Agenda Goggles

Agenda Goggles, a dime a dozen!
Get one free, for yourself and for me,
for each parent, sibling, and cousin!
Come see what you want to see!
Wear them when out with a friend
to see a movie meant simply for fun
and find yourselves foes by the end,
arguing politics as you come undone.
Take them with you everywhere:
to the park, to the café, to your job,
and see things with a tinted stare
that will make you want to summon a mob.
Never enjoy anything ever again
while wearing your Agenda Goggles—
no book, poem, comic, or comedian;
nothing’s safe while your brain toggles.
Make a career out of your impaired sight
by prospecting for online outrage,
instigating fight after fight after fight
to gain clicks on your blog page.
You can also feed your Twitter feed
by spotting prey with these sensitive glasses—
prey of every gender, race, and creed
cobbled together from the mosaic masses.
And while normies carry on in a quiet life,
you can see everything as a war of tribes
and profiteer from that traffic and the strife
like a corrupt judge blinded by bribes.

Take It Easy

Take It Easy

Floyd did not mind much that his trailer was floating down the Mississippi river. He had put it on the flood plain when he first bought the land twenty years ago and so he knew the risks involved. Moreover, the river had risen by the grace of God. Who was he to question the Lord? The ride was quite relaxing, in its own way, especially at night when he went to bed. During the day he would catch a cockroach and hook it to his fishing line, casting the line out his front door. More often than not he caught a catfish or a carp. They had muddy flavors, of course, when he cooked them on his kerosene grill, but Floyd didn’t mind. Floyd didn’t mind much of anything, really. He was as easygoing as the river. Whatever the Lord willed, he accepted. He was by himself, anyhow, and so he needn’t have bothered to worry what anyone else thought or believed. Not that he was contentious. Throughout the year of marriage to his exwife Mabel he had been the most accommodating, agreeable husband a woman could have asked for. The only reason Mabel divorced Floyd was because he “had no ambitions”. He only wanted to exist as he had done for years, neither wealthier or in a better neighborhood. He aspired toward nothing and Mabel resented that aspect of him. Mabel never once thought that, had he ambitions, he would aspired for someone better than her. Not that Floyd ever thought such things. He was too easygoing for grudges and insecurities and the other petty emotions of Man.
The trailer swayed gently in the current. It was like living on a houseboat. Floyd did not mind it at all. He thought himself possessed of no reason for unease or upset as he was swept downstream. If the trailer sank, it sank. If not, that was fine, too. It wasn’t that Floyd was suicidal, passively or otherwise. He just accepted things the way they were. On the spot. At face value. It had galled his exwife somewhat. It also galled his coworkers at the rock quarry. Sometimes they thought working the rock had softened his brains. But Floyd had always been the way he was. His mother always said he never cried once when a baby, even at his birth. She attested that it was because of his “Cajun stock” that he was so mellow. Their long line of New Orleans ancestry had lived in places where others dared not, and consequently their blood found life easy nowadays no matter how stressful the modern world could be. After all, wrestling gators and eking out a living on the bayou with mosquitoes always at your neck was a good way to condition the blood to flow slower when other bloodlines would gush in a panic. If gators taught a bloodline anything, it was patience, tolerance, and abidance.
The river widened and rushed onward, faster. Yet, the trailer did not sink. Naturally, Floyd had no electricity since becoming unmoored, but he lived in Louisiana, and it was Summer, so he didn’t need electricity. It wasn’t cold. When it was hot he simply sat at the door with his feet in the water. For entertainment he watched the trees and the banks roll by. Occasionally he saw a riverside town or city. Gobsmacked people watched him with gaping mouths, pointing incredulously. He waved at them in easy friendliness. Sometimes he would climb up on the roof of his trailer and lay down beneath the sun. So long as he was on the Mississippi, he had a source of water. He drank it without much caring about germs. He knew they existed, but, again, he thought it up to God whether sickness killed him or not.
It was on his fifth week of his journey that land disappeared altogether. Curious, Floyd climbed atop the trailer and gazed out over the horizon. End to end without end, the horizon was only oceanic water. The trailer had floated out to sea. Not even a smudge of land shadowed the horizon. Floyd put his hands on his hips and gazed out to sea. It was beautiful. Nor did he feel overpowering dread, nor fear for his life. Instead, he caught another cockroach and went fishing. He caught several fish over the course of the next month or so. He did not know any of their names. He cooked them on his kerosene grill and ate them calmly while the briny scent of the ocean filled the trailer. Nor did he lose one wink of sleep knowing that he was adrift at sea. Sometimes when he woke up in the early morning hours he saw shark fins through the front door. This caused him no alarm whatsoever. Rather, he fished as he usually did, and if a shark stole his catch he would hook another cockroach on his reel and try again. There were plenty of fish in the sea for Floyd and the sharks. Eventually, they all ate their fill.
And then came the storm. It started as choppy waves that tossed and shook the trailer like an impatient child trying to open a tin of chocolates. The winds howled like beasts incensed by blood-thirst and madness. Calmly, Floyd closed the front door and sat on his sofa, wondering what would come next. He had never been in a storm at sea before and it was a novel experience he accepted as he had accepted everything else in life.
The trailer tossed left and right. Floyd’s sofa slid to and fro with the direction and momentum of the waves. He accepted this, too, sitting at ease upon that sofa as it paced back and forth restlessly like a caged animal.
The storm lasted for three days. Floyd did not have much to drink, since the sea was saltwater, and he could not catch fish, since the sea was a jagged-toothed shark in frenzy, but he accepted all of this rather easily. It was easy to accept, too, since his trailer was like a bronco in the bug-bitten madness of a rodeo. His stomach was queasy; his lips parched. His body accepted this as much as his mind, however, and so he was only mildly sick from this incessant rollercoaster ride.
On the fourth day the sea laid down to rest like a child after a terrible tantrum. Still feeling queasy and dizzy, Floyd climbed on top of his trailer and sat there for a while, beneath the cloudy sky, letting his stomach and brains slow in their churning spin. In time he saw an island toward which the trailer drifted. Had he been anyone else he might have thought it a delusion brought about by dehydration and hunger and fatigue, but Floyd accepted it for a real island. So, when the trailer struck the white sands, he climbed down and stepped foot on dry land.
