your diseases aren’t diseases.
Your disasters aren’t disasters,
because you’re drunk all the time
and you don’t really feel a thing.
Russia, you did what only America
is allowed to do in Guatemala,
Chile, Iran, and the Congo.
Russia, nothing you do
will ever be good enough—
nothing you say
will ever be believed,
because Russian promises
are like history books
written about tomorrow.
Your twenty million Russkies
didn’t die to win the war.
You didn’t take Berlin.
You didn’t even put the Soviet flag
on the Reichstag.
You didn’t liberate Auschwitz.
You didn’t suffer the Leningrad Blockade.
You didn’t send the first
person to space.
How dare you invade Afghanistan first?
Russia, stop meddling in America’s greatness.
Your blood type is American Negative
and we can’t use it.
You’re a threat to our imperialism.
Please, leave the bombing of hospitals to us;
we’ll show you how it’s done in Syria.
Russia, Vietnam was a tie and you know it.
Russia, all your women are whores;
they slept with countless foreigners
at the World Cup—
mostly gullible Americans.
All your women are desperate
for Green Cards and they were taught
to seduce Americans in preschool.
Russia, you’re so dirty no one
wants to live with you—
they don’t even want to visit
for a week or so.
Your birth rate is declining
and we’re happy about that—
less little Russians to grow up
and hack our elections that are bought
and sold by the rich.
Russia, you must know that Al Gore
lost in 2000 because you hacked
the Supreme Court.
Russia, a Harvard study has shown
that more Russkies drown
at the end of Vodka bottles
than all the people who go swimming.
Russia, why are you so barbaric?
Why do you insist on frowning in subways?
Why do you keep bears in the living room?
Why do you treat your women too much like women?
We think you should let your women
carry logs across the forest
and fix tractor engines
so we can discuss this cruelty on the news.
Why are your men so damn masculine?
Why do they insist on providing for the family
and raising their kids in traditional ways?
We want something more exciting
to talk about on MSNBC.
Russia, we want you to be
what we think you are.
Russia, you must start seeing
your own culture through our eyes.
A recent Yale study has shown
that all your citizens are direct
descendants of Ivan the Terrible.
No, Russia, Tolstoy couldn’t have inspired
Gandhi’s nonviolent movement.
Dostoyevsky was simply insane
and Chekhov died in Germany,
so, in our opinion, he wasn’t even Russian.
My fellow Americans,
let’s unite and do our best
to forget the electoral college
until it favors us to remember,
because Russia gave us Trump,
even though he lost the popular vote.
Russia, you made us use
the nuclear bomb.
Russia, we blame you for McCarthyism—
Philip Loeb’s suicide was all your fault.
Dalton Trumbo should’ve never
worked in this town again,
but we’re so glad he didn’t kill himself
because the blacklist really posed no threat.
Don’t get mad, Russia.
We’re never responsible for anything
because we’re a democracy
and communists can’t do anything right.
Russia, all your grandmothers are spies;
all your children are future spies;
all your IT majors are hackers;
all your athletes are drug-addicts;
all your teachers are party hacks;
and Trump has way more soul than Putin.
Russia, we won the Cold War,
but this isn’t enough for us.
We want to cripple you—
leave you with nothing.
We won’t let you build pipelines to Europe—
your economy must suffer.
How dare you try to invent anything?
How dare you try to fix
the lives of your citizens?
We love seeing your starving children
and victims of alcohol poisoning.
Russia, we enjoyed watching you in the 90’s.
Why can’t you have another Yeltsin?
We miss it when you urinated
on airport runways and got so drunk
that you couldn’t even meet
the Irish delegation.
Why can’t you be more childlike and innocent?
Relations were so easy for us then.
Don’t you remember?
Russia, NASA is doing just fine;
we haven’t gone to the Red Planet first
only because we fear that our astronauts
will defect to the communists
and never come back.
Our experts think you need
a capitalist revolution.
Russia, the CIA can fly Trump to Zurich,
and we can also pay for the train to Petrograd.
Paul Manafort wants to come as well.
Russia, trust us when we say
that we’ve never spied on you
or interfered in your affairs.
Don’t you believe us?
Russia, sorry for promising
not to expand NATO past East Germany—
we’ll never lie to you again.
Watch out, Russia!
We’ll use whatever means are necessary
to bring democracy—
even if people must die.
