Let’s party. Like, I want to be a believer in the power
of dance, the point of the party. There are individuals
in every corner, bellies filled with animal something.
Is it desire-- I don’t want to crush it. I have playlists.
The pulse that reminds us of being held close to a chest
in safety. Feelings, nothing more, pushing their way
out. Who knows how to dance? I’m willing to shuck
this shell. You know me, and you know me well. Nations
of concern filling the floor, talking up their best points
in intense negotiation. Politics, pollution, individual
translations of all our venoms. Let’s talk it up, let’s get
some kind of dance going here. All I have is fantasy,
a good enough start. Outside, the neighbors hear the music
drained of treble by the walls. Tell me they’re not imagining
a dance, and I want to give them one. Let’s give them one.
You can dance close to me, you can dance on the other side
of the room. Forget what exists underneath this floor, what
graves have been covered over. As vocals are drowned out
by the drums, the party erupts unstoppable beyond the walls.
Holiday shopping – I don’t hate it, the bows
strung up along the windows of all the chain
stores, angels, nativity murals. What’s wrong
with a little brazen capitalism, the paper
suits of restraint thrown away for the season.
Who cares about the corporation, and all
the little evils it’s done, and who cares about
the company? When I was younger, a coworker
wanted me to watch <em>Gone With The Wind</em>
at her place. I had never seen it, I was not
interested in a Southern Narrative. Afterward
she showed me her Scarlett Room, done up
in collector’s plates, a canopy bed. Some
worship of the antebellum, I hated it, living
there, the movie almost as much. A Civil War,
the country is always divided. It is just
that Sherman burned Atlanta. Outside
ice formed on the cars in Kissimmee,
but nobody had scrapers. It was winter,
it was shortly before my brother went to Iraq.
On television when they announce the death
of the infamous terrorist in a special forces
raid, they make us relive all of the evil
he’s caused in clips edited together
with a dramatic orchestral score. Here
it is Texas, and Christmas colors the suburbs.
In Sugar Land there are shopping malls, but
that’s not wrong. All of the onramps have
the Imperial Sugar Company’s old crown
carved elegantly into them, but the factories
were turned into luxury hotels years ago,
they earned it. I don’t eat sugar, I shop only
in times of need or desire but what does
that mean. Ants spilling from the seams
of the hotel rooms, cars crowding into lots.
Glenn Shaheen is the author of the poetry collection Predatory (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), and the flash fiction collection Unchecked Savagery (Ricochet Editions, 2013). Energy Corridor, his second collection of poetry, will be published by the University Of Pittsburgh Press in 2016.
Photos by Christian Sorensen Hansen, West Coast based ocular illusionist. See more at http://christiansorensenhansen.com/.