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.

The Gambler

Behold:
the self-proclaimed “stable” genius
which might reason him
good at the horse race,
yet he bet and lost money
at his own casino, rigging the
game
at a cost to himself.
The trump card
always comes up short
and always seems to lose
by winning.
It is the Artifice
of the Deal.
Hemline theory would indicate
that the economy is on the rise,
but the shortest hemline
is at a bikini contest
which he presided over
in Russia,
and, sure enough, the bikini lines
were lucrative for him, garnering him
mobs of money,
Killer Green Backs,
and all in exchange for
whatever was left of his soul.
He never drinks,
but he takes a stiff shot of
Vodka
to embolden his small
hand,
turning up Jesters
at a game of Poker
and marveling at the shotglass
as he pushes the chip
on his shoulder
forward—
marveling
marveling
marveling at the shotglass
as he realizes
that it is a hole in hand,
like debt,
an abstract made manifest,
and so easily shattered,
unlike his deepening hole.
Yet, his worth
is still on the rise
like an airline
bedecked with golden countertops,
stalling in free-fall
back to earth.
A billionaire
owing billions,
he knows the worth of
someone else’s money.
Parading the apoplectic corpse around
of a political rival
as a boogeywoman,
he panders to his
investors,
promising to save America
from the “Elites”
and the illegal immigrants
that make their Wal Mart foods so cheap.
Yet, even while obsessed with
other people’s status
his supporters never wonder about his own, and
they empathize with him because
in their minds
they are as deluded as him,
thinking, as he does, that they will all be
rich again someday
even as they pull the lever
on a toilet slot machine,
flushing other people’s hopes down the drain
to spite the American Dream
they supposedly adore.
Their movement is an operation
of malice, envy, jealousy,
motivated by
hating “East Coast Elites”
even as they elect one to office,
praising him for the
arrogance
which patronizes them
as “patriots”.
Unstoppable force
meet immovable
narcissism.
Listen:
he is BIG LEAGUE,
bigly,
and you are all so minor,
especially you miners.
He must want to be minted
in gold,
for his face is stamped
with faux gold,
his boggling eyes
puffily underline in black bruises
from a bed beset with a
Stormy night-mare,
the eyefuls he bought
still causing him trauma.
He says climate change is not
manmade,
but his bloviating denials
add another cubic ton
to the atmosphere,
and the warming waters are rising.
Whether it is a
blue wave
or a
red wave
or it is just a languidly indifferent
wash,
there is no doubt
that the Gambler is drowning
in the Vodka depths of debt,
and, as any drowning person,
he will drag whomever
or whatever
he can grab
down with him.
Perhaps if we told him
the Gobi Desert was made of
gold dust
he would get lost there awhile,
reveling in the greatest
mirage
of wealth
since
looking in a mirror.

Snowflake And Icynicle

I am a snowflake, or so they often say,
falling with others, lost in the blind drift
and thinking myself special in my own way
as we all melt together with the seasonal shift.

They mock me as if a bleeding heart
does not give life in every Spring,
the snowmelt fueling the auspicious start
of leaves, flowers, and fruits—everything.

Rivers running through deserts of despair
are fed by snowcaps from great mountains
whose higher grounds foster life with care
so children may play in prosperity’s fountains.

It is better, therefore, to be a snowflake
who, in weeping and bleeding, slakes the earth,
than an icy fang whose unfeeling stake
bites at others for its own cold-comfort mirth.

For what is the tundra but a desert
of hard, hateful ice where nothing grows?
What are cynics but those pleased to hurt
others from whom hope always flows?

The Knight And The Dragon

He was a dragonslayer, born and bred
to hunt and kill those hot-blooded lizards
with spear and shield and a plume upon his head,
and without the aid of ballistas or armies or wizards.

His kingdom flew proud banners at high mast
with vibrant colors arrayed in blue, red, and white
and held a celebration for him to thereby cast
him forth from the castle with love and delight.

Yet, the only person who set forth with him
upon the long journey into faraway foreign lands
was his squire, Verus, for whom the apparent whim
was a means of funding life’s necessary demands.

Rumor told that there was a new dragon, very strong
and more snake in make than the previous drakes,
its eye shrewd, its fangs sharp and its coils long
so that its constant burrowing caused great earthquakes.

