In any century

In any century

It’s the half-truths that lead
To the full-on lies
Things glimpsed sideways–
Poorly lit
And interrupted endlessly
By video singing buy me
Wear me fuck me drink me–
Greed, fear, envy
The neighbours’ grass always greener
Their car always shinier
Their vacation photos online
Happier and better shot
Ignorance, anxiousness an avenue–
What we know not or choose not to
This is a lever
This is an opening.

Wheedling, whining
Ever ravenous
Ever pleading
Do you love me?
Do you hate them?
Come, hate with me–
The brown, the poor, the desperate, the hungry
At flight, on foot
They are slow, easy targets.

University professors
The lawyers
The learned
The conscientious
The thoughtful
The outspoken
The scientists
The spies who have seen too much
Judges who will not rule as we wish
Those who know too many languages
Those who worship the wrong gods
Or none at all
Anyone who pays five dollars for a coffee
The young, the gentle, the kindly
The musicians
Those who dance at inopportune times
The children of unwed mothers
The unwed mothers
And those who wished not to be mothers
The women we desire and who do not desire us in return
All those who do not dress as do we–

And, of course, as always
The blacks
The Jews
The Muslims
The gays
Come, hate with me.

Plastic, tawdry, strident–
What the demagogue sells, in any century
It is always also staleness–
Drink from it, there is always also an aftertaste
This decade: phthalates, bitterness, petty resentments
As though I have licked the screen
And tasted the dusty sweatshop
In which it was assembled.

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