the narrow road

they drive their buses full of angry people

right down my throat.

(i don’t think i’m alone in this, it’s just

i can only speak for myself.)

but as i was saying,

they drive their bus down my throat via

this very narrow road they’ve found in the air.

they drive this bus on this road until

they park the bus in my stomach.

my guts cramp while the bus idles

and fills my boiler with stinky exhaust.

i can feel the angry little people

getting off the bus.

they wade around my stomach mucus and

hydrochloric acid.

one guy always tosses his wendy’s bag on the ground

as if he owns the place.

 

but what can i do from outside my skin?

they keep driving in and

filing out of the bus before they say

the pledge of allegiance together.

all while polluting my body

with their trash and exhaust

and noise.

“it’s a free country,”

they tell me.

 

i guess

freedom knows no bounds.

 

the narrow road, i don’t know how they found it,

but god be damned if they ever asked me.

if they had, i would have said:

“please find another way to get where

you’re taking these angry people.”

and then i’d have said,

“my stomach isn’t for your buses anyway.”

 

nobody asked me though.

it wouldn’t matter if anyone asked me now,

though, because all that happens

when i open my mouth is

exhaust pours out and my voice

sounds like an idling bus engine

and my words sound angry like

the angry people

whose voices echo up my esophagous.

 

i can’t escape all the arguing, which

puts me on edge so

i’m guilty of anger too.

i’m mad as hell, but not

because i ever WANTED to be.

 

i don’t understand though.

why must they keep driving this way?

why?

i used to sing before this road,

but now i have potholes on my voicebox.

 

now i sound like

a traffic jam.

 

 

the words you cannot say

the words you cannot say

exist in the shadows of

all that is said.

the words you cannot say

burn in your guts when

you silently witness what

you cannot say.

the words you cannot say

could explode the walls

between them and sound.

 

if only they could be spoken.

 

sometimes you’ll see the words in light

only to see them mutilated right after

by the speakers of words you can.

back into the pit they’re taken

wrapped in chains of

comfortable decency.

 

the light that shines

on the earth exposes all words

and it is our duty to speak them.

when the first human saw a flower

they made a sound that

identified and dignified

the flower’s

existence.

the words you cannot say

do not name flowers.

the words you cannot say

are assumed to have no dignity.

the words you cannot say

are words we might wish

did not exist.

the words you cannot say

name creatures existing on earth

or in the depths our our minds.

the words you cannot say

look more like the

bleached snaggletoothed monsterfish

lurking in the ocean’s darkest trenches.

 

what words do you use

to describe something so hidden?

how do you tell someone your

friend was slaughtered,

your daughter was eaten,

your family was enslaved

by a gigantic monsterfish

that no one wants to see

and there are no words

to say what you cannot say?

 

what words do you use

when you are being carried back to the pit

where the monsterfish lives?

whose help do you call for

when the help is locking you in?

they’re shoving your head

under water in the pit, and

you utter

words you’ve heard

that you know you cannot say,

‘Black Lives Matter.’

 

and then they close the lid

to hide away the sound.

conventional wisdom

 

a note to readers:

i wrote this story as a sophomore in college (2006 or 2007) back when i was starting to lose faith in our democracy and still capitalizing letters. this is why some of the once futuristic dates already live in the past. still, it feels like an appropriate post for today given the season. hope you enjoy and, as always, god bless america.

-merk

 

America the Fucking Beautful

Debacle & Enlightenment

In the years and months leading up to the election of 2024 a single, hairy issue dominated the nation’s collective conscience. And it wasn’t war and it wasn’t education. It was none of the issues that so often dominated American politics throughout the Second Dark Age. After the Great Election Debacle of 2012 and the subsequent Enlightenment during the twelve years that followed it, the issues most Americans formerly considered “hot-­button” found themselves swept under the rug.

The Great Electoral Debacle, the sole incident that led to a total reformation of the electoral system, was simple really. Regina Millson was the early Democratic front­runner and to many Americans, she really was the perfect candidate. She had no blotches on her personal or public record and she had spent years in the Senate collecting both domestic and foreign policy experience. Yet it was then that her rival, a lesser respected candidate, Terry Rockland, Republican Governor of Mississippi, ferociously struck down any, and all of her political aspirations with one clean blow.

