30 December 2013


...imagine all the people...
-John Lennon

drawn entirely in negativity
wired like a waterlogged cell
minimalism as soul crushing device
form and function blended into a
fluid plastic weapon
like the base unit human
cost-heavy inhabitant
the energy unit
tattooed and mutilated
the gun of a rich man
unbalanced human tragedy
some would say to hide him
inconspicuous ward of an
unnamed privately run unit
rather than Walmart poor farm
$5 belts for your convenience
dressing pods less
discreet than you'd imagine
today is a jazz jam gone wrong
too drunk too high too gone to care
the day so young and cold
you'd think it was less than
25 yrs old
so bright and unfocused
scattershot geniuses
drawn into negative trips
a man who had the strength
lived it out in the public world
shot down in the streets
too big to be swept up easily
instead made martyr in the
questionable clouds of American rock
the mess we all made together
a decade and a half smeared in the
whitewash of gov't dismantling
they thought they got us
snuffing out the stars
in a generational sky
they made a newer
stronger monster
we mourn sure
but we're just too young
we the moving
won't be contained
can't be stopped
by anything but death
or his ugly younger sister, age
my whole world is coated
in the iridescent sheen of
other people's lies
wondering about the future
could be a pessimistic fantasy
first class pass to isolated mediocrity
but don't you let them
don't you dare let them


SB Stokes, a fourth generation Californian, holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and is one of the founders of Beast Crawl, Uptown Oakland's annual literary festival. He has produced the blog MASS COMMUNICATIONS since 2004 and currently lives and loves in Oakland, California. His first book of poetry, A History of Broken Love Things, will be out in early 2014 from Punk Hostage Press.


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