A RIVER OF STARS
Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State.
—Donald J. Trump
I visited, once, the Deep State,
with its marshy hills and dark swamps.
Nobody met me there—alone,
I guided myself along its abandoned roads,
the tree stumps contorted into the torsos
of long dead heroes, a sinkhole
every couple of miles or so kept me
on my toes. I spoke to a local who was
all eyes, no mouth or ears. He stared
at me in amazement, then sadness.
I found a church in the distance,
then the distance became the church.
There were bottle caps on the side
of the road, which I mistook for bottle caps.
Little circular molds to fit lies into.
A woman sat in a rocking chair; she
signaled that the train approached,
soundless. I moved away just in time,
and she beckoned me to her side.
“You don’t want what you want,” she said.
I didn’t understand because I’m not
from the Deep State. She dropped her
chin, murmuring, “You should’ve come
yesterday.” Everywhere there were men
hanging from trees by their neckties.
Naked women danced in red-lit rooms
of abandoned hotels; I approached one,
but she grew smaller with each step
I took toward her. I opened the door
and there was nothing in the room
except a warm red glow. Across
the street I could see men walking
into other rooms, then embraced by
other women who wouldn’t shrink.
Above, time flowed on, a river of stars.
And in the bars, the cups were empty
of drink, though the patrons imbibed
to excess, stumbling over themselves,
three or four spiraling like tumbleweeds.
Across the vast, though arid, fields,
grungy farm workers planted tiny Bibles
like seeds in fruitless dirt. One smiled at me,
dumbly, as he bent up from his work.
—from Rattle #62, Winter 2018
Alejandro Escudé: “I think ‘Deep State’ is simply a euphemism for animal-like greed. To me, that’s not in any way intelligence or cunning, traits that seem to be implied by the connotation of the term. Would you call a pack of ravenous wolves the ‘Deep State?’” (web)
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