Some three weeks before the election, Rockland somehow came into possession of a series of super-­secret photos. All of them featured Mrs. Millson simply being herself. However, one of the photos pictured Mrs. Millson’s whole self. That is to say, it left far too little to America’s imagination. The photo which has been, and will be printed in every history book from the moment it was taken until eternity, is Mrs. Millson laughing as she steps out of her limousine while her mangy pubic hair had somehow managed to find itself freed from the dark recesses of her skirt, and out into the light of day.

Literally the second after the photo was first published (the leak had been handled with the utmost efficiency to ensure the most damage to Millson’s campaign) the entire world was getting its first glimpse of Mrs. Millson’s muff. Many were shocked, some were turned on, but one thing was certain: America was never going to be the same.

In the days after the Debacle, Rockland took a commanding lead. As a man, he wasn’t under the same scrutiny as Millson. After all, during the Second Dark Age men rarely worried about their curlies enough to warrant more than a bi­monthly trim­job. Yet, somehow, Millson’s camp had like­wise obtained a picture of Rockland’s wildly out of control bush. With nothing left to lose, Millson leaked the picture herself. She was eager to end Rockland’s career as quickly as he’d ended hers.

It worked. Within two minutes Rockland had lost his biggest supporters, not to mention his lead in the polls, in the middle of the pubic hair hysteria he’d helped create. The pundits went wild, the public was captivated, and all of America had been engulfed in the pubic hair hoopla.

Both candidates had seemed to be locks for their party’s nominations, yet now, three weeks later, their respective conventions were frenzied, scrambling to settle upon an agreeable nomination. After all, choosing a candidate that a whole nation could envision itself unifying behind has generally been a game rife with near hits or misses, and anything a candidate did could sway a close election. So there they were, massive conventions of public officials wondering what the hell they could do to win a spot in the White House. It was then that Representative Jerry Vernon spoke up to his cohorts.

“I, uh, well I have an idea. It’s a solution so simple I don’t know why we didn’t think of it earlier.”

Everyone in the room raised a ruckus at the very sound of Jerry Vernon’s voice. He’d never done more than provide the party with a warm ­body in the House. His simpleminded antics were well documented and even the party’s chairman wouldn’t go on the record to endorse him as anything more than, “A well ­meaning fellow.” Yet, here in crunch time, no one could resist the temptation to at least hear Jerry out. What the hell could it hurt?

“Well, after all this ruckus over a few stray hairs here and there, I’d say it’s pretty clear that the pube issue is a pretty important one to the American people.”

He paused for a second to make sure that people were still listening.

They were.

“So, uh, I… I just don’t see why we don’t get someone with a good lookin’ shrub.”

A silence loomed over the convention. Jerry stood uneasily waiting for some sort of response, but there was hardly a sound. Everyone in the room was intrigued, if not captivated. Could this seemingly brainless idea work? Was pube ­appeal really that important to America? Was there any other option?

A man in the back of the room stood up and started to clap, slowly and quietly at first. Then a little faster; a little louder. Jerry saw him, but couldn’t make out who he was, or what his exact motives for applauding were. Jerry continued to stand uneasily, his political future, for what it was worth, seemed to be hanging in the balance. The applause grew, and grew, and got louder,and louder, until Jerry stood at the front of a fervor.

Jerry just smirked a little at first, blushing. As the applause reached its pinnacle, Jerry made a conscious decision to enjoy this, his first moment in the party’s spot­light.

“YOU LIKE ME!!! YOU REALLY LIKE ME!!!” He yelled.

They did only somewhat, really, but they figured, “What the heck?” He’d provided an answer.

Throughout the night, the men of Jerry’s convention voted on Jerry’s idea. It passed. The “Pretty-­Pubes Platform” approach to nominating a presidential candidate, as it was dubbed that evening, was voted into party policy.

This approach was a good one in theory, but there was an element of this plan they’d somehow overlooked. Who there had pretty pubes? What does America want in a Presidential pubic area? These concerns were voiced to the party chair. He didn’t know either, that or he didn’t want to say. Either way, every man in the room was silently coming to one conclusion.

“I guess, well, I guess we’ll just have to single out those with the best looking bushes.”

Again, it was a simple solution. So that’s what they did.

The members of the convention first asked if there were any present with, what they considered, a visually pleasing region. The hands came up slowly at first. It was awkward at first, but hey, this is the presidency. Why shouldn’t they expose themselves for a chance to become the most powerful man in the world?