Russia, unlike you, we’re good
at apologizing for every crime,
and we apologize in advance
for all the crimes we still must commit.
Russia, we never apologized
for shooting down Iran Air Flight 655
because America is too democratic
for Iran’s forgiveness.
Our corruption is better
than your corruption.
How dare you let police officers take bribes
when ours can shoot unarmed black men?
How dare you have state news
when we have Sean Hannity?
Russia, we shot down Flight 655
for the freedom of others.
We gave black people syphilis
because it was good for science.
Project MKUltra was a huge success.
Russia, we fought the Nazis,
but we needed Wernher von Braun
to land on the moon first.
Russia, you must understand this:
We simply wanted to be better than you
but we enjoyed the Cold War far too much.
Russia, we honestly do miss Yeltsin a lot.
Remember the time he got so drunk
at the White House and tried
to hail a cab in his underwear
so he could get a pizza?
Russia, you were so little then
and we loved playing with you,
but we haven’t enjoyed seeing
you grow up at all.
You’re to blame for Edward Snowden.
We could’ve continued spying
on our people and lying about it,
but you had to go and ruin it all—
now we can’t even prosecute him
to feel better about ourselves.
Russia, for the sake of convenience,
we’ll forget that you favored
the colonies during our Revolution
and supported the Union during our Civil War—
not to mention WWII,
which according to our historians
started in 1944 with D-Day,
and ended with the Allies taking Berlin.
Russia, we want you to know that history
is all about interpretation
and we believe Hitler would’ve used
Operation Barbarossa against the US,
but he was too lazy to cross an ocean;
we have plenty of peer-reviewed sources
that confirm this theory, so there.
Russia, you don’t want to go to war
with Harvard and Yale.
Our professors will soon be able
to carry guns—
what can your professors do?
Russia, don’t try it!
You’ll never find the word “aggression”
in our dictionary, even though we
love our military and guns to death.
Russia, Curtis LeMay was a fine American
who could’ve been a war criminal
if Japan hadn’t lost.
Russia, we would’ve loved
to see you and the Nazis kill
more of each other,
but we never wanted Hitler to win.
We now regret Truman’s words,
but only because we won the Cold War.
Russia, we had to kill the noble Patrice Lumumba
because he asked for your help.
We just want people to know
that we’ll support any tyrant,
so long as he’s not a Red.
Mobutu Sese Seko, Luis Posada Carriles,
Manuel Noriega, and Suharto
are just some of our closest buddies.
We backed the Mujahideen
because they hated the communists,
but now we’re fighting them ourselves
because they’ve turned against us—
honestly, what the fuck are we doing?
Russia, we got bored of fighting Saddam,
so we killed him to make space for ISIS,
because our military is just that awesome.
What have you done recently?
Russia, we’re sorry,
but we’d rather have ISIS win
than let you take some credit in Syria.
We don’t need any help
defending the world from the terrorism
we started in the 70’s and 80’s.
Russia, we pull ourselves up
by our own combat boot straps.
Russia, we blame you for Hurricane Katrina
because Bush was too busy
looking into Putin’s soul.
The financial crisis of 2008
was all your fault because we wanted
to show the power of capitalism,
but we overachieved.
Frankly, Russia, your president
should stop taking his shirt off
to seduce our women.
Don’t you know we have puritanical
values that say you can grab
her by the pussy?
Russia, we would appreciate
a McDonald’s inside the Kremlin.
You won’t understand American Exceptionalism,
but if we had to explain it logically,
it’s like a Russian nesting doll
that keeps getting bigger
each time you open it.
No, Russia! Nothing is impossible
if you believe in the American Dream
and work very hard to bury yourself
in $200,000 student debt while working
sixteen hours a day and taking care
of three kids all alone.
Russia, we just had our first black president,
so all black people can now be presidents.
We’re still working on white women,
then Latinos, then Latino women,
then maybe white people who weren’t born here.
Russia, there’s a logic behind all this.
Russia, you poison journalists,
but we prefer to scare and ridicule them
until they simply kill themselves.
Gary Webb, Steven Kangas, Danny Casolaro.
Russia, you’ve been a capitalist
for less than thirty years—
we understand and forgive you,
but, for God’s sake, when you take bribes,
please call them donations—
you’re embarrassing us.
Russia, we feel ambivalent about Bobby Fischer,
but we want you to know
that Ronald Reagan was a good president
because he brought down the Berlin Wall
and reluctantly gave the Contras
cocaine to stop communism,
and he also brought down the Berlin Wall.
