Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"McCartney at Starbucks"

by K.I.N.G. Wenclas

(Rough draft.)

McCartney at Starbucks
Harry Potter at Borders
Home Depot and Wal-Mart, Shrek at McDonald's
Monopoly junk culture
everywhere surrounds us
Incredible fantasies of plutocratic garbage,
riotous gargoyles of hypocritical nonsense
Green-zone gardens of orange plastic petunias
policed by soldiers on bikes,
concrete suburban bunkers guarded by halogen lights
(latest movies inside)
Mobs worshipping hyper-surreal billboards
of airbrushed celebrity faces,
empty gods;
Traffic jam flows into 21st century stadiums,
boozhie monsters with electronic lifestyles
desperate disturbing human-size puppets pretending
to be people
to be hip
to be writers
with unthinking unblinking obedient eyes
as the force of paranoia strengthens. . . .

Boy, haven't you learned yet about monopoly?
about Murdoch
about how to survive
in the fast running machine
of wheels and pulleys
looking like treadmills
those could be hamsters
but they're people
Haven't you learned yet how to get along with your betters,
haven't you learned how to play the game,
haven't you learned that you'd better behave like
everyone else,
haven't you learned to take the paper-pushing
lap-top clicking
bureaucratically self-important
manufactured-by-intellectual assembly line
drones as your model?
Haven't you learned that the apostles of sameness
the credentialed
mouthpieces of Officialdom
have the answers
your job is to listen
put your mind into a box
not to seek;
Haven't you learned that to live outside the system
is to be branded an outcast
you can't fight the sheep
you'll be crushed by steamrollers
infiltrated by moles
stabbed in the back
hung in the town square
in effigy
like a dummy
and for real
for the people to see
used as example
how not to conduct your life
your words blackballed
reputation slurred, smudged, and deleted
a walking nonperson;
haven't you learned this is the fate of the free-living person?
Haven't you learned anything?
Can't you see that Lennon is dead
but McCartney survives
as monopoly-produced icon
strumming across your TV screen
like a cartoon replica
a 3-d computer-generated simulation
He once was a Beatle
spur to revolution
500 years ago
even then it was a dream
subject of boring documentaries
now you find him
on the shelf at the local Starbucks
two dozen right down the street
every one exactly the same
the sunlight's daytime heat
boils bubbles of wetness
on an urban blacktop
accompanied by a celebrating band
twangy guitars, happy voices
'cause the rebel is dead
they got one
shot him down at the entrance to a building
surrounded by police
while the hyper-regulated assholes of Officialdom
click away on computer screens. . . .

and the colorful band on the sidewalk
plays predictably
night and day
as homage to the yuppies
marching like penguins
backed by the glories of
investments in their careers
monitoring stock prices
served by their nannies
their gardeners their housekeepers their drivers
their brown-skinned less-than-minimum wage slaves
without papers

A dozen mad yellow tractors at
gentrified housing projects
running over protesting human beings
toy dolls crushed
as easily as Rachel Cory
it's about the money
the contracts
the greed
Baghdad is here in our cities--

Twenty cop triggers
two hundred gunshots
eighty-five bullets
through the body of the city's latest casualty
(the rest of them missed)
he was psychiatrically insane anyway
certifiably psychotically
you have to be to challenge a badge-wearing cop
stray bullets smashing bricks
bubbles of blood
welling on the summertime
black asphalted concrete of the street
flowing in rivulets,
and the red, white, and blue
band on the sidewalk
playing for pennies
hat on the ground
raise a chorus of "yeas"
they saw it in a movie
while the marching penguins thrill
to the soundtrack of their lives;

It's lonely at Starbucks
closing time at the big box malls
employees released from their schedules
their perky personas
serving lattes
lights turning off going out
McCartney on the stand
packaged in unbreakable sealed plastic
miles from Liverpool
untouched next to Albom
(in truth the music is horrible)
he's long since been homogenized
orange-red gunshots cascading across
carnival streets as
the civilization of greed cracks in half
but the glass door to the chain store is locked
security code set
no one robs a Starbucks
or a Wal-Mart
except the insane
no one robs a church
Capitalist temples
Harry Potter on sale
40% off
The unseen sky
grows late
time to get to sleep
if you can push the buzz
of this mad commercially-produced mini-series of reality
out of your head
in time for the alarm clock
to march you off again
to your robotic role
of conditioned reliability
in the morning.