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Prison Gangs: Pelican Bay Prison Guard George Sherman carries a rifle in the control room of the ultra-maximum Security Housing Unit, known as the SHU, whenever a guard enters one of the groups of 10 cells.

Deliverance

I live in a wasteland.
Nothing but wasteland surrounds me.
Civilization is its middle name,
Progress, its vanguard.

Supermarket culture shoved down our throats
By hucksters of no particular persuasion,
Walmart its proud flagship
Where cheaper is better and bigger is quality.
Bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger fries, Big Mac.
And more,
More of everything and more of the same.
“Oversize me” is our national anthem,
“Make America Great Again,” the refrain.

Purveyors of false philosophies,
Soothsayers whispering sweet words of comfort
While aiming only to screw, the politicians.
A certifiable lunatic in charge,
Engaged in a war of words with another lunatic,
Only a twitting finger away from a nuclear showdown.
Aided and abated by a crew of sycophants and court jesters
While decent folk keep still for fear of their political future.

Silver-tongued lawyers who argue with great eloquence that corporations are persons,
More so than actual persons.
And we believe them.

Modern-day witchdoctors and voodoo practitioners
Dispensing remedies for every conceivable ailment.
Sleeping pills for insomniacs.
Antidepressants for ennui.
Viagra for erectile dysfunction.
Liquor for the oversexed.
Drugs to make you remember and drugs to make you forget.
All self-inflicted wounds!

Cost of willful acquiescence to capitalism at full throttle.
Shopping its official religion,
The Yankee dollar its almighty king.

And then there are toys,
Toys to entertain and toys to distract.
Sex toys for every occasion and sexual preference,
Whatever you heart desires.
Sports galore – major league, minor league, and kindergarten sports
With soccer moms at the helm, playing the coach and the referee,
Encouraging the youngsters.
Fast-action movies and video games.
Electronic toys and gadgets, internet and personal computer.
And the iPhone,
The all-in-one communication device to keep us abreast and on top of the world
While our communication skills are eroding
Since texting had become the message
And personal interactions are now part of the cloud.

The headlines say it all:
Police brutality.
Stop-and-frisk.
Black Lives Matter.
Occupy Wall Street.
North Dakota pipeline.
Attack dogs tearing at human flesh.
White supremacy on the rise.
Boots on the ground and nation-building.
War on terror.
War on drugs, on marijuana, and on people of color.
Disproportionate incarceration rates.
War on the First Amendment and the NFL
For disrespecting the flag while kneeling rather than standing up.
Enough!

I yearn for the days of my youth
When in a chalet overlooking the Tatra Mountains
And the majestic Mt. Giewont, its legendary cross on top,
Above the human stench and corruption and all the pettiness

The air was rarified, crisp and pure.
Breathing was like drinking from the freshest fountain,
The sky, celeste blue.
Endowed with eagle’s eyes, you could see forever
And touch it with your fingertips.

At nights, countless stars would light up the entire firmament
Like a gigantic Christmas tree,
Each bearing a secret wish, an unexpressed desire.
And hope!

But I was young then,
Little suspecting of the evil
That lurked in the hearts of men.

Oh, how I wish I could go back in time
And stay there forever,
Away from the madding crowd.

About Roger Nowosielski

I'm a free lance writer. Areas of expertise: philosophy, sociology, liberal arts, and literature. An academic at a fringe, you might say, and I like it that way.

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