Anthem (Getting Back From the Bottom of the Issue)

we have a tendency to submit
re-enactments of unpleasant interactions
for the jurisdiction of the people
who love us
want to see us happy

( segments where we exercised
an honorable temperament
level headed and articulate

while the other person
, god help them ,
was some sort of mentally
handicapped bigot
rattling off non-sequitors
humming the condescending drawl
of a universally perverted
power plant , (
with the yelping metallic
broken hearts
of sweat shop saints)
blurry in the toxic flames
of our antithesis ventriloquy )

when I was a kid I listened
to these captivating diatribes
on good versus evil

I reviewed the circumstances
as they were presented

and always proclaimed
with righteous zest
that my friend had been
empirically victimized
by our mutual nightmare:
some living antagonist

I’d slam my fist
against the kitchen table
like a man who’d gotten
every job he ever applied for
scorning thoughtfully
the evil that blackens
the sidewalks of society

my friend would then grab my wrist
weak with some internal struggle
“ sooooo… ” desperate faced
“ tell me. honestly… am I
here? ”

and I’d roar back
like denzel washington:

“NO! you did absolutely nothing wrong!”

meaning it

there was a time in my life
where I thought it possible
to concisely speak the truth

it was tricky to discover
things weren’t happening
the way they were told to me

for a while I took this to mean
that I needed to make new friends
it never occurred to me
that I was lying along with them

but we are all liars
the bodies themselves are lies
the births and the deaths are lies
language is forever making liars
of us all

I feel better these days

but still sometimes i wonder
how many times
and in how many kitchens
my name has been passed around
like a bottle of barbeque sauce
by people who can’t get
the taste of my existence
out of their mouths

in this country
when we aren’t quoting
our favorite movies
we are quoting the fiction
of our own experiences

doing unfair imitations
of the voices
that haunt the ideas
we cannot hash out entirely
yet allow to represent us