Russia, you still haven’t learned
that nothing we do can be wrong
if we simply call it the right thing.
Torture and poverty are fair game
if people are economically disadvantaged
and we’re using enhanced interrogation;
if you add these words to your dictionary,
maybe we can reset relations.
Russia, don’t waste your time;
you’ll never find “Native American Genocide”
in our dictionaries and textbooks—
Natives must stay on reservations,
but you’re more than welcome
to peruse the DNC servers
because we want to sanction you badly.
Russia, you got no brand,
and you got no style.
Even Obama said you don’t make
anything that people want to buy.
We got Special K terrorism—
you just have the generic brand.
Our schools and nightclubs
get shot up each week,
but our free press covers the mess
by respecting the Constitution—
your state news gives
the criminals no fame.
Russia, we tell people they can freely
practice their religion,
then we discriminate against them—
you simply discriminate
without telling people a thing.
Russia, stop trying to be a knock-off America.
You’re a false Adidas.
You’re a fake Gucci handbag.
All your kids want to be American.
Russia, give us your kids;
we want to adopt them
and improve the life of every child
so we can blame you for neglecting minors,
or turning them into hackers.
Russia, we’ll parachute your children
all over America and call it the “American Airlift.”
Russia, we’re not bothered by the fact
that most American literature
actually worth reading
has been about resistance,
protest, and the empowerment
of oppressed individuals.
Russia, we’re more than comfortable
with our Langston Hugheses,
Amiri Barakas, and James Baldwins.
Russia, your dissidents go straight to Gulags;
we simply ignore them for as long as we can.
Dear Russia, unfortunately we’re
running out of time. We must go now.
It hasn’t been a pleasure hearing from you.
Please write as soon as something bad
is getting real boring and the next election
is still two years away.
We’re looking forward to hearing
about the next poisoned journalist real soon.
The United States of America
(ACT III: Blue)
Capitalism is like a priceless coin given to a pauper who must throw it into a well and wish for two priceless coins instead; we call this the American Dream.
Bankers like to call it capital, funds, currency, and liquid assets, but they never talk about money because money is dirty, and dirt must be laundered. Money is a person who falls into pools of gasoline and still runs inside burning buildings to save children. Those with a lot of money never touch money, but they often marry for more money; this is called an alliance. Alliances are wealth, riches, and affluence—no traces of cocaine here. Alliances are born when privileged seeds successfully penetrate the nest egg and create fortunes. Money is to happiness as chemo is to cancer. Money is a Buddhist monk without patience. Money is a beggar who knows that money has no inbred value—only alcohol makes you tipsy. When the grocery stores are empty, money is a prostitute with syphilis. When the grocery stores are full, men sleep with money under their pillows. When the state runs out of baby milk, women hide money in their bras. When the market is full of baby milk, men hide money in their underwear. Money calls itself bread and dough, but even money knows that metaphors don’t rise in the oven and similes have no nutritional value. Money is a donation in a democracy and a bribe in an autocracy. Money is a strong defense in constitutional courts and a strong favor in the hands of corrupt judges. Americans say your money is taxed in capitalist countries and stolen in socialist countries; Europeans believe that Americans will sell their soul to the highest bidder. Money is the promise of cold cash to a thief and a pledge in the church. Money is a trust fund to grandchildren and Gs to a drug dealer. Money is bacon to a family and gold to the government. Money is the chameleon who stands out at the party. Money is a magnet for magnates. Money is a fat cat on a cheeseparing diet. Money stabs you in the back because it’s always greener on the other side. In a world full of lies, the phony claims of genuine money can always be taken at face value. Money is a woman who never lies about her age, because money is a woman who never gets old—even when she gets wrinkles. A long in the tooth 100 is better than a fresh 20. A fresh 20 is just as experienced as the cosmopolitan one. Money is the sign language for economists who are deaf to the corruption of capitalism. With the right money, Russian or Mexican brides can be mailed to your door. Money is the glue holding abusive marriages together. Money may not buy happiness, but a gun can buy you plenty of fear. God created people, but Sam Colt made them equal; then capitalism made people unequal, but the AR-15 made them equal again; then Walmart made people unequal once more, but Walmart started selling AR-15s and everything was fine—for now—until Walmart stopped selling AR-15s and we have problems once more. Money is racist towards other money. 18 Mexican pesos only get you 1 US dollar even though Mexicans work harder than Americans—pesos have more color and dollars are still mostly green. Emmett Till was beaten and shot in a town called Money; after the killers were found innocent by a jury of their racist peers, they sold their story to Look so they could brag about the murder. Look, America—look what we did; the transaction is now complete. In the US, you can make money on Jeopardy! Double Jeopardy! and even double jeopardy. In the US, there is such a thing as a free lunch, but only if you’re not hungry—also known as a tax break for the rich. There is Purchase in New York; Sellers in South Carolina; Cashiers in North Carolina; Cash in Arkansas; Coupon in Pennsylvania; Dollar Settlement in Michigan; Country Club in Florida; City of Industry in California; Enterprise in Alabama; Prosperity in West Virginia; Jackpot in Nevada, and Rich in Tennessee. There is, however, no Poverty anywhere in the US, except, for some reason, in Poor, Tennessee.
