"Vain Myth" Seattle, WA (2011)

"Vain Myth" Seattle, WA (2011)

If being afraid is a crime
We hang side by side.
— The Replacements

Check your privilege.
Last week’s check covers half the rent and no medicine.
The movies are in your language. Your family is a financial issue; in the moment we are dismantling other systemic injustices and money concerns are marginalizing those communities.

Safe spaces are an affront to free speech.
#boycotthamilton #santaiswhite
Libtard cucks and Starbucks cups, the War on Christmas on Drugs.

Did you see John Oliver last night? He absolutely crushed it. The clips his interns poured through were perfect, proved the theory seamless. Now the idiots will finally get it. Stewart/Colbert ’04.
Science Proves It: Fat-shaming works.
Donald Trump names Breitbart executive Steve Bannon chief strategist.
We invented fake news. No fair.

Muslims are dangerous and must be registered until we figure this out.
Cite hyperbolic-sounding true percentage more likely to be killed by white male mass shooter. What would Jesus do?
Protect the Second Amendment.

How do a hypocrite and a racist have a conversation?

We yell at each other to yell and listen maybe later.
It is comforting to believe in shit, natural to express. Me first.
Communal creatures prone to ego and company, the satisfaction of victory.

What happens when the game gets too serious, satire is irrelevant, politics as entertainment?

Entitled to an opinion, opinions are facts, facts are cheap, cheap is disposable but opinions are sentimental so we hoard them like a faith filter for the government allows those entitlements that divide. The stock market longs for social security, the media a close score.
Did you see what they did this time? Can you spare $3?

Words are living objects. Space has unforeseen consequences.

I have not yet figured how to measure intentions but operate under the assumption most humans are born decent and conditioned numb. Easily convinced, able to justify actions. Who is trying to make the world a worse place?

The oil is bringing prosperity, the socialists equality.
The soldiers are providing security, the hippies unity.
Bankers offer channels for wealth to trickle through,
teachers are education gives us something to do.
Stories input operating systems, trying to please our parents.

I am swinging around positions seeking to create a foundation.
Pardon the confusion, it is a byproduct of the paradox of my immense ignorance.
I stopped understanding most things when impermanence. Rather, impermanence adopted me. I want to get day drunk, binge watch. I am not.

Still, truth, or agreement, or synthesis, must be possible somewhere.

Have you ever been accused of cheating in a relationship?
Did you get accused so often you finally figured fuck it?
Is it what you always wanted save the shared barrier?
Is this what calling out bigotry has become?
Does a singular callout strategy not fit all contexts?
-ist&phobe, Is it shocking or convenient? A teaching moment or self-indulgent performance?
What is the seduction of sticking dicks red into hatred?
Relief of frustration? Economic or imagined?
Now the dialogue has been recentered.
Now those thoughts have been normalized.
Normalized is a buzzword. Newsfeedings.
Then they took the permission and presidency.
Now we focus more on their feelings.
When is enoughenough screamed? Shutup demanded.
Two more years? Four? Eight? Never? Sixteen?
Do we get divorced and move to the city?
Wait for grandpa to die?
Hope his inheritance survives the boomers and the millennials are right?
Rely on enlightenment withstanding anonymity? Comment board and voting booth
Why would the entrenched go quietly?
Milo Yiannopoulos and the Tea Party deep funded marketable messengers.
Simon & Schuster, Megyn Kelly, NBC invest in both sides and the package.
An idea whose time is not to come can be paid into motion.
It is easier to plant a seed than disassemble a building.
A Harvard sophomore reading Ron Paul may be worth farther than Naropa.
The labels free thinkers attach themselves to.
Libertarian, socialist, traditional value defender, social justice warrior
If the concept is longer than a sentence half the argument is already lost.
What about when a white police officer is killed?
Swift justice
Black and white are not interchangeable experiences.
The identities taken away, hung, the identities clung onto
The long record of relations
Who created what who heard who is forced to destroy?

I have mentally masturbated myself to the meta position.
Freshly stuck, it is occasion to make a statement.