It was a tropical island. There were palm trees and mountains and exotic flowers abloom everywhere. Birds flew above, and he heard boars rummaging through the bushes. He saw coconuts and accepted everything he saw as it was. He even accepted that a band of short men in boarskin loincloths were approaching him, holding their spears out as if skewer him like a kabob. When they pointed their spears at him, and then pointed up at the mountains, Floyd understood and followed them through the forest and up the slopes. All of this he accepted, too.
There was a village on a foothill leading up into the mountains. Clay huts roofed with palm leaves huddled atop the flat crown of the foothill. Women and children waited there; the children playing while the women cut fruits and cooked stews in large stone pots. The men motioned for Floyd to sit. He did so. The women brought to him clay plates filled with fruit. He ate it obligingly. They also brought him stew, which he accepted in turn. While he ate he looked around the village and saw artwork made of bones— marine bones, boar bones, bird bones, and even human bones. Actually, there were lots of human bones. There was a pyramid of human skulls tucked away in one corner of the village, behind what seemed to be a stone altar. Blood had stained the stone.
Floyd accepted all of this as easily as he had the storm and the river. Whatever God willed, he accepted. So, when the men pulled him up to his feet and began marching him up into the mountains, he did not fight or reject his lot. The view from the mountainside, at least, was very beautiful. He could see all over the lush island, and even far out to sea.
The pygmy men halted at the cresting slope of the highest mountain. They then pointed Floyd forward, holding their spears at his back lest he escape. They did not look at him, however, but kept their heads turned away. It was obvious to Floyd that he was meant to proceed forward alone.
Floyd walked forward. Atop the mountain he found a tarn with the deepest, darkest, blackest waters. Where the sun touched the waters no light shone nor penetrated. It was like a well of black ink, fathomless as lightless space between stars. Floyd stood at its edge, watching. Accepting. Unafraid.
And then the inky waters began to churn. Something rose from it— an eldritch entity beyond human comprehension. Floyd saw it, and it spoke to him, and he accepted the Cosmic Truths that it gave to him. It then submerged again, the inky water flattening to a smooth onyx surface once again. Floyd descended the mountain.
The pygmy men waited for him in the foothills, as did the women and children. They had spears and stones hoisted, at the ready. Yet, when he descended— waving and smiling in earnest friendliness— they dropped their spears and stones, and then dropped to their knees, bowing and wailing for forgiveness.
The tribal elders directed Floyd to a special throne they had made for the predestined prophet and avatar for their god. Floyd could not understand any of this, but he accepted the seat offered to him as tribal hospitality. The native people served him fruits again, and coconut milk, and roasted boar. For the next ten years they treated him as a god-made-flesh. They genuflected before him and thanked him for rains, or else clasped their hands together, wringing their fingers worriedly as they begged him mercy when lightning struck during the sea storms. Floyd did not want them to worship him as an avatar, but he also did not wish to question or rebuff their beliefs. He believed that people should believe what they wished to believe, and who was he to muddy their religion with doubt? It was rude to question another person’s cherished beliefs.
Some of the women offered themselves to Floyd, too, and he accepted them. They seemed as pleased about the copulations as he was, so he saw no reason to reject them. It would have hurt their feelings to push them aside when they mounted him in the privacy of his own hut. They wanted his children, and he gave them children. Even the married women wanted his children, for the tribal elders wished to mix their blood with his so that the subsequent generations could commune with their God without being driven mad. Floyd eventually learned to speak their language, but never convinced them of their error. He was too easygoing to attempt to correct them in their (mostly) harmless habits. They said he had been sent by their God, and he agreed that God had sent him. It was God’s will, as was everything in Floyd’s world view. Things were as they were, just-so, and Floyd accepted them as always. He even spoke to the God in the mountains, though he was not sure the God even saw Floyd or acknowledged him. The God in the mountains was more like a weather system than a sentient creature. It was not that it did not like Man, but rather, it did not think of Man at all. Yet, it did embody the Cosmic Truth, and so it imparted that knowledge, whether it intended to or not.
All of this Floyd accepted, also, living in contented acceptance for many years. His newfound family grew, alongside the tribe, and they faced no better or worse circumstances than any other tribe of equal technological advancement.
Eventually, a boat arrived from America. It was an exploration vessel belonging to a team of anthropologists seeking to better understand the island tribe. For a long time the tribe had been known, but never studied. Now a group of twenty-somethings intended to make what they presumed to be first contact with the tribe. The pygmy warriors met the anthropologists on the shore, their spears at the ready. They escorted them up to their village without delay, much to the delight of the Americans. The anthropologists were very pleased about all of this…until they saw Floyd sitting on his throne.
The pygmy village bowed before Floyd, but the anthropologists refused. They accused Floyd of colonialism and slavery and cultural appropriation. Floyd, on the other hand, accepted all of these accusations also, as he did the accusations of “cultural genocide” and “white male entitlement”. Who was he to upset the anthropologists with counter-arguments? He kept his silence. On the other hand, he also accepted it as God’s will when the pygmy people took umbrage at the way the strangers were squawking at their God’s avatar and marched them up the mountainside to face their God’s judgment. After all, who was Floyd to intercede in another culture’s edicts? He had no aspirations toward that maladjusted cause.
The anthropologists went mad from the Cosmic Truth. Afterward, they wandered down the mountainside, laughing maniacally, or else sobbing uncontrollably. Some fell to their deaths. Others threw themselves willingly from the mountainside. Some had to be put out of their misery by the pygmy people, their heads smashed on the altar and their skulls cleaned and bleached in the tropical sun before being added to the pyramid. All of this was God’s will, Floyd thought, and so he accepted it as such. There was no need to be willful, himself. Taking life as it was was the best way to live. Not even an Eldritch God could ruin his peace of mind.