Every morning gives people the chance
to live one more day—
no, every morning gives people the chance
to buy one more thing.
To buy is to live;
to buy things you don’t need
is to live well.
Buying Ferraris when no one’s
looking takes all the fun out of capitalism.
Driving Ferraris when no one’s
looking takes all the fun out of driving Ferraris.
It’s about higher standards of living;
it’s about buying things you don’t need;
it’s about selling stuff no one wants to buy—
the more you buy,
the more money others can spend;
the more money others can spend,
the more useless stuff they’ll buy.
If you can’t join the party,
happiness levels go down
because someone isn’t selling their stuff,
and they must sell to be rich,
or, at least, to be happy.
You must pay for a better quality of life.
Bananas are a good source of potassium,
but organic bananas are better sources of potassium
only because they cost more.
The US needs more millionaires;
millionaires prefer to buy organic bananas
that have the same potassium content as normal bananas.
Millionaires don’t send their kids to public schools—
private schools cost $15,000 a year
and they’re almost better than
the free public schools in Finland.
The basis of our happiness is unhappiness—
the root of the word “unhappiness” comes
from the Americanese word “competition,”
which means “happiness” in English,
because we must always be richer
than our neighbor on the right,
but if we’re richer than our neighbor on the right,
our neighbor on the left might be richer than us
because his house is a meter taller
and we can’t have that—
to be happy, we must sell our house
and buy a larger one,
even though we can’t afford
this bigger happiness.
A wise man once said: “You reap what you sow.”
A wise American once said: “Take out a loan,
because what you can’t have today,
you’ll pay for tomorrow.”
Watch out, world.
America is a Christian nation.
We pardon the turkey and Turkey
because we must celebrate Thanksgiving
and drop bombs on Syria from strategic air bases.
The day after Thanksgiving, we celebrate
Corporate Thanksgiving, which comes
from the Americanese word “Black Friday.”
We give alms to the poor so they can
afford 120 inch HD TVs.
The word “alms” comes from the Americanese word
“discounts” or “promotions.” The poor
must arrive very early after endless
eating, football, and maybe prayer,
to beat the literal and metaphorical shit
out of each other and take
what’s rightfully theirs.
“Beating the literal and metaphorical shit out of others”
comes from the Americanese word “capitalism,”
which means “growth and prosperity” in English.
If logic could be mass-produced and sold,
it would be designed by Apple in California
and assembled in China.
America is the biggest exporter
of American logic to foreign countries.
American logic is cut-throat capitalism
coupled with affirmative action.
American logic is telling Native Americans
to go back to their country.
American logic is “all men are created equal”
when slavery was still legal.
American logic is a democracy
in which the majority can still lose.
“Hypocrisy” comes from the Americanese word “logic,”
and “logic” comes from the Americanese word “exceptionalism,”
which means “better than your sorry ass” in English.
In America, there’s no inequality—
our economy remains strong,
and we still have far-right scholars
on our payroll who’ll gladly define
“inequality” on our terms.
“Inequality” comes from the Americanese word
“opportunity,” meaning a white person
and a black person can work hard,
but the white person is still better.
America, it’s all Americanese to me;
we used to have “separate but equal,”
but unequal opportunity is now given to everyone,
and if everyone gets equal unequal opportunity,
then all people invariably become equal.
According to Americanese philosopher, Confusion:
“I think I have more money than my neighbor—
therefore, I’m probably rich.”
