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Endless Winter 2022

April 2022

Keep thinking winter is over, yet a raw sunshine stays frozen to my face. Affairs with the proletariat. Affairs from on high in the spirit of Zeus and that American demigod JFK. A rich kid from New England who left an orphan from Los Angeles to terminate her pregnancy on her own, privileged and cruel and more than can be said for Texas Republicans. He left pundits with a legacy readily idolized. Everyone, when the rain breaks, becomes a sun worshiper when it’s snuffed out midday.

“Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved all are not free,” said John in the same speech in which he is supposed to have called himself a doughnut. The truth is he didn’t. His remarks were understood as a show of solidarity; the audience did not take him to have called himself a jelly-filled pastry. Language is more nuanced than the stories told about language. Still, the only thing his statement on freedom does is equivocate. All are not free as long as one isn’t. Thanks. With a bit of rephrasing, said by the usurped to the powerful it might sound a warning: You cannot be free as long as you oppress us, if for no other reason than guilt. Johnny wants to think of a joke. Johnny’s a Catholic. Johnny’s an American, and he is of its royalty. Mastered speaking like a common man, knows it don’t matter if it’s tautology, man.

Today’s son is bloated Jesus. Wants to suck on a diet coke. Savior with a sweet tooth sugar gut. Benefits endless from papa money. With his clucking voice, he’s not even worth quoting. Heir to a frustrated public tired of pushing rocks and hungry for salvation. Under the big boot of the state, some make of themselves landmines, while others lick it. Some get churned under dirt. Blessed are the famished, for they shall inherit a big gulp full of words. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit what’s left of the earth. Businessmen they drink wine and to the farmer and his children: Corn syrup.

Forget not, in the acknowledgement of stolen land, the industrialized digging of the home of the Oceti Sakowin, Algonquian, Caddo. Remember that, though broken up by ocean and shelving space, the valley that feeds extends across the surface. Hunger is boundless. Scared bellies still sting when they exit the sleepy thoughts of the well-fed. Nourishment trades on commodities markets.

Harvest yellow under blue sky runs out to the horizon, ripples under a lonely cloud’s shadow. A sway in a field from the passing of some tired truck on the way. Groceries manifest at stores. Until they don’t. The cook’s grandson eats foie gras and oysters while he sends out his boys. Commands them to paint the air with burnt plastic and phosphorus. And in between they forge for supper at unwelcoming homes. Watched on the limited gamut of another latest release, questions arise about the real power of art. Siblings in discontent. Siblings in doubt about those decisions from a man with the same hometown as a fictional company. He stops paper. Real businesses close.

“All the grocery delivery services in my neighborhood are closed,” says my friend. “The owner of the one says he can’t get money from his investors overseas.” She and I are seated at the back booth in a Bushwick hole that smells of daiquiris. An ambitious tiki bar on a half-hearted pirate ship that has sunk to the bottom of the Brooklyn sea. We are visitors on a purple-hued dive among these regular skeletons. Waiting for our meals, one meat burger and one veggie, my friend says it’s best to tip delivery drivers in cash. I say I still feel bad about making someone else carry my groceries, especially in the cold. Our conversation tends towards ethics in late-stage capitalism. The server arrives. She holds the veggie burger to my friend, who responds by crossing her arms tightly. The server persists. The arms tighten. “That’s mine,” I say, but no one can hear over the announcement for karaoke.