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.

A Smattering Of Offensively Honest Stereotypes

China:
Tiger mom whipping her
mass-manufactured children
as they drown in
polluted waters.

USA:
Trust-fund fratboy
partying himself
brain-dead
into a blackout of
bankruptcy.

Britain:
Prestigious butler
apologizing for being a regrettable
snob
while looking down
his nose at you.

Japan:
Dojo master
serving green tea
with a crippled fist.

France:
Five-star chef fixing food
without gloves,
deriding
barbaric finger-food
as he picks his nose.

Russia:
KGB agent camouflaged
in
Punk-Rock protester clothing,
shouting scripted lines
and lobbing
molotovs
for the State News cameras.

Mexico:
Coyote smuggler shoving
migrant families
into the
pews
of the Roman Catholic Church.

Germany:
A Nazi commander conquering
Non-Aryan people
by invite-invading refugees
into his own
overcorrecting country.

Sweden:
Overqualified
viking
leading IKEA raids
into
world-wide living rooms.

Australia:
Dead man walking
with a blithe attitude
toward countless open graves
dotting the outback hellscape.

South Africa:
Biracial man who
wreathes his own neck
with
a burning tire.

Canada:
Metrosexual lumberjack
caught in a love/hate triangle with
his loudmouthed next-door neighbor
and his
snooty French cousin.

Thailand:
Small lady-boy
sassing
the overbearing
dragon-lady madame.

Saudi Arabia:
A chic sheik soccer fan
with a handful of
scarlet letter stones
for the halftime show.

Iran:
Imam admonishing young men
to wave the
stars and stripes
to fan the flames faster.

Switzerland:
Banker sitting in complacent
neutrality,
his coffers replete with the
blood money
from wars he had proudly
divested himself from.

Israel And Palestine:
Stepbrothers warring over
space,
their bunk-beds
too close together,
their hearts
too far apart.

Antarctica:
Shoggoth writhing
within the ice caves,
sick of eating
Emperor penguins
and of
human drama.

Cardinal Rule, Cardinal Hill

There is no carnival thrill
on Cardinal Hill,
not for boys like me, us river-rats
who live in the shadows of fat cats,
and while I may be a white cisgender male
which, nowadays, seems a hard-sell,
I am also a blue-collar scholar
that doesn’t like Rush Limbaugh or the Daily Caller.
When you tell me
so snappishly
that I should feel “White Guilt”
you lose someone with whom you could have built
a better America, a better nation,
and so discord becomes your sole occupation.
Let me tell you something about sex and race:
Cardinal Hill is an actual place,
it is a place that always looked down
with a condescending frown
in our waterlogged holler
for we were river-rats, and they were White Collar,
and so when you, bourgeoisie, tell me
I am to blame for previous history
you might as well blame me for the shape of the earth
because it, too, was decided long before my birth.
Poor is poor
as we drift to sift
through every thrift store
to find this year’s school uniform
while name brands, for other kids, are the norm—
we wear military fatigues, hand-me-down coats,
yard sale socks and dig through throwaway totes.
No one’s suffering should be tallied and spent
by race or sex or creed or accent.
And it is true: you have to have privilege to complain
about privilege, otherwise this thought-train
derails and explodes, blowing up in everyone’s face
the third-degree burns subsuming everyone’s race.
Listen: have you ever had to shudder in a winter storm
since there was no central heat to keep you warm?
You can’t let a log stove burn all night
while you sleep in a trailer, awaiting sunlight.
Have you ever worked on your 13th Birthday, in the snow,
taking off a roof while the cold winds blow?
Your gloves are eaten through by crumbling shingles
and the rich kids are inside, warm and enjoying jingles.
Have you ever ridden a bike where you weren’t wanted
while rich kids laughed at you and taunted?
Or else they shunned you as a hillbilly bumpkin,
saying you belonged in a back alley dump bin?
They said we were rednecks, poor, and “weird folks”,
treating us like creatures born of inhuman yolks,
and yet they hired us to work on their porches and roofs
which taught me, young, about Life’s hard truths.
You see, there are Cardinal hills all over the earth
so before you start criticizing anyone’s worth
perhaps you should look in a polished mirror
and see things as they are, a little bit clearer,
because shit always runs downhill from the very top
and we know that prejudices never really stop,
whether from racists or classists or complacent cityfolk
who assume so much with a keyboard poke—
because my kin grew up in the shadow of a Hill
near a river, in a holler that was used like a landfill
for junk cars and appliances and whatever other thing
that was discarded from the wealthy hilltop ring;
we grew up not unlike mushrooms from a bog
so spare us your White Guilt articles on your blog—
please earn your clicks some other way,
or maybe get a real job, right now, without delay.
There’s one more thing you need to read,
even if it isn’t something you wish to heed:
once upon a time poor people of every color
interbred in America, and were none the duller
in this fine interplay of diversity, thereby reconciled
in the happy complexion of a “mixed race” child,
but then rich people realized that the desperate poor
could be controlled with pseudohistorical lore
about racism and purity and knowing one’s place—
knowing a divided people were easier to keep apace,
and while SJW’s have good intentions (some do)
some are dividing us all for a paycheck, too.
Look: those who do not live by scepter or saber
must live by the bounties of their labor,
so look to your hands and see what they grip—
is it a dividing blade, a ruling rod, or someone else’s lip?

Clickbait

Clickbait or
clitbait?
Seems a lot of online articles exist
so (dis)connected people can rub their special
spots
furiously, working their way toward
their “O” face
of outrage;
getting off on
hair-trigger warnings
and incendiary stimuli.
There was once a time when
it was an artist’s role to
provoke
through “controversy”—
the word meaning literally
to “turn against”,
like a fingertip turning against
the G-spot
to provoke a climax and
catharsis;
but now everyone is a critic
trying to earn finger-clicks
by denouncing everyone else’s work,
all in the pursuit of that social justice cause
known the world over as
ad revenue.
Well, as a creator
daring the fray of online competition
among the bland, common flow of
mediocrity, let me tell you something:
thanks.
Sincerely— thank you.
After all, you are the
Baptist
to my
Bootlegger,
beloved.
My most adored.
Mon amour.
Without you and your
triggers
what good would my work be?
What good is a rotten egg
unless it can make a big stink
on someone else’s front porch?
And what good is the moral
high ground
unless you can lob
rotten eggs
of your own?
So hold me, dearest,
as we twirl about this
symbiotic tango,
to and fro,
as our audience croons
and rubs their clits and dicks
in vicarious climax, which is
ever deferred and ever
profitable.
You are my
sugar momma,
and I am your sugar
Dada,
and how sweet the succor
we favor in each other,
like plastic fruits we eat
while we eat
the scenery, the two of us as
actors upon a social media stage,
waiting for the audience
to throw roses, or
rotten tomatoes, the latter sustaining better
in their own way
than the petals of praise.
You are my destined sweetheart,
my star-crossed lover
courting justice against my
controversy,
and as you vilify my work
I adore you, for everyone loves a good
villain,
and this paradox is the path to
prosperity.
So bless me with your
condemnations,
tell me I’ve been a
bad boy,
tell me I’m a
racist,
a misogynist,
a homophobic redneck,
and bend me over your lap(top)
for a good spanking.
I will work all the harder
as you hunch on my provocative art; as you
hump upon it viciously to show your
dominance
while we both turn tricks for a few
pennies per thousand clicks,
like Pornhub, but the two of us being
too shameful
to show our true faces.
Sometimes this feels so good
I almost forget
we’re both faking it.
Aren’t we?