August 3, 2016

Ron Koertge

DEAR CITIZEN,

That letter you received last Tuesday, the one with
the official seal, was not meant for you. We hope
you have not read it.

We know you like to put things off. Perhaps
the letter is lying on that yet-to-be-paid-for coffee table
with the coupons and bills?

We hope so! The letter was meant for another citizen
who resembles you in many ways, but who is not you.
Only you are you.

Destroy the letter now! You do not have to drive
to the Fortress. A note will do. No one will come to
your house with a Taser. No one will hurt Sasha,
who is a good dog. We trust you.

If you have read the letter, well, it disturbs us that you
know more than you should. A little knowledge really
is a dangerous thing. Any knowledge, really.

You have been a good citizen up until now, the tapes
show that. Do you know how to forget? Let’s try that
first. Before the other. Simply put the matter out of
your mind.

Continue leaving for work at 7:50 every morning and
walking Sasha in the evening after dinner and before
the curfew. Once you’re sure you have forgotten,
write and tell us.

We know how difficult it can be, remembering
to reassure us that you don’t remember. It’s a fine
line, isn’t it? But it can be done.

Others have, and most are living happy and productive lives.

from Rattle #52, Summer 2016
Tribute to Angelenos

[download audio]

__________

Ron Koertge: “I’ve lived in the L.A. area since 1965. Sure, I came for a job, but I’d been to L.A. briefly and it struck me as wonderfully indifferent to what I did, whom I slept with, what I wrote. For somebody from a little town, that seemed like paradise.” (website)