Rat Kings (And Queens)

Tail to tail tangled together
and making nests of whatever trash
they find online, outrage ever
turning clicks to revenue—to cash.
Always excreting where they eat
in forums, comment sections, twitter,
knotted as one, their marching feet
in unison, their hearts bitter,
they seine the sewers for feces
that flow ever downstream,
and are a spiteful species
whose legion of followers teem.
They seek the stinkiest manure
with rodent teeth to gnash and gnaw,
thinking themselves so good and pure
as they chew all other creatures raw—
all whom happen to cross their ranks
of hate-cliques amassing their hate-clicks,
a group ungrateful, without thanks,
rioting in sewers and attics.
And sooner or later they purge
themselves of those not pure enough in
their circle, a crazed demiurge;
a cannibal circle of vermin.

Outrage Culture

It is the newest spectacle sport,
and the most popular in America,
the audience and the players
united on the field as one,
dog-piling onto the person with the pigskin—
the pigskin being
long pig skinned for a game
of blame.
Social Media is the new
iron maiden
symbolically puncturing
with a million retweets
for a therapeutic session of
bloodletting.
It is asymmetrical warfare, an
aircraft carrier’s worth of
self-righteous artillery shells
blasting away at every backwater thatch hut
that some terrorist
to our sensibilities
inhabits.
It is not a matter of
Left or Right,
right or wrong,
justice or penitence,
but a means of getting our
kicks in
to make us feel better about
our own street corners
as we curbstomp the condemned.
It is a
Julius Caesar narrative
as everyone unsheathes their
daggered fingers
to text a bloody mess.
Et tu, Brute?
The only thing worse than a
troll online
is a holier-than-thou troll
inflicted with the disease
of self-righteousness.
And don’t think you will escape this
trending pillory—it is the most popular
fashion accessory of the modern era,
and is bound to catch you eventually.
We no longer enjoy 15 minutes of fame;
now it is 15 minutes of
shame.
Punishment should always be dispassionate,
not only for the sake of blind justice,
but for the sake of those of us in the jury,
in the audience.
We should not uncage the monkey in man
by letting emotions become involved,
otherwise simian fingers
dig deep
and fling poo
in every direction
until we are all plastered
stucco-a-la-shit.
We like to believe,
while bathed in the bright light
of our digital screens
that the world is lit up and we can
see
and
judge
with impunity,
but everyone lives in a cave,
seeing only the darkness of their own
ignorance
and mistaking it for revelation.
We are troglodytes groping
through the dark caverns
of our own skulls.
Worse,
there are those
trying to ride piggyback
to the piggy bank
off the mistakes of other
mortals,
thinking themselves the Greek choir,
standing godlike on the sidelines
in judgment
and
speaking of shame in strophe,
antistrophe,
to the scripted dialogue of a villain
when, in truth, they are the merely crowds
gathered excitedly to see
a hanging,
spitting on the condemned
as he walks toward the gallows,
never having had a
trial, condemned by the rage-blinded
animal monarch
we call
“public opinion”
while fingers eagerly
tear meat from bone
like the Bacchantes tearing Orpheus apart
with their keyboard-clacking frenzy.
But what a dangerous thing mob-rule is,
Robespierre,
for you never know when it will
show up at your social media account.
And we all do not simply live in glass houses,
but instagram posts,
facebook tags,
impulsive tweets,
our lives selectively cropped and
copy-pasted
to be scrutinized in
live-stream meltdowns,
cell-phone ambushes,
truncated audio recordings.
Who knows when you
will be the one burned at the stake in the next media firestorm?
Let he who is without sin
type the first comment.