The Oregon Governor Announces a Record Fourth Term

the guv ponders a lasting impression
the stats are in, long-term dole forever
like the plague, the bubonic
lesions of short-term unemployment
lifted by those spatula gigs
hospitality services they call
it, as the guv thinks of ways
to placate the tennis shoe guy
Phil Knight wants a break
Intel wants more water
the Columbia hot with
leaking cesium and plutonium
particles, upstream a hundred
miles away

you hear this place is bike friendly
yet pedestrians and two-wheelers
seem attracted to undersides
of zippy Subarus, this bikeable
place, homeless sitting in alleys
the fuzz all tatted up, Aryan style
buzz haircuts like those punks
in movies about the former
republics of the Soviet Union

the pollsters give economic forecasts
seven-point-five ain’t bad unemployment, and shit
it makes sense black kids are in the low fifties
. . . total genocide is unbecoming
this is a slow death, by a thousand cuts
drip by drip, those elites called liberals
they want no taxes, nothing on their quarter
million a year or more
but there are programs to be sheared
raw numbers are schools closed
apartment rents raised the price
of a nosebleed seat for the Blazers,
hell, charge them out the nose

raise the tax on gasoline, charge more
for taking the bus, take more from the
middle, leave those edges alone
gentrified bourgeoisie
nothing wrong with NPR-loving
democrats, loving the lovin’ spoonful
commander in chief the idolatry of
his Kenyan people, magnificent

these are not desperate enough times
one guy tells me as I share a beer
then he launches into the frog in the warm
water on a burner story, all goofy Disney
mythology, as if a creature smart enough
to be 400 million years old would sit and stew

like the lemmings, staged for a documentary
forced over the edge by directorial magnificence
but the human condition is conditioned for Aesop
little legends and the Big Lie, we are the frog, stewing
in the great slide down, lumbering in the great melt
hoping somehow the tides will be held back
moats or levies, big dikes, something from a space
novel, something

the pages catalog daily the slide, those people left
damaged, looking for inroads, anything to steal money
why not, hell, JP Wells Fargo Bank of Citi America Chase Goldman
sacks the cities of Detroit, Camden, Richmond, you name it
rust belt or out west rural

headlines today how a Montreal armored
car outfit, the largest private
security joint in the world, Garda,
is threatening now:  Don’t Mess with Texas,
where the signs of the times
have 10 of these jalopies strong-armed
into instant withdrawal
now it’s Wyatt Earp time

signs of the times, funny, get tough, shoot, then
kill, ask questions later, or never ask
speak, because Capital is King, the law
of the land, the reason they have it all
the masses have this perpetual disease
emptying of our larders, kitties, entire cities
razed by captains of industry, speculators
the parasites that eat the fleas from
rats, they are the queens and kings

setting the world ablaze with their leprosy
they know the headlines in advance
because they own the stories, each and
every rag lead that bleeds
and radio blare and TV broadcast
their little experiment in truth boomeranging

still, though, you have to feel for them
having to sell the fourth estate
downsizing the jet to a Lear, keeping
their workers humping, one for two
keep working, overtime, the stuff
will then be flowing like Niagara
Flatbush on Flat Screen, iPad and little
drone parked next to the Bayliner
only 225 horses, but still fun

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.