America, is there anything you’re not willing to sell?
Your stores are full of stuff I don’t want,
and void of anything I’m looking for.
Why must everything be sold with fear?
I don’t want to buy toothpaste
because my mouth stinks—
I want to buy toothpaste
because the toothpaste itself smells good.
Why can’t you let me decide
whether I’ll kiss the girl, or not?
If I showed you pictures of naked European socialism
and sold you weight loss pills for capitalist fat,
would you like my marketing strategy?
I know, America. I know.
No one likes to see how much they weigh
on the scales of injustice,
but it’s time you had a look.
Does your invasion of the Middle East
smell like shit to European neighbors?
No problem—install long-lasting Febreze
air fresheners on all your tanks
and those righteous Europeans won’t smell a thing.
Do you have trouble picking up French women these days?
We’ve got you covered, America.
For a limited time, buy the complete works
of Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre
and we’ll throw in a French dictionary.
Cure yourself of American stupidity—
date not one, but two French women at the same time,
and maybe learn a second language along the way.
No, America; if you haven’t been
with more than one French woman at the same time,
you haven’t done the “ménage à trois.”
France forgives your stupidity and your puritanical roots.
We’re sorry, America, “ménage à trois”
doesn’t come from the Americanese phrase,
“two’s company, three’s a crowd,”
and, honestly, we think this phrase is stupid.
America, we gave New York the Statue of Liberty
to symbolize your independence,
and New York gave the Statue of Liberty
to Las Vegas, which symbolizes America’s free
and depraved economy.
If everyone in Vegas went home a winner,
the city would be one dreary place.
Vegas: What money you win here, stays here.
Las Vegas comes from the Americanese phrase
“to drown one’s sorrow in a desert where the closest
body of water is Lake Mead, about 30 miles away,
but you’re more than welcome to use one of our pools—
America, if you or someone you know
is struggling with a capitalism addiction,
please call the 24/7 Bernie Sanders Hotline—
don’t wait until your economy can’t even afford a phone call.
We speak democratic socialism, progressivism,
communism, and even welfare capitalism.
It’s like Mao said: “This is a people’s campaign.”
Mao. Mao. Mao.
The great Americanese philosopher, Confusion, once said:
“The Mao money we come across,
the Mao problems we see.”
Money is a deck of cards full of jokers
who never laugh in their portraits.
The dollar’s deadliest sin
is renouncing the 7 deadliest sins.
“Pride” comes from the Americanese word “humility,”
which means in English: Make a ton of money
by screwing people over, but be very grateful
for the opportunity to do so.
“Greed” comes from the Americanese word “charity,”
which means in English: Make insane amounts of money
as honestly as you can and donate about 1 percent
of all you have to save on taxes.
“Lust” comes from the Americanese word “chastity,”
which means in English: If you’re going to marry for money,
try to make it a sexless marriage so no feelings are hurt.
“Envy” comes from the Americanese word “kindness,”
which means in English: The US is the most competitive
country in the world and also the friendliest country in the world.
“Gluttony” comes from the Americanese word “temperance,”
which means in English: Put as much food as you can on the table,
then buy gym memberships for your family
so they can work off the extra fat.
“Wrath” comes from the Americanese word “patience,”
which means in English: Tell your kids they’re free to follow
their dreams, then get very mad if they don’t follow your dreams.
“Sloth” comes from the Americanese word “diligence,”
which means in English: You better buy that gym membership soon
because your scale can’t handle four digits.
Soviet Money and its children:
Communists are dirt poor,
and, therefore, have no sins to renounce.
“Pride” comes from the Communese word “self-reliance,”
which means in Stalinese: We don’t have any money;
we don’t want any money, and we don’t need
any help from our rich neighbors;
all foreign help is an anti-communist plot.
“Greed” comes from the Communese word “corruption,”
which means in Stalinese: We don’t need an equality
where everyone is paid the same; we need an equality
where everyone is paid nothing.
“Lust” comes from the Communese word “commitment,”
which means in Stalinese: Lenin was so committed
to the revolution that he never had sex with his wife.
“Envy” comes from the Communese word “suffering,”
which means in Stalinese: We must take all possessions from people
and they’ll stop being jealous of each other.
“Gluttony” comes from the Communese word “appetite,”
which means in Stalinese: Those who starve today
will surely want to work for their bread tomorrow.
