A hot wind curls the leaves
and chases the dogs digging
deep into the dry soil.
I live in the gut of the bright failure
called America. I live in
this hell named Nebraska.
It's one hundred and seven today
and grasshoppers from outer
space are dancing in my brain.
The air-conditioner is broke
so I run a tub of cold water
and submerge every half hour.
There's a wet trail from the bath
to the couch and nearby fan.
The air is heavy with grain dust.
The "wheaties" are up from Oklahoma
with their caravan of combines.
I crave winter. I want a blizzard
that blinds me to my fellow man.
These are my dark times.
Every other day I grieve for the me
that was and every man or woman
I see fills me with contempt.
Nine out of ten Skins in town are
hang-around-the-fort welfare addicts.
Every weekend their violence
and drunken wretchedness
fills the county jail, but I'm
far beyond embarrassment because
the white people are even worse.
Varied branches of that inbred, toothless
mountain trash in "Deliverance,"
settled here and now own
the bank and most businesses.
It's undeniably true that these
white people in Cowturdville
could be hillbillies except for
the fact that these are The Plains.
Drive on, rednecks, to the edge
of your flat world and fall
down to a better hell.
Every single thing about this
town is sadly second-rate
and I haven't been laid
in more than two years
and there's this fat lady
with varicose veins who
calls me late at night
and begs me to come over
to her trailer for a drink.
Here, in this Panhandle town,
farm kids speed desperately up
and down the main drag wearing
baseball caps backwards and throwing
gang signs they've seen on the tube
and their parents, glad they're old
and tired, truly believe that
those pictures we're now getting
from Mars have meaning.
As far as I can tell, I'm one of the few
people in Cowturdville who's gone
to college and I often wish I
never had, but Christ on a pogo
stick . . . I think I'm starting to like
it here in this American heartland.
Thunderheads are forming
and the sweet-ass rain
of forgiveness is in the air.
~ Adrian C. Louis