Thanks-Taking

Nick Masesso, Jr.

A young man in Mexico,

poor enough to live in a hut

with a dirt floor,

fiercely religious,

speaks no English,

crawls across an imaginary line

in the desert

in the dead of night

to OZ .

He labors bent over

in a strawberry field

picking my food

for sub-standard wages,

no health care,

no other kind of care,

no safety codes,

no rules that favor him.

He pays taxes to an invisible hand every payday

for which he receives nothing.

He is reviled.

One day men with American flags

festooned on their drab military style uniforms

approach.

They call out “criminal”.

He looks around to see

who they speak of

as their well fed

white knuckles

grip his arm.

He is going home.

Migrants in Mexico

who risk the road to Xanadu

are folk heroes.

They are urban mythologies.

Those that hire them,

the Patrons,

rich and…

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Deer-ly Departed

Hey Joe; where you goin’ with that gun in your hand?” – Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix

One-half million cold-blooded deer hunters locked and loaded wait the starter’s pistol while one million warm-blooded deer clutched in panicky conclaves contemplate catastrophe. Imprinted synapses generations old fire a sixth sense existential clock alarm ringing alert in both player and prey; today starts the yearly open season genocide.

Licenses sold in Minnesota foretell 522,000 itchy index fingered Davy Crockett wannabes twitching, poised on triggers of shoulder weapons, same as the twitching buckskin covered muscles of twice as many anxious deer. In both species the imprinted sense memories announce from one-half hour before dawn until one-half hour after sunset for the next eight-day running the state transforms from idyllic paradise to killing field.

Seventy percent of this massacre occurs in the first two days. The slaughter’s efficiency, 186,000 felled last year; marks carnage only exceeded by the cataclysmic obscenity that was Rwanda. If wind blows over ten miles an hour, affecting the deer’s smell, they’ll hunker down in hidden lairs. The corn harvest, twenty-five percent complete, makes surviving stalks safe harbor for the helpless dinner bound venison. Those advantages aside; nearly twenty percent of the community is exterminated in the ensuing holocaust.

The victims support sales of vast numbers of guns and shells and the gear associated with this lethal outdoors-man industry; so it’s no contest in these gladiator style hunger games; the state of Minnesota Vs Bambi. The virginal white landscape will be pock-marked blood-red.

And so it goes.

Stumbling off slumbers oblivion drapes are drawn to witness greedy tree branches gorged on pure white cream silently deposited overnight. Between midnight and the cold dark dawn angels in heavens bakery have wept paste colored confetti; coating everything under this magical open heaven with a patina of powdered sugar snow flake diamonds. God’s maiden is dressed in floor length virginal white.

The gluttonous appendages of spruce and evergreens labor and sag under the weight, so bloated each tiny baby breath breeze deprives them of their bounty; it falls in drifting mist showers.  Braving zero centigrade I venture out examining the magic mayhem; listening to the stiff starch rustle of the leaves; sun lances through the gaps.

My environs melancholy and lonely as ancient dried bones accept a chilly wind that blows over the lake and through the sky, making the autumn leaves cut loose and fly; leaving me wishing I could follow. The content of my flask brings a warm yellow glow to my chest. Inside my gelid eyes the daybreak brings a quiet silver sheen; the tired dread of winter is bitter as rue.

Though summing the prospects daunting I search for the bone upon which all of this beauty is grafted. Meandering through the woods my poet’s apothecary strains with a mood that achieves a stature dwarfing all near companions; eerie, numbing gas chamber music covers my thoughts like a shroud from burnt out psychedelic dreams. I grasp the wish for summer a fool’s errand; the true death is going back; to spawn is to die.

Withered twisted bodies of autumn leaves black and brown, lying flat, emotionless in the midst of intense contortions like defeated soldiers, resemble frozen in time victims of Pompeii, vanquished lifeless soldiers rotting lost on the brittle mausoleum soil floor. Their hosts emaciate toward eventual skeletons now. When once I was surrounded by the glittering virtue of summer, the freezing fog of winter blankets me and everything else alive with a sad compassion of rotting sweet, flat lethargy; yearning for hibernation.

Listening to the wind howl as it races toward the approaching morning, this kine-scope painted wilderness holds charisma; drawing me in; a devoted follower it offers a likable, powerful, dynamic, irresistible combination; covering the long dark winter in me and bringing forth the warming broth and nourishing marrow of goodness. .

I suddenly realize I’m wearing a snow-white turtleneck shirt and forest green cords, I blend and I’m in the kill zone. As the stat number of weekend warrior Barney Fife shooters that fell their own flash through my mind I split.  Armageddon outta here.