The trick is not giving a shit
without getting bitter about it.
Chainsaws range like paper wasps scouting out a nesting spot,
cutting down the woods next door while I drink banana coffee
and fill out my property taxes. I hate the lumber company.
The kitchen plays hate radio. Rioting Egyptians finally
dislodge an old man from his throne. He wanted all the bananas.
Hope infiltrates hate, spreading via cell phones and the Internet,
linking protestors in Libya+Bahrain+Lebanon.
You’d think after thousands of years kings would know how to rule,
that there’d be a book of sayings passed down over generations:
Starve your populace, they’ll storm the palace.
I imagine mobs of villagers, torches and pitchforks
casting weird shadows on Baron Frankenstein’s castle.
Who will feed you if you kill the farmers?
Can you and your soldiers eat bullets?
A cartoon private with a carbine scratches his head
at a combine. I scratch my head doing taxes.
This is all above my pay grade since I’ll never be a king
or even junior congressman from Wisconsin.
People live in fear because they want to raise their children.
Love compromises us. It waters down our hate.
The radio repeats It’s for the children!
Teachers clog the capitol at Madison, protesting for union.
Schools are closed because the teachers called in sick.
Senators have fled the state so they won’t have to vote.
Radio callers are pissed because teachers make more
bananas, their salaries paid with property taxes.
I don’t call in. I don’t call in sick, although I have a head cold.
I work part-time as a janitor at an elementary school,
getting by on 20K a year so I have time to write.
My poems are read in college writing classes.
I write a poem where Congress finds a way to tax the dead,
balancing the budget and unleashing Judgment Day.
Zombies have nothing to lose so they rise in revolt.
I wish I had nothing to lose. As a boy I’d wake up early,
sitting on the floor in my pajamas watching Farm Report
while waiting for Popeye or Rocky and Bullwinkle.
I miss that clean break with reality, part of me
still waiting for cartoons but only getting monkeys
on the news squabbling over power and bananas.
Woody Woodpecker wavers in front of me.
A black & white ghost of himself,he accompanies
me to the mailbox, property taxes in hand,
chainsaws murdering my woody neighbors.
I think I’ll have a banana for breakfast.
Walking back, the coffee begins to kick in.
Listening to all that hate, I take a singing shit.
—Mike Kriesel, Aniwa, WI