Media Stream

The river can be
diverted
with watersheds and dams and
media floodgates,
but we, the people,
are the ones dumping our
outhouse ideologies
into the eddies,
contaminating the flow,
thickening the sludge, feeding into that river
that divides us, and, so,
when everything flows
downstream
we should not be surprised
that when scooping out water for our
hearty family stew
we find ourselves eating someone else’s
shit
from farther upstream,
nor are we blameless
of flavoring someone else’s
cloying broth.

The Anthropophagi

Their barbarism is born of
idealism,
the fervor of their
cannibal appetite
compelled unto frenzy
by the holy need to achieve
ideological purity,
whether it be in the belief that
Jesus Christ would cast
nonbelievers into the pits of
Hell
or that infidels should be purged
in a jihad of chemical death
or that a man can become
a woman
by surgically inverting
his genitals,
or that ogling polygonal
tits
is a part of rape culture,
or that all billionaires—
regardless of lives saved
as doctors
or lawyers
or inventors
or even investors—
are wicked white men
that have oppressed the rest of
humanity;
they eat their own
to cull their herd
and become stronger
by becoming weaker,
refining their ranks
with a pair of neutering clippers
and a chopping block
(shoulder roast whose
seasoning sauce
is nuance)
until cleanliness-cum-godliness
elevates puritanical
savages
unto Saturn’s
apotheosis
and they are left
all alone,
gnawing their own
tongues.

Strawman Shaman

A shaman prayed over a flimsy straw doll
and wrote words on a piece of paper so as to bind
to it the woes of a woman who felt powerless, small,
and who wished to rectify all the wrongs in her mind.

The shaman said, “All of your problems are now here,
invested into this fetish that you must now take
and burn until nothing remains for you to fear.”
The woman took the doll and gave it a shake.

“I do not fear you, evil thing,” the woman swore.
“You are the Patriarchy, and you will lose.”
She laughed hatefully. “You will not exist anymore
because I can destroy you now, as I so choose.”

