it: a user’s guide

Evie Shockley

 
i hear it jingling in the pockets of the innocent heirs of fundamentally well-meaning transatlantic traders and new world farmers. i see a wad of it stuffed in the jeans of the celebrities whose tracks, films, and reality shows are beloved by fans all across the nation and wherever american culture is exported. i feel it varnishing the walls of my classrooms and my home like a thick coat of paint. they paved the street with it last week. it is transporting, transcendent, the fastest way up and out. many brands of condoms use it as a lubricant, for her pleasure. it works to slide things through congress, too. i heard the military discovered it makes a great explosive, as demonstrated twice in japan for all the world to see. keep an eye on your drink at the club—they’ll slip some of it into your glass when you’re not looking, when your attention is focused on that scantily-clad ass and your head is pounding with the rhythm of the bass. better to get a prescription for it, take it in the recommended doses—and even then there may be side effects, including nausea, dry mouth, depression, anxiety, shortness of breath, insomnia, tremors, and memory loss. it’s an effective decongestant, opening clogged passages into colleges and universities, offices (corporate and political), and professional sports. you can light a fire with it, say, at your neighborhood barbeque, where even the vigilant (the e is silent) may burn the meat to a crisp. vigilance is the best way to demonstrate your innocence, inherited or acquired by other means, by any means necessary.
 
Copyright © 2013 by Evie Shockley. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on July 29, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Poems by This Author

canvas and mirror by Evie Shockley
self-portrait with cats, with purple, with stacks
effect shrewd preferences by Evie Shockley
the screed seen here blesses
Improper(ty) Behavior by Evie Shockley
playing with fire by Evie Shockley
something is always burning, passion
The Fare-well Letters [excerpt] by Evie Shockley
black fast. greasy lightning


Further Reading

Politics and Patriotism
Howl, Parts I & II
by Allen Ginsberg
America
by Claude McKay
America
by Robert Creeley
America
by James Monroe Whitfield
American History
by Michael S. Harper
American Names
by Stephen Vincent Benét
Bomb Crater Sky
by Lam Thi My Da
Dear George Bush
by Kristin Prevallet
December 2, 2002
by Juliana Spahr
Delicate Cluster
by Walt Whitman
Dolphinating
by Juan Felipe Herrera
Election Day, November, 1884
by Walt Whitman
Election Year
by Donald Revell
Exquisite Candidate
by Denise Duhamel
Exquisite Politics
by Denise Duhamel
Fellini in Purgatory
by Jean Valentine
Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind
by Carl Sandburg
How We Did It
by Muriel Rukeyser
I, Too, Sing America
by Langston Hughes
In a Country
by Larry Levis
Let America Be America Again
by Langston Hughes
Modern Declaration
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds
by Eleanor Lerman
Patriotics
by David Baker
Praise Song for the Day
by Elizabeth Alexander
Thanksgiving Letter from Harry
by Carl Dennis
The Condoleezza Suite [Excerpt]
by Nikky Finney
The Throats of Guantánamo
by Katie Ford
Thoughts
by Walt Whitman
To Roosevelt
by Rubén Darío