When Stories Died
When Gordon Gekko runs our health plans,
When student loan debt crushes Harry Potter,
When a cell phone videos Dirty Harry
When Twelve Angry Men aren’t so angry
if the defendant is black, I can no longer stomach
contrived drama in movies, books, or TV.
Lies! Bickering! Violence!
Nastiness is the heart of storytelling.
When HAL 9000 runs homeland security,
When Juliet slaps Romeo with a restraining order,
When Cruella De Vil wins
her defamation suit against the ASPCA,
When Boko Haram straps Pippi Longstocking
in a suicide vest, I have no energy
to turn a page or sit in a theater.
Enough of people and their problems!
Tell me a story about a rock,
an empty room,
a tree drunk on sunlight
Politicians promise to run America like a business
but no one says they’ll run it like a crack house,
Antarctic research center, or AA meeting.
Few express their admiration for gulags, vampire castles,
KKK rallies, or the HMS Titanic
though their policies hint at their agenda.
France has survived for centuries as a fashion show,
film festival, and five-star Michelin restaurant
so why can’t we manage American like a rock concert,
yoga retreat, or luxury cruise?
We could govern the country like a poetry reading.
You’d have five minutes to say your piece,
before shutting up and handing the next guy the mic.
Managing America like a massage parlor
would fix the budget deficit in nanoseconds
but if we operated like a soccer team,
our soldiers would have to trade jerseys with the Taliban
when that awful war finally ends.
Any politician who wants my vote will run America
like a mad scientist’s laboratory
Jon Wesick is a regional editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He’s published hundreds of poems and stories in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Metal Scratches, Pearl, Slipstream, Space and Time, Tales of the Talisman, and Zahir. Jon is the author of the poetry collection Words of Power, Dances of Freedom as well as several novels and most recently the short-story collection Arugula. http://jonwesick.com