A Spade, A Spade

I never got grounded for steal

-ing card decks from Duane

Reade. My parents just judged

like Judy. “Is it something we did?”

I couldn’t call it—or blame Fox News,

high fructose corn syrup, Ms. Whitehead

from P.S. 36, or the revolution.

(Yes, the mother fucking revolution.)

Dad says it’s less televised now, laps

-ing into static sheets and plexi

screens. Whatever. My parents can

be such virgins sometimes, and dam

-mit, I feel everything. I feel the way

clouds feel, untouched but moved

still like wind-blown doors or church

bells, and I want that feeling for the

bad people (the Pigs in Blue, the Star

-bucks Suits, and the men Christ

compels all the way to the fucking

bank). It was because of them, the bad

people, that I removed each spade from

my stolen decks. I penned oxymorons

onto their backs until ink crumbled

against each cardstock edge. I made

scripture: jumbo shrimp, old news, civil

war, happy slaves, united states. What

would these words make for? Deaf

-ening silence, or dull roar? I couldn’t

call it, but still slipped each undealt truth

into the pants and purses of the bad

people, hitting them where it counts,

Yep, their pockets. Just then I thought,

this is occupation. This is me sitting

in the backs of their throats, resting

on tongues that jump and curl

beneath my heat and wait for acid

rain. This is me getting down on their

knees, like bad religion swallowed

whole, filling them up and leaving them

hungry. Yes I’m angry, but most of all,

I’m just a kid. I don’t give a shit if these

walls could talk. I prefer how the side

-walks sing. After all, they too were

born on their backs, eyes bent for

sun, shrugging beneath your


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