An open letter to the Puritans (a poem)

A new typewriter poem.

Parts are falling off
like fingers from a movie leper

First the joints
now the feet
and what’s left is heating up
and generally feeling uncomfortable

But there’s work to be done
so there’s nothing left but to soldier on

Nothing’s going to happen if we sit around doing nothing

Thank you, Puritans
for destroying any hope of leisure
or ease of being

Every day, we have to work work work work
until we’ve spent so much time worrying about work and money
that we’ve got no energy left for fucking

Even if we did, nobody would want to fuck us
because we’re so ugly on the outside
and so screwed up on the inside—
and we have to say ‘screwed up’
because y’all were too uptight to say ‘fuck’
where anybody could hear you

No wonder we invented the assembly line
what better way to turn our pathetic human existence
into cogs in the machinery
inherently inert and easily replaceable

Yes, Puritans past and present
you have a lot to answer for—
and don’t think it’s your Lord who’s going to be conducting the interrogation

We are the sons and daughters of your sons and daughters
and their sons and daughters and so on
and all we inbred descendants demand satisfaction—
which we won’t ever get because you’ve trained us over generations
to be incapable of enjoying ourselves

We’re very good at guilt and shame, however

Oh, you have taught us well indeed!

And, of course, you’ve managed to make an industry of that as well—
books and workshops and pills and years and years of therapy
all for the low, low price of two bucks a minute

And we have to be ashamed about that, too

At this point, having a few digits fall off
would feel like getting off easy

Though now they say trauma resides in the DNA
so we could be free of all you have made of us
and still accrue damage over the years
probably ending up as screwed up as we are now anyway

Granted, that one is not your fault—
not by itself, anyway

But trauma multiplies exponentially, or logarithmically or something
so you’re by no means off the hook

If time travel ever does become a reality
you, my Puritan forebears, are never going to leave Europe
and the powers that were will do what they should have done
and lock up your worst tendencies
so they will not infect anyone else

Maybe then we can have the lives we should have been given
and I will be out enjoying the sun on a spring afternoon
instead of sitting here, hunched over the typewriter
putting down on paper whatever spews forth from my frontal cortex
and wanting things to be better—
which they’re not, because I grew up in a culture
that wants to enjoy itself
but can’t because of the accumulated burden it has inherited
from a bunch of dead Europeans who couldn’t have things their way
so they took all their farm implements
and high-tailed it to the Americas
where they made sure that the folks who were already there
couldn’t have anything they wanted either
and would spend the next seven generations
fighting for basic respect and dignity
against a land of entitled Puritan descendants
without any sense of heritage beyond the color of a piece of bleached, colorless fabric

Except, strangely enough, for their current leader
who looks like a Creamsicle collided with a panda
and fused together like Brundlefly
and has no problem whatsoever with fucking

However, we’re not willing to be fucked, O Puritans
and not because you have trained us to be ashamed
but because you’ve done enough damage
and we refused to be damaged

Prepare thyselves, thou art going down…

(19 May 2018)