Volume Five, Issue 4


Valentine Pierce

Another morning of disbelief; fabric floods sewing rooms, nooks, crannies, kitchen tables. Consumes space like children confined indoors during a hurricane. Old injuries awaken from standing, cutting, pressing 7x9 rectangles; pleated, sewn, elastic rare as Black Hills gold. Armies of sewists are this century’s Rosies, trying to mask the masses as best they can with what they have — old-school skills, stockpiled sewing supplies, cloth, and heart.

Once ubiquitous, toilet paper, white vinegar, and sanitizer are now the hot, hoarded, unavailable essentials; the underpaid and underprivileged are also now essential — except where their lives and families are concerned. Here is the truth of that: they are essentially the sacrificial lambs being brought to slaughter. These days haircuts, fitness centers, beauty shops and beaches are more essential than health and well-being though state capitols are closed to public tours and the government is primarily working remotely due to health concerns — ain’t that some irony.

Terrorists armed with weapons of war storm state capitols; we know this is privilege because some of us would be the weaponless dead before exiting our cars if we stormed, protested, kneeled or even jogged in our own neighborhoods. Nuns are arrested for protesting children in border cages while terrorists are egged on with “liberation” lies.

This is the new america, more terrifying than the old america — as if that wasn’t terrifying enough. Now the bully pulpit is also the playpen of a 73-year-old toddler who incites riots, insurrection, violence, hatred, bigotry, racism, misogyny, homophobia — you name it, every horrible thing that can be said against a human he’s said, in the name of “freedom” and “freedom of speech.” But don’t you dare speech your truth under that same guise you nasty woman.

He wants his toys, those expensive buildings and golf courses, filled again with greenbacks garnered on the backs of workers he treats like cockroaches. Without his rallies and golf games, his anxiety reaches epic proportions, much like this pandemic due to his maladroit handling. He is pacing the white house halls as he goes for his 7th bankruptcy: The United States of America.

Billionaires, millionaires want their low-paid workers back to work so badly they deny them unemployment, send them ill-prepared and unprotected into a pandemic, don’t even flinch when they drop dead because they can’t even get tested without waging a war. Wisconsin was so eager to regain its stronghold it set up to murder its constituents with malice aforethought: Voting sites, reduced from 180 to 5, forced people to choose their lives or their vote. This time at least, the votes were a loud, clear statement: You vote remotely to force us to risk life and limb in the frigid cold and a raging pandemic? Well, then, don’t let the door knob hit you where the good Lord split you.

Kentucky took away 3,500 voting sites, left 200 for their 600,000 plus constituents. They did give them an extra 30 minutes. I would have, too, if hundreds of people showed up banging on the glass walled-building because their lives depended on it. It would not have taken long to bust through the glass and burn that hole down.

A normal, sane society would have checked this “ish” at the door. Instead, because we live in a country led by someone with an abysmal lack of intellect, we slide from Mardi Gras to May in a mad scramble. Hospitals are forced to outbid each other for supplies, covertly ship and transport life-saving equipment to avoid being hijacked by our own government. Governors forced to form alliances that allow them to reduce bidding wars for the very things “their” aka the federal government’s national stockpile is purported to provide. Our “perfect union” is becoming the un-United intentionally divided States and the white house a relic of times so evil its very im-age evokes horror.

Despite his ineptitude, his wanton disregard for humanity, his petty petulance and his obsessive compulsion to dismantle every decent thing in this country, his lackeys coddle this snake oil salesman, this xenophobic tool; they refuse to keep this conman, this notorious liar, this vulgar, repulsive representation of a human from spewing his incoherent, inconsistent and blatantly senseless messages to the world. We choke with anger as a lunatic lays claim to routine flying exercises and proclaim them “thanks you’s” to the doctors and nurses dying for want of equipment and leadership. At least he’ll have enough body bags as he pushes the death toll from 0 to 100,000 in a matter of a few short months.

Claimed he made Juneteenth famous. Before his plan to hold his kkk-esque rally on June 19, no one had ever heard of or celebrated this Freedom Day. But now, it’s famous. Ask him.

His signature on a one-time check, as jagged as a chainsaw, cuts us right to the bone; we have no meat left. Sycophants, cronies grow fat insider trading on a disaster that is swallowing families whole. It is corruption supreme, served hot and heavy on the backs of people they are beating into early graves.

The mass delusion of his minions endangers us all as 45 offer potions of disinfectant, bleach, UV light — is this a Jim Jones redux? Is it an Octavia Butler/Isaac Asimov collaborative novel? A Stephen King made-for-television-not-so-mini series that takes us “One Step Beyond” to the “Twilight Zone” where we are thrown elders first, then homeless, poor, non-white into the “Outer Limits” of an “Alfred Hitchcock” episode of “Tales from the Crypt”?

Look you covidiot, we are tired to death, literally, of your trifling qualms and glass ego. We are in fear for our lives (yeah, I’m co-opting the co-sign of your murderous pack) and you are the assault weapon firing into our chests.

We know you went to Jared (is he a clone?) but that diamond-encrusted magic wand he sold you is definitely broken. Though you wave it around like a star-and-stripes soap bubble blower, the virus (or is it the kung flu, or a bug, or the China virus or you-don’t-know-what-to-call-it) is spreading like a VIRUS; the death toll continues to rise; the rest of the world shuts its border to us, wants to know if every single damn one of us 328 million americans is so caught up in your spell that we have collectively lost our ever-loving minds and are now injecting Lysol into our blood streams, shoving UV lights up our behinds, drinking bleach and popping hydroxichloroquine like tic tacs while we sit in the sun waiting for the heat and humidity to uncrown both this death queen and the unclothed, unhinged “king” of things so insanely idiotic it is hard to fathom anyone actually being this stupid; truth is, every day proves 45 is more stupid than the day before — something we hardly thought possible but now know better because he is a bottomless void. We count the minutes between lies; tell our friends the fool speaks again, never say his name and hide our face with shame from the rest of the world.

Valentine Pierce: “I am a spoken word artist, writer, editor, graphic designer. I also dabble in photograph and crafts. I am a former journalist and photojournalist but these days my focus is editing and book design and layout. I have two published books: Geometry of the Heart (Portal Press 2007) and Up Decatur (New Laurel Review Press 2017). I have been published in several anthologies, including I am New Orleans, Nasty Women Poets, Cape Cod Review, Mending for Memory, New Laurel Review, Mapleleaf Rag, and Bayou Magazine.”

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