391,000

Julian Assange
sits across from a bleached
teeth Botox mannequin of a journalist.
391,000 leaked classified documents
and CNN can’t ignore their lies anymore.
But she asks him instead about
the irrelevancies of a whistle blower in the spotlight
like he’s running for congressman.
This canary turns tabloid super star.
Media spectacle extraordinaire.
And 391,000 leaked classified documents drift into digital obscurity.
As if there are not enough refugees for media integrity yet
As if there are not enough corpses to fill 60 minutes.
There is no space in between commercials for any more tears.
Dry your eyes, lean back and listen to a word from our state sponsors.

In another life
I sit across from Farrah—16.
Amputated arm and burn marks on the
right side of her body
from picking up an unexploded ordinance
when she was nine.
I wonder if that day I saw her on the news
I wonder if she was one of the dots
in the cameras embedded in B-52s.

I remember…
I remember tracers flashing on a night vision green screen.
I remember phrases like “Shock and Awe”
I remember my Dad crying in front of the tv
as I came to political consciousness.
She remembers…
She remembers waking up to Armageddon at 5:33
She remembers her neighborhood like bread crumbs.
She remembers her baby brother…
but not his name.

Some day this will all be a bad memory.

Someday, as I drive down the Turnpike
Maybe I won’t stop for the toll.
Maybe I will disregard the speed limits.
Maybe I’ll test my luck.
Maybe the toll booth will be an army checkpoint.
Maybe the camera will be an M16.
Maybe it will flash fire instead of light
pierce my Honda’s carapace
with 30 perfect circles, tear sheet
metal like paper-mâché
shatter my windshield into
391,000 glass tears
and turn my skull into powdered sugar.
Don’t cringe.
Death is vulgar.
And the American pacifist
is addicted to the same violence as Fox News.

Maybe then I can forget.

No longer will I hear the same
screaming voices fall on deaf
major network microphones.
I won’t see dissenting veterans
come home in one piece only to
have their bones broken by police horses.
I won’t be baptized in pepper spray.
I won’t breathe tear gas like freon
and get fucked up on futility.
I won’t deliver poetry like a death rattle.

The canary watches his CNN interview.
The journalist looks confused and repeats
“I have to ask that question”
as he apologizes, takes off his mic, and walks
out of the studio. I can
smell his sickness through the screen.
Like 391,000 leaked classified documents
aren’t enough to fill an interview.

Brian McCracken is a poet, activist, and youth ally living and resisting in Olympia, WA. He is a founding member of Old Growth Poetry Collective and lives in a house full of dyslexic poet revolutionaries.