“Wrath” comes from the Communese word “wrath,”
which means in Stalinese: Anyone who tries to derail the revolution
will be shot on the spot.
“Sloth” comes from the Communese word “traitor,”
which means in Stalinese: Workers who demand to be paid for their work.
Communists and Capitalists make peace:
Money is the bible of capitalism
and the false religion of communism.
Money can’t turn water into wine,
but it can turn blood into blue blood.
Money is to red, white, and blue
as red, white, and blue is to green.
Money is to Reds, as Reds are to Whites.
Money is a flashy watch that says there are 80 seconds in a minute. Money is a woman that lies about your age. Money ages like cheap clocks traveling at the speed of light. If you push them off a building together, George Washington will hit the ground exactly when Benjamin Franklin does, even though Washington is much wealthier. Money is the simplest arithmetic problem and poverty is the most difficult equation to solve. Money was the world’s lingua franca even before the Swiss got their francs. Money is a fully automatic weapon without a safety switch. The right to bear money didn’t come from the Americanese doctrine of capitalism because even communists must buy things, but the right to throw people into a cage full of money and have them kill each other for it is a uniquely red, white, and blue tradition because only Reds kill their citizens over freedom of speech and other dissident activities. “The right to throw people into a cage full of money and have them kill each other for it” is an Americanese expression that comes from the phrase “profit motive,” which means in English “only do what’s best for you even if it means fucking everyone else over.” Since communists were always short of money, people were thrown into an empty cage and told not to kill each other until they built a worker’s paradise in which workers wouldn’t be paid. “Worker’s paradise” comes from the Communese word “Gulag,” which means “full-time employment” in Russian. A wise man once said: “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” A good communist once said: “The best things in life are free; therefore, capitalism is pointless.” The word “happiness” comes from the Communese word “work,” which means in Russian “the freedom to work 16 hours a day because you got no other choice,” which is actually a poor translation of the Aryanese philosophy “Arbeit macht frei,” which means “you’re fucked” in German. Some people are born into money; some people are born into poverty but they were really born to make money; some people are born into money, but they were actually born to squander it all; some people are born into poverty and they were born to stay there; some people are born to make a little honest money and take one vacation a year, but they aren’t born to start a family, or even marry; some people are born to make lots of dirty money, to get divorced 7 times, to have a family with each spouse, and to have 7 honeymoons in the Caribbean; some people are born to make a little honest money, to marry, and to have kids, but they aren’t born to see the world because they were born behind the Iron Curtain; some people were born to escape the Iron Curtain and make lots of honest money, but they were also born to miss their families and give birth to children who never saw their grandparents alive; some people were born rich behind the Iron Curtain because they were children of government officials, but they were born to value freedom more than money—so they spent all their money buying their way to freedom; some people are born to immigrant parents who come to America with nothing and give their kids only two choices: doctor or lawyer; some people are born to become good doctors and lawyers and some people are born to obey only orders and parents; some people are born into poverty, and, therefore, see the corruption of America; some people are born into poverty, and, therefore, see the corruption of communism; some people are born into American money, and, therefore, try to make society more equal; some people were born into Soviet money, and, therefore, tried to make society more equal; some people are born to steal because they’re born to be good at it; some people steal because they’re born to be hungry; some people also steal because they’re hungry for power; some people steal because they’re born without regret; some people steal because they’re born without choices. Money, you’re a witch’s concoction of suffering. You can buy hot cups of coffee in the winter, and cold lemonade in the summer—but only if you can afford it. Behind the Iron Curtain, money could neither buy a hot cup of coffee in the winter, nor a cold lemonade in the summer—even cold lemonade was scarce in the winter, and hot coffee was enjoyed in the summer. Money, would you like me to drink hot lemonade and cold coffee? Since you’ve already made cold coffee sexy, why can’t you work your marketing mojo on the hot lemonade? Money, you’re hot lemonade on a hot summer day. Money, I don’t want to be married 7 times, even if I can have 7 kids and see the Caribbean 7 times. Money, I want a divorce, but I also want half of everything you have.
About David Garyan
David Garyan has published three chapbooks with Main Street Rag, along with (DISS)INFORMATION, a full collection with the same publisher. He holds an MA and MFA from Cal State Long Beach, where he associated himself with the Stand Up Poets. He received a master’s degree in International Cooperation on Human Rights and Intercultural Heritage from the University of Bologna. He lives in Trento.