I thank thee, third party voter,
for putting your ethics over your country.
I am here today because of you.
These last eight years, hope has eroded
like a casino on the Jersey Shore. America,
I will drown you in hope. I will make
your life matter again.
The reason why hope has eroded
these last eight years
was the underutilization of whiteness
as an empowerment tool. Hand in hand
with enough money, you can buy your way
into America’s hopes and dreams;
I’m living proof.
I revel in the bankruptcy of history
except when using the Confederate flag
as dog whistle. I revel in the extinction
of the spelling bee.
This is how we make America great again,
not with a bang, but with your hordes
of unvaccinated children.
Yelp Review – Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria
Myths are bloodthirsty. They turn truths into carcasses waiting to be picked clean, leave what’s left to bleach beneath the sun. This is a story best told in bullets, America’s (always) official language.
Yelp Review – Ft. Lauderdale Airport
You point your gun in the air, aim it in where you think God’s face would be. Each bullet fired alternates between thought or prayer. You find the bodies the bullets landed in, use them to build a wall between you and their version of heaven.
Yelp Review – Walmart Supercenter
This latest landmark in tragedy tourism begs visitors to leave no gun behind, as if the best intentions can barter for the right life with enough bullets.
Yelp Review – Artegon
The burial of good intentions began when a family watched their father christened the mall. No one knew whether a curse escaped his broken body, whether his spirit might coarse through the foundation and inhabit any of the booths bolted down to the floor. Everyone agreed to shake the bad omen off their shoulders, pretend nothing happened unless ordered by a court of law to do otherwise.
The burial of good intentions began when a new idea was grafted on to the last failed one. You do not replace living tissue and muscle by stitching it over something wounded and dying. You amputate and cauterize the stump or you tear it down and start over. A ghost mall remains a ghost mall, no matter how pretty you make the carcass, how many halos of food trucks you use to try and make it whole again.
Yelp Review – Dapper Duck Bar
They serve freedom here, your stomach a monster truck rally real Americans watch after celebrating justice. They trust the courtroom hidden inside a squad car to do what they wish they had the fists and will to do but never imagine what it would be like at the other end of the baton. Your life only matters here if you’ve got enough money, the right skin.
About the author:
J. BRADLEY is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer, the prose poem chapbook It Is A Wild Swing Of A Knife (Choose the Sword Press, 2015), the flash fiction chapbook No More Stories About The Moon (Lucky Bastard Press, 2016), the novel The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective (Pelekinesis, 2016) and the Yelp review prose poem collection Pick How You Will Revise A Memory (Robocup Press, 2016). His flash fiction chapbook, Neil, won Five Quarterly‘s 2015 e-chapbook contest for fiction. His story, “Kyle”, was selected for Wigleaf‘s top 50 (very) short fictions for 2016. He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words. He received his MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. His online home is jbradleywrites.com.