“New Guide to the Quasi-Political” by Cade Leebron

Cade Leebron


The Coca-Cola truck on fire was
not quite a symbol of our now-dying
capitalist system. And the buzz
on the street is it’s not worth trying
to find a hose. The guy got out a long
time ago, and the sugar might burn for
the next sixty years. So go grab the bong
and a picnic blanket, lock the back door
on your way out. I plan on sitting here
until it’s over. You don’t have to stay
for the whole thing. I just want you near
-by. I’m gonna toast marshmallows and lay
back, watch some stars. I’m gonna get a Coke
burn. The soda on fire’s the whole joke.

from Rattle #57, Fall 2017
Tribute to Rust Belt Poets


Cade Leebron: “I grew up in south central Pennsylvania, which is in the Rust Belt, and is also part of the region occasionally referred to as Pennsyltucky. Specifically, I grew up in Gettysburg, which is both a tourist town and a college town. These two ‘industries’ helped to keep Gettysburg a bit more afloat than the surrounding area, though the town still has a lot of issues with poverty (and a floundering public school system, and racism, and anti-Semitism, and misogyny, and a list that could continue on). Mostly when I tell people I grew up there, I say that there are more dead people than alive. I suppose this could be said of anywhere, though it tends to get a laugh in the context of Gettysburg ghost tours. Growing up, Gettysburg often felt like a trap (and sometimes it was a trap that I didn’t want to escape) and I think that both this sense of confinement and being surrounded constantly by death have influenced my poetry. Often when I build a poem, I’m replicating that feeling, I’m building a trap. And the speaker is stuck in there and has to somehow figure it out. Growing up in the Rust Belt also gave me a sense of awareness when writing of never wanting to make fun of people stuck in poverty, or stuck in tiny towns, or stuck in circumstance. It’s not that these communities shouldn’t be critiqued, just that having grown up where I did, I don’t think it helps to make rural people the butt of all our post-election think-piece jokes.” (website)

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