Be careful is all I’m saying, fascism can creep up on ya like a commercial jingle you can’t get out of your head. One day you’re sitting there running the numbers on the Hibbing Taconite Co.’s quarterly, then next morning you wake up and all the sudden you’re goose-stepping and sieg-heiling with a joie de vivre no longer encumbered by that regional impulse to reservedness so associated with this prison you’ve constructed out of hometown consent. You’ll rise from a moderately contented slumber and burst forth into this explosive and radiant moment of Aufhebung and all those neighborly pleasantries of your small town life will fade away. Remnants of your past that you’ll cast off like so many losing meat raffle tickets, discarding them carelessly into that gaping maw of forgotten history. 

Because, sure, you’re a smart guy. You know that poetry is a dead horse. And you being such a smart fella you’ll of course know that we gave up beating that old mare* a long time ago and that it’s starting to smell. In fact the putrid odor of the thing has begun to slowly work its way into your nostrils. Then all of the sudden and heavens to Betsy sitting there at your desk your nose starts bleeding.

Except this isn’t blood, friend, what you’ve got here is this profusion of what can only really be described as like this linguistic-mucoidal-effluvium (not to be too cute) coming out of your nose and it’s inflaming all the associated tissues of your sinuses. This then results in a motherfucker of a pressure headache. Same kind you’ve been getting more and more often. Though they seem to come on now even when your sinuses are totally clear of any vernacular build up (the headaches that is). 

So this is concerning, not to mention embarrassing, but the part that is causing you some anxiety is that as this osmophobic language-headache begins to mutate into its migrainal final form (as has been the pattern these last two months) out of nowhere this internal voice just starts bombarding you with all these antiquated and arcane slurs towards the more “ethnic” whites. I mean really laying it on thick, saying these horrible things about people from countries you’re not even sure you could point out on a map. The voice itself you’re fairly certain is your own but you know how it always sounds weird having your own voice played back to you (on a related note, due to the tone and quality you’re almost certain that it’s a recording of some kind…a recording of course that you have no recollection of ever having made). 

[at this point you realize the office is completely empty. when the fuck did that happen? Where did everyone go?]

You would give anything for it to shut the fuck up though, not just because your head is vibrating with this excruciating pain but also because you’re a good person or you’d like to think of yourself as one. You’re an easy going Midwestern guy who votes straight Democrat every election. Never in your life would you call a Serbian person a shjke or someone from Latvia a labus, but you have no fucking clue how to stem this tide of obscure racial epithets. You’re certain beyond a reasonable doubt that it’s the headache that has generated this (pre-recorded) onslaught of esoteric bigotry. Or…well…maybe not, but it’s definitely related in some way to the migraine brought on by the stench of that goddamn dead poetry horse. 

[wait, is that a laugh track?]

You’ve sought medical help for the headaches, but every doctor you’ve seen about this has either tried to prescribe you blood pressure medication or just given you some long lecture about how the Third Reich actually protected us westerners by acting as a bulwark against the USSR and retarding the economic development of that Asiatic horde. That the ideologies involved really weren’t that big a motivating factor, just a kind of company policy dispute. Wagging his finger at you and concluding that in his professional medical opinion our issues with the Germans should really be thought of as more a hostile corporate takeover and restructuring. The military hostilities were regrettable, but necessary, for us to stay volatile on the market. 

You can hear him yammering something about NATO and Ukraine as you leave the room totally unnoticed. Walking down the hall quickly and towards the exit he starts yelling, working himself up into a frenzy and screaming,  “Nurse Irmgard get me the fucking lists!” 

So, exasperated and terrified you just start fucking running…but that’s not going to accomplish anything is it? It’s your own damn head. Wherever you are there it is and you’re no doctor but from your understanding of anatomy the head is the top bit and it runs the rest of you and you are still ostensibly you so what’s a fella to do? Scrambling around the streets of downtown Grand Rapids you look for some alley or dumpster to hide behind, but you know there’s no escape. Feeling entirely helpless you want to tear out your fucking hair and scream so hard your teeth fall out as everywhere you turn you just keep popping up again and again like the final chase scene in a horror film. 

Looking utterly unhinged and deranged you stumble along the banks of the Mississippi River in the snow. The words, not the (primarily, it seems) Serbophobic racist ones (those are just on replay in your crazy old noggin), no the terms and phrases shooting out of your nose, that deluge of nasal-communication (the content of which is just an incoherent spray of nonsensical arrangements of the English language), those are still gushing out of your face and dribbling down the front of your nice shirt. Which upon inspection and to no one’s surprise, you find to be missing half of its buttons and covered in what any person with eyes and a nose would say was a combination of blood and shit (interestingly it will later be discovered that neither were yours and that in fact there were several different donors, and even more interesting is that they were all related. Life’s mysteries). 

Finally…miraculously…mercifully…it appears that your nose has stopped running. Or shut the fuck up, maybe. You’re in no mood to argue semantics. Stumbling you find a flat rock near the river’s edge and sit down, physically and spiritually exhausted. Tears welling up in your eyes you look up and realize that it’s dawn and the sun is beginning to make its initial climb into the heavens. 

You think to yourself, I would like to go to Heaven some day. 

*this production has been found by the US Dept. of Agriculture to be fully AWA compliant- Legal Dept

— Dan R. dropped out of community college twice and wasted his twenties playing bike messenger. He lives on Minnesota’s North Shore and is allegedly a Catholic again. He currently resides on a funny farm.

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