Wayne Says

“Each month, each Chinese is paid $12.50,
Which he must spend by the 15th, for if
He’s caught with any money after the 15th,
He’d be shot. It’s a capital crime. Also, if
He’s caught with, say, $12.51 at any time,
He’d also be killed. A Chinese doesn’t really
Need any money, since the government gives
Everyone three meals and a cot, though they
Must work 24 hours a day. It’s Communism.

Here we don’t have Communism, so I buy
These hot dogs from the Dollar Store. They’re big,
Just like kielbasi! Eight for a dollar. You don’t even
Need to cook them. I eat them like lunch meat.
One thing, though, too many hot dogs will give you
Butt cancer. I’m sixty-six years old, and I don’t need
My ass all torn up because I ate too many hot dogs.

I don’t mind sleeping outside. It’s like camping.
I had an apartment in this house, paid $360,
Shared it with seven other knuckleheads.
Most of them were cool, though, but one guy
Would never flush the toilet, and never close
The shower curtain, so water would be all over.
Man, it was gross. He said he was germaphobic,
So he wouldn’t touch the toilet, any part of it.

With so many guys in one place, you’ll have
Disagreements every now and then. One time,
This seven footer came at me, so I stabbed him,
But my knife broke, so nothing happened to him.
He lunged at me again, but I had three darts, so
He backed off. Why did I have three darts on me?
Well, you don’t know what I have on me, do you?

I know how to protect myself, but I’m not violent.
I went to college. I wanted to study business, but
My ma said, ‘Business ain’t nothing but a way for
White people to rip off black people,’ so I switched
To music. I know how to play the guitar and piano.
I wrote songs, but I don’t remember any of them.

We only need one educational system,
But Catholics have their own schools, so
The country is divided. Catholics don’t like
Anybody who isn’t a Catholic, and that’s why
Nothing works in this country. We’re divided.
Take the war, for example. We’ve been fighting
Ten years against people with nothing, against
Cavemen with only a few guns and a couple
Of hand grenades, while we have all these planes
And aircraft carriers, you know, the whole shebang,
But we still can’t goddamn win. We’re divided.

The city is falling apart, and Nutter can’t get
Anything done, because he’s a Catholic and
Obama is not. He can’t just call up Obama and
Say, ‘Send us a hundred trillion zillion dollars!’”

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He's tracking our deteriorating social scape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America. Read other articles by Linh.