What Rough Beast | Poem for March 15, 2017

Journey McAndrews
Ever worry when

We hang the petty thieves
and appoint the great ones to public office.

walking alone down a dark street/jacked up for wallet/cellphone/sneaks/by a sex-hungry consumer/obscured in shadows/getting a taste of it all

having is all there is in a world they packaged/we bought

rollbacks and mega sales/black Friday specials/wants and wishlists/.com mania/consumes consumers/even though we know/big screen fairy tales aren’t true/electronic static comes at a cost/replacements plentiful/like primetime stars/pilots become sitcoms/cookie-cutter homes/like gee-golly gosh-darn good white Christian missionary position moms and dads and their biological only/no adoptees or Franken-test tube petri-dish kids/allowed

disavowed/excluded/polluted/throw-away/giveaway/free to the first caller/t-shirt/ball-cap/swag bag society

landfills full of crap we the people bought/can’t be buried/the sea inherits it one broken G.I. Joe and strung-out Barbie/toothbrush/hypodermic needle at a time

there aren’t enough hours to check off/check out/jack off/jack out/emails/ texts/newsfeeds/to do-lists/sidetracked at every turn/slip-jacked by tweenage Kellyanne/fabricated a massacre/Sean screams at the masses/to be see-seen-scene/dad has a case of the Twitters/to twist-bend truths/mom locked away in the gilded Tower/wearing the latest fast facts fashion/news-noose/today’s this just in/tomorrow’s cloak and chokehold/Goodwill cast of/like a good neighbor/state and Big Pharma is there

money is fleeced off the sick/needy/Epi-penned into the poor-house/the best nation in the world/In Living Color/is “a donation” of we the people/our blood/semen/piss/talent/money/truth/time

exorbitant donations to super PACs/wasting time isn’t all there is/forty-to-fifty years of life/grinded on corporate gristmills/enslaved by financial tycoons/they get the dollars we keep the cents/make sense of it all/go on just try

alternative reality/a nightmare sold as the American Dream/topsy-turvy/round the traditional marry-Mary-merry-go-round/contorted into an Amerikan scream/while fish/sunsets/sand/mountains/snow/redwoods live without 9-to-5 schedules/what a way to fake a living/that morphed into 24/7 work-a-day/workaholic lives for blue/white/pink collar/we the people who keep the country running/well/oil/machines

seven days a week not enough anymore/nothing is enough even with BOGO’s/All-you-can-eat/2 for 1/Buy 2 Get 1/rebates/% off/nickel-and-dimed/morning-noon-night/all the days of our lives

going off grid/off trail/off track/something we the people dream about while chained to our desks/on the go/on the ball/on the clock/on the mark/on the hook

they manipulate line and sinker/swallowed/every time another breaking/our hearts/news “story” [cums] spurting into our living rooms/terror in the palm of hands/held device/detonating every second/frightening/keep the masses afraid/react in fear/with fear/don’t ask don’t tell/caught between repeal/repent/rescind

equality is given a hand job by politicians/cum-coming to a con-sensus/ eliminates queer/black/women/Hispanic/trans/children/they are only concerned with unborn children/they always say consider the children/the eight-year-old girl who might be in a stall next to a trans-woman/never mind that the girl and trans-woman just need to/piss and get off the pot

where a gal or guy takes a piss in the good ol’ U.S. of anti-gay/moral majority cause for concern but not when a white frat boy rapes a girl behind a dumpster/pissing on her future/in this lurid PTSD/make-Amerika-rape/hate again nation

we the people conditioned to ask not what our country can do for us but what we are willing to suck-suck/chug-chug/swallow from our country

news doesn’t broadcast real stories/loop-recycle/deluge of shit/strain/ constipated by lies/in a civil lies nation/built by immigrants they want to boot/axe/let’s talk about real fear/terrorism/actual issues melting/floating away/like polar ice caps/we the people/distracted/detracted

they want us to obsess over trannies in bathrooms/email scandals/take the key and lock her up/lock her up/what we the people talk about over our take-out family-size bucket dinners/buy the bucket then kick it/that’s the Amerikan way/while the government is dismantled/hostile takeover of truth-liberty-freedom-justice

they chide when questioned or challenged/manufacture dissonance/plant seeds of suspicion/grow scandals/pull hoods down over our heads/so we the people won’t see the real executioner’s face


Journey McAndrews‘s poems and essays have appeared in The Feminist Wire, Kudzu Literary Magazine, Motif, LILOPOH, New Verse News, Inscape, and the HIV Here & Now Project, among others. She received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction with a minor in Poetry from Spalding University. McAndrews received an Individual Artist Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and an AWP Writer-to-Writer Mentorship. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her two rescued cats—Catticus Finch and Boo Catley.

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