The field started large but shrank quickly, for apparently there weren’t too many members of the party who paid special attention to such things. The parade of possible candidates passed across the stage, in front of all of their colleagues, dropped their pants, and waited to hear if they had a shot at the nomination. So it went, old Congressmen examining other old Congress men’s nether ­regions in all their glory into the early hours of the morning.

Finally, a decision was made. It was Jerry Vernon. His pubes were regarded by his colleagues as nothing short of immaculate: well-­shaped, clean­-cut, All­-American. With a little grooming, the party thought, they could turn this good ­looking bush into the face of a nation.

They did. Jerry Vernon was President for four years, and his pubes served him well while in office. He had changed the nation, not to mention the free­ world. It wasn’t long before everyone who held free ­elections began to follow in America’s footsteps. The Second Dark Age as it came to be known, was over. The Enlightenment had come by way of the legendary Jerry Vernon.

American politics would never be the same.

Epilogue

The election of 2024 was fast approaching. The two party system was still intact, yet the parties had changed with the times as they’ve often done throughout history. The election’s front ­runner was J.R. Fuzz of People for Unsightly Bush Elimination, or P.U.B.E. for short.

He’d been a political superstar since he unveiled his immaculately smooth pubic region. It glistened in the lights of the conventions and all of America was sure that he was going to become America’s next president.

His closest competitor was Nina Von Deutcsh. She wasn’t really European as her name would suggest, but she had the world’s greatest landing strip. Anyone who saw it was literally entranced. Some say she insured her strip for 10 million dollars. Others said it was more like 100 million. Either way, Nina, like J.R. had become a phenom after her and her pubes were spotted at the Las Vegas strip­club where she was working.

Nina represented A.S.S. or Americans Standing for Shrubs. Coming into the conventions, there was little doubt about what the future held for American politics. J.R. Fuzz seemed to have a stranglehold on the nomination and the Presidency. But then he had a mishap.

Upon revealing his bald and beautiful pubic region, J.R.’s pants accidentally slipped all the way down around his ankles. Hurriedly he covered his crotch, or the little amount of his crotch that America hadn’t seen. He quickly turned around and bent to grab his trousers when the crowd behind him let out a collective groan of disgust.

J.R. Fuzz’s asshole, a brown­eye in all it’s glory, was staring the American public in the face. Someone in the crowd turned to the person sitting next to them and said, “You know? It kind of looks like a dirty balloon ­knot.”

kids today

you’re the antichrist.

no you are.

huh-uh.

are too.

you’re worse.

am not.

sure are.

no you’re the worst.

you hate freedom!

no, you hate freedom! i love freedom!

not as much as me.

do too!

freedom told me it likes me more than you.

you’re lying.

am not.

since when?

since always.

i don’t believe you.

you wouldn’t cause you’re a terrorist.

i am not!

are too. isis is your best friend!

i hate isis!

sure.

i hate isis more than you or anybody.

not as much as me.

i hate isis even more than you.

your mom is isis.

she is not.

is too.

don’t talk about my mom.

your mom is so isis that-

shut up.

she wanted to name you allah-akbar.

i hate you!

your mom is so isis that she-

i’ll kill you!

not if i kill you first.

no i’ll kill you first.

no i’ll kill you.

no i’m going to kill you.

i’m gonna kill you and have freedom all to myself.

i’m gonna kill you and then freedom and i are going to kill your mom.

my mom is not isis!

but you are.

i am not!

isis, isis, isis!

i know you are but what am i?

a terrorist.

i know you are but what am i?

 

 

#123/3-1-2015

freedom of assembly

protestors
holding signs
sing a song
together.

policemen
holding shields,
mace, clubs,
guns with
rubber bullets,
tighten the
perimeter.

protestors
sing louder.

policemen
squeeze tighter.

the ring
of armored men
collapses into
the nucleus of
drifters.

the song
ends suffocated.

a protestor
shoves
an officer.

his head
is split
by a club.

and the
official
story
begins.

#106/2-6-2015

my basketball game

the audience of
geese honk loud
when i sink one.
some of their
booby trap turds
end up smushed on
the ball when
i miss.
that’s defense.
western mountains
are the edge of
the arena and the sky
is like a dome.
i dribble past
invisible double teams
and spin like
chris paul before
dropping a tony
parker tear-drop.
i take it out into
three-point-land
and put up
my best larry
legend j.

‘that weird looking white guy
is out there again.’

‘do you think he realizes
how bad he sucks?’

marv albert says,
‘YES!’ in my brain.