Rant 183

 

It really wears me down, you know

the long lines of cars stopped in front of me

on my way to work, the movies, to the corner store

day or night, weekdays or weekends

more and more of them     bigger and bigger

with suspensions that raise bumpers face high

guillotines in a crash

tempers frayed

patience short

caution

thrown to the wind

 

It wears me down

the constant assault of noise

jerks on cell phones

ads blaring in restaurants

neighbors yelling in the courtyard

It’s a tax on my trembling nerves

 

Whatever happened to manners

chewing with your mouth closed

washing your hands     covering your cough

saying, “Excuse me?”

 

It wears me down

the bumper crop of hypocrites in politics

who did not utter a word about torture,

illegal wiretaps, or Cheney’s Fuhrer theory of executive power

but rail about the slide toward dictatorship

now that an illness won’t bankrupt working families

 

It wears me down

that the news media bends over backwards

to kiss these yokels’ asses

that the public doesn’t wake up

that they jump on the bandwagon of dogmatic religions

and accuse climate scientists of bias

while taking polluters’ words as gospel

 

The disdain for science wears me down

A woman says with a straight face

“Any doctor will tell you acid blood causes all diseases.”

After spending ten years in college

why do I still drive a Honda

when these  jokers drive BMWs?

 

It’s a tax on my happiness

a tax on sanity and health

a tax I can’t afford to pay

 

It wears me down

 

**************

 

Organic

 

Mandy’s body is perfect

as a Pringles potato chip

 

Dried potatoes     cottonseed, soybean, or sunflower oil

rice flour, wheat starch, maltodextrin, salt

 

and just as addictive.

Breasts, calves, and thighs

curved and golden.

 

nondairy creamer, whey powder, dextrose

monosodium glutamate, buttermilk powder

 

Her attitudes and speech

identical with every other chip in the can,

 

natural and artificial flavor, gum Arabic, garlic powder

onion powder, nonfat dry milk, tricalcium phosphate

 

the drinks, the smokes, the music, the fashion

plans for job and family.

 

disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate

sodium citrate, yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake

 

Give me an organic woman instead

hand-cut potatoes and onions

fried on the skillet of character,

corn tortillas

pressed between palms of love,

egg noodles

seared in the wok of intellect.

 

**************

 

Gatekeepers

 

Affection erupts in the theater

as if actors from “Love Actually” were in the audience.

I reach for Leslie’s hand

and the screen flashes, “Not for you!”

Keira Knightley leans forward from behind

and whispers, “Not ever.”

After the movie Leslie takes me to her condo.

I follow her swaying hips down a hall

to the bedroom door and yellow diamond Keep Out sign

posted just for me.

 

When I tune in “Love Line,” the radio changes station

to the nightly business report

and all the bikini bottoms are embroidered

with “Go away!”

 

My last chance – Burning Man

20,000 dreadlocked women

shedding clothes and inhibitions

on the hot playa. Once there, indifference

and the boast of amplified music

drown out my conversations, all except

for a woman who admires Nurse Ratched

from Cuckoo’s Nest.

 

**************

 

Doldrums

 

Minutes bang together like railroad cars.

I chew Thursday’s bread while world leaders

make statements with dead soldiers,

the unprovoked attack merely karma

acting backward in time.

 

It’s always the same.

Bathroom philosophers jumping from bridges

into alcoholics, the cracks in the sidewalk

unrepentant. I hate it

when a paycheck comes

with a death sentence.

 

Life is God’s joke on man.

I’m not laughing.

 

**************

 

After the Flood

 

The talk radio host

sprawls in the captain’s chair

his pink body swaddled

in Bermuda shorts, Hawaiian shirt,

and Panama hat.

After draining a beer

he tosses the can over the side

of his eighty-foot houseboat, the finest

his oil-company sponsors could buy.

 

Twin Cummins diesels rumble

as he motors around the Miami coastline.

Careful to avoid wreckage

that might foul a propeller

he steers clear of flooded

resorts and causeways.

Shame about Little Havana.

What was the name of that place

with the great pork sandwiches?

 

No matter.

Melted icecaps

make the fishing great!

He has all he needs –

full tank of fuel,

steaks in the freezer,

and sawed-off shotgun

to ward off rafts of evacuees

 

 

© Jon Wesick

 

Bio:  Jon is a host of San Diego’s Gelato Poetry Series and is an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He's published nearly three hundred poems in journals such as Eskimo Pie, Atlanta Review, Pearl, and Slipstream. He has also published over seventy short stories. He has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest. Another had a link on the Car Talk website.