Where the dragon flew, acid rain fell in its wake
as it snorted coal-black smoke and ashen death
to poison every creek, river, and freshwater lake
that it touched with its sooty shadow and putrid breath.

This new dragon was, in fact, quite old
and had bided its time with patient care,
taking land and tribute, but not being too overbold:
remaining quiet as its coils expanded in its lair.

The knight knew he needed to slay it soon
ere it became too big in its massive size,
but there were things to curtail the dragon’s fortune—
natural impediments to its scaly enterprise.

To the Southwest lay a mountain range, tall and wide,
and just on the other side many foes did roam:
large Bengal tigers who hatefully eyed
the dragon as it grew close to their beloved home.

To the North spread a bleak reach of ice and snow
where there slept a bear, brooding in his cold war cave,
and to the East a sea of hostile depths, its uneasy flow
rife with sea serpents that vowed to protect their enclave.

As for the knight, he knew the perilous path
and ventured forth boldly, fancying the quest
a fairytale story, full of valor and courage and wrath,
never doubting that he was the best of the best.

He glanced upon the terrain where the dragon dwelled
and bethought himself more than ready for the fight,
even as his squire told him to wait, lest he be felled
by overconfidence and the want of keener insight.

But the knight was bold, impatient, in want of war,
riding into the rice paddies with his spear raised high
and charging at the dragon with the intent to gore
the serpent as it slept beneath its smoggy sky.

Imagine the knight’s surprise when his brand new spear
suddenly snapped like the thin twig of an elm tree
as it struck the giant dragon’s hide from the rear
and bent and broke into pieces of two and then three.

Astounded, the knight could only blink in dismay
as the dragon began its terrible counterattack.
The knight was thrown from his horse, falling to lay
sprawled out, spreadeagled, on his aching back.

His armor fell apart with each undercutting slash
and so the desperate knight called out to his squire
as his breastplate melted in a blinding white flash
from the serpent’s breath of industrial fire.

“Wherefore mine armor thus fail?”
he demanded, retreating from the beast,
fleeing as if followed by the flames of Hell
and fearing to be the main course in a feast.

“It was cheaply made by the dragon himself,”
the squire said. “And so is cheap attire, to tell truth.”
The knight exclaimed, “T’were better some witless elf
made it in mirth and mischief! Forsooth! Forsooth!”

After having retreated to a distance, the knight
stripped down to his cloth, then cast aside his spear,
and looked about for a way whereby he might
win the day, and not submit to despair and fear.

The squire, being a curious boy, climbed a nearby rock
and watched the dragon as it coiled inside its cave.
He said to the knight, “I think you should try to talk!”
to which the knight replied, “You are a silly knave!”

But then the dragon gestured toward the knight
as if he did, in fact, wish to speak of treaty terms,
and the knight, having already lost the good fight,
thought it prudent to speak with this king among wyrms.
So the knight followed the dragon inside his den,
finding, to his surprise, golden coins of all types,
including a lot of gold coin from his own kin
and his own house, inlaid with stars and stripes.

“You make such cheap things, dragon,” the knight said,
“and I do not believe any of us should pay more.”
He then crossed his arms and ruefully shook his head,
to which the dragon replied, “You get what you pay for.”

The knight blinked at this, then suddenly laughed out loud,
and so, too, did the dragon, each one eyeing the other
with an uneasy sneer as they laughed, too proud
to admit aloud that they truly needed one another.

“But what of my people?” the knight said at last,
thinking of his kingdom and what they might think.
“If I do not kill you I will be exiled, an outcast!”
The dragon told him he could kill him, with a wink.

The knight, thereafter, returned home to his people
with a cheap, fabricated dragon’s skull
which he paraded through town, and beneath the steeple,
before putting it in his house’s bank, now not half so full.

As for Verus, the squire, he stayed with the dragon
to learn what he could from that poisonous beast,
and learn much he did, though he was not one to brag on
how much he knew, for that was not wise in the least.

The dragon, himself, grew larger, spreading to the savanna
where lions and elephants pledged that they, too would be loyal
and to give him tributes of labor and land and mana,
much as the knight did, gripped in each tightening coil.