She then cast the paper and the doll inside the fire
and smiled as both burned away to ashen nothing,
thinking it good that the boogeyman should expire
so easily, as if a thing made of chaff stuffing.

When others heard of her story, they came to the shaman,
each hoping he could defeat his or her own evil spirit
by investing all of their evil spirits into a strawman
and burning the fetish so as to never again fear it.

Some asked that he burn away parasitic communism,
and some asked for debt-capitalism and cash,
some the GOP, and the Democrats, the whole prism
of ideology burned, inside the dolls, to ash.

Each person went away, thoroughly pleased
to think their world had somehow been bettered,
and all the while nothing they hated truly ceased
because of the words that had been lettered.

And so, in time, they found themselves fooled,
realizing that nothing had ever really changed
since the angry flames had been overruled—
their superstitious endowments deranged.

They confronted the shaman, all of them enraged
for having been fooled by a thief and a liar
and, for his crimes, they had him bound and caged,
wanting to punish him for preying upon desire.

“You blame me for your problems,” he laughed
while they all shouted at him in his cage,
“but you are the ones who are truly daft
if you think problems are only words upon a page!”

They whined: “How can we solve our problems, then?”
The shaman grinned and said, “It is so very simple.
Release me and I will show you how, my children.
Just come with me into my strawman’s temple.”

They released him, hesitantly, and followed him thereto—
to a great fire pit in an ancient ziggurat
where he stoked the flames to burn all ills heir to
humans upon a great blaze that flared bright and hot.

“You all want easy answers,” the shaman said.
“And simple evils needing simple solutions. Very well—
Life is the problem, by god, so, until you are dead
you will always be living a constant Hell.”

This said, he leapt down into the roaring flames
and all of his problems went up in easy smoke—
but his followers baulked at his bold claims,
still wanting to believe he misspoke.

Five Poems

Wicked
Her sins shadowed her
like playful dogs yipping and snipping
at her heels,
and she frequently curtsied
so as to pet them,
letting the men in the village
gaze deeply into her
tumult of cleavage,
her swelling bosom;
and whenever those dogs played
they were as hellhounds among marriage beds,
causing many wives to wake in fright,
losing their heads
and their husbands
to a wandering night.

Humiliation
He stripped her bare
like a tree of its bark,
her body pale and slender and smooth
to the touch
like sapwood,
and just as soon dying of exposure.

Orthodoxymoron
He channeled the holy spirit
through the computer screen,
bathed in information brightly lit
like a halo, harsh yet serene.
He learned how to make a big bomb
and clutched his crucifix to his chin,
repeating to himself “Absalom—
science is a most needful sin.”
He scrolled down the profane webpage
and scoffed at the modern zeitgeist.
“They revel in this secular age,
but they’ll see the blinding light of Christ.”

Earworm
Echo chambers deafen
by mantra, by zealous song,
the reverberating bass of
tribalism
booming as the loudspeaker of each
blowhard pundit
overlaps and amplifies exponentially,
the automatic algorithms
reinforcing and overwhelming
with the deadening stagnation
of propaganda. It is
weaponized audio
to concuss the brain into
malleable mush,
obedient putty
while parasites breed and multiply
from one ear canal to the other,
this self-administered
brainwashing
building unto willful frenzy,
until all contrarian thought is unheard,
anathema, a blasphemy
against the word of a jingoistic God;
a discordant chord
struck to clang against the
hymns of dogma
as if to shake loose the choral worms
writhing between the serenaded ears
so as to open the mind
to worms of a different breeding.
They conduct an orchestra
with which to marionette us,
beating our heads into submission
with the conductor’s baton,
and so our heads become echo chambers,
and the emptier they are
the more room for parasites,
the louder they sing their songs
using our own gawping mouths.
The worms writhe so loudly
in the echo chambers
of our ears,
and we cannot hear ourselves think.
Can we think for ourselves?
Hubris
Arrogance and ignorance
are
Siamese twins
connected head to head,
brow to brow,
so that they peer deeply
into each other’s loving eyes
and neglect seeing all else,
goose-stepping to and fro
blindly
with their backs turned dismissively
toward the humbling world.

Cast-Rated

Death by a million cuts,
his agenda faltered and fell, headless,
dickless,
at the bladed ballot box
and its executioner’s block.
Headsmen, one and all,
neutering with a
scratch of the pen,
the pull of the lever,
undercutting his
tyrant’s optimism
and
approval rating.
And here he was,
only yesterday,
swollen with
self-satisfaction,
engorged with his glandular
ego,
and yet
the rubber ring is set
as we band together,
his testiness blackening
while his testes constrict
in a tightening noose.
Gelded by the
“losers”
he disdains so much,
there is no more pleasure for him—
only impotence and loss.