I don’t know what is going to happen next.

I don’t recognize the landscapes of Facebook or reality or what is done there.
I can’t distinguish myself but as the composite parts of it.
I have confidence in the same friends as my pet algorithm.
Why won’t my body move?

The floor is cold
The dream is good

There is a logic gone missing that seems quite important.
When I say both, y’all say and!
either—or, either—damn no.

Absolutes make the world go down
With us or against us
Heaven or Hell
Love it or leave it
Douche or Turd Sandwich
Both sides have produced an expert with a citation and the argument did not end.

I have laid silent for an hour trying to get higher than this
A moment before the alarm clock I had it figured out
I would write it down
Then it went off, a design from God
Blocked by my own eye
I don’t want to make sense of the “alt-right”
I want to cry
I don’t want to snicker at another eviscerating meme
I want to sigh
I don’t want to fight but I am on a side

So I whine must I..
Must I listen to Donald Trump
Must I live under the Bible
Must I food rescue
Must I community
Must truth be possible somewhere?

Are good ideas so obvious?
We say health insurance and college, affordable housing, less war
They hit back
We whisper post-job economy, anarchy
They laugh louder
We go inside
Meditate, restore, return
Good or bad
Here we go again

Protest is heart extension in all directions. Heart survives itself by clapping.
There were leaders once, and a bullet, and assassination.
Left our chests and breath.
Hug independently.

We are closer to each other than we are to any government.

Maybe identity politics display symptoms of divide and conquer. Who started? I is I or them, I have had a mic. It is not my place to tell marginalized identities how to be seen or sell to accept a politic that would require an expansion of the very same government that originally assigned such identity and marginalized it. Solutions in silence and listening, solidarity and socialism. I support as many organizations as my schedule of selfish artist and paid accountant allow for. And even then I present a thought-experiment I hope at most materializes as a roughly drafted expression of frustration and confusion oscillating awkwardly between civil, rebel and a weak effort at binary negation. Where’s the lesson? More nuance in conversation? Call to knowledge? Less information, more wisdom? Smash the patriarchy? Resistance? Poetic ethics? Transcendence? Sure. And more and more and. I ask more for myself than anyone.

I have fallen into doubt and inspiration simultaneously. How could poetry let this happen? The power of language cracked control structures. Occupy proffered a word that made it efficient to communicate toward adults a position on the political spectrum suspicious of Obama and certainly not Republican. Forced to realize there are a lot of us, and we are busy. Four years later, Bernie almost broke the Clintons and neoliberalism is dying. Localized, paradise now in the mind indestructible.

Yet language possesses distance. Once projected, meaning and velocity are autonomously uncontrollable. Words rantodance through the machine and recompose according to the desires of the observer made real. Co-opted, coded, profiled, amplified. The results came out different. This doesn’t mean we don’t speak. A black poet tells Boulder’s Laughing Goat Café my experience is going to offend you and an older man who has digged to my band and written his own poems leaves before the set is finished, shouting white pride to announce his absence. The dialectic continues. It is finally falling on everywhere. History rising to the surface and collapsing, harder than afore. Contradictions exposed obvious, old culture contests change slow, the burden of compassion is an unfair one for the oppressed to carry when nobody says sorry. Still we ask for more. Make me an ally of your peace.

The poet is tasked with speaking truth to power while destabilizing both.
There is truth in destabilization, room.
In crisis, ideals.
What nostalgia and how violent?
What illusions and such sweetness?
What movement and humble?
In creation, force.

Poesis :: to make ::: America : make my suffering sensual again.


Rambler, troubadour, dissident tablet, unsuppressed badass, mugwump agitator, active verbiator, fine print peruser, incontinent spirit, heretical accountant, America addict, knowledge sharer, provider when asked of free literature, radical cowabunga royal ranto this then here Matt Clifford is a middle-aged carpenter teen wife candy poet eating journals off the bathroom floor publishing the result on a gold scroll. He is the author of The RantoDance of Anonymous from Necropolis and his Machine and Ballad of Todd Last Year, and the bassist of Black Market Translation.