Eat the Rich

“We are what we pretend to be; so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” – Mother Night – Kurt Vonnegut 

The afternoon sky was the color of brushed aluminum when a tangerine twilight turned it into charcoal dusk. As evening descended into night the gloaming dove-grey heavens had the macabre formality of a steel engraving. The dark night’s moonlit winds roared in from Canada and blew a banshee typhoon till dawn. The snow devil set down a foot of fluff while I drifted into tender oblivion; dreaming of sunny black sand beaches that would steam my friends and lovers and me like dumplings, when I woke the weather guy claimed wind chills of fifty below zero.

It was a tranquil almost idyllic morning lit by glints of sunlight sending flickers and flashes of reflections glancing up from the white lake; winds had made frozen caps of silvery filigree. I watched fissures among western cloud banks fade from smoky crimson to violet. Donning sub-zero amour for my daily espresso rendezvous at Alley Cats, my chrysalis encased morning feels calved from the atmosphere like an iceberg from a glacier. I sat with the lumberjack clutch this morning, summoned by greetings that were warm and true; attached to faces as pinched as hatchet blades. They look to have shaved with a blowtorch.

Like bullfighter’s; a lot of cape and then the sword, they start conversations in the middle; assured each knows where the other left off; as if coming from no past and having no future. Stress, anger and unspoken pain have taken a toll on each mans face. They work, plow ahead and overcome conflict; they are as tough as sandbags. To call them monotonous conversationalist, debating the virtues of Chevy’s over Ford’s, is to say the poet who penned the Ancient Mariner only needed a moment of your time.

One hundred and fifty odd years ago, just down the meadow from where we sip our black and tan Colombian gold; on these frozen mid-western plains, Sioux Indians met up with a merchant who after refusing them food said; “if they are hungry, let them eat grass.” Months later when hostilities erupted, one remembering Sioux buried a tomahawk in the burgomaster’s head and stuffed his mouth full of prairie grass. These are the descendants of those white pioneering Pyrrhic victors, and like their namesake proclaimed, after vanquishing the foe and losing his soul, “another such victory and we are lost”.

“There are people whose clocks stop at a certain point in their lives.” proclaimed Charles Augustan Sainte-Beuve, French literary critic; but here, at the end of the day, the clock never stops and you can either focus on what’s tearing you apart or what’s holding you together. For these American icons; men with bark on them as hard as the trees they murder, the best way out is always through.

Yet with all their zeal for a passionate normality that leaves me cold; their life experience makes them show more empathy, more pro-social behavior, more compassion than the rich, famous winners of the lucky sperm contest, who are less empathetic, less altruistic and generally more selfish. My coffee slugging mates this morning are actors in a modern-day version of a Depression-era Frank Capra movie; and while the rich gloss over the ways family connections, money and education helped, they serve only to denigrate the very things these noble American blade warriors exemplify.

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About circusinpurgatory
Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized short stories, poetry and prose have been published in the Starry Night Review, Elegant Thorn Review, Language and Culture.net and Vagabond Press; the Battered Suitcase. His latest book “Armor of Innocence” and first book “Walking the Midway in Purgatory, a Journal” are available on-line and through bookstores.

2 Responses to Eat the Rich

  1. James Mcfarland says:

    Visceral. Cerebral. Surreal. A 9.9 masterpiece

  2. Reblogged this on Nick Masesso, Jr..

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