TWO POEMS by Jason Quackenbush

“Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill!”
–for the Gulf Coast

Rachel Maddow is clearly angry. Clearly.
There’s video of her sometimes, while the oil flows,
in along the gulf and in among the marshes.
She’s there, standing with experts,
asking them questions. The look
her face more or less says it all.
The oil still flows.
I have these strange oil induced hallucinations,
sometimes, sort of B grade 60’s
exploitation flicks in which she sort of just
finally flips her lid and isn’t gonna take it
any more. A cross between
Putney Swope
The Violent Years. An enraged Maddow
in biker leathers takes her revenge
on members of the BP executive board.
She soaks them all in 10W 30
and sets the alight. Lit but it wouldn’t do any good.
The oil still flows. But never mind
it makes me feel better. And that’s
what matters, watching it all, the oil still flows,
on TV. If only we can just feel better about it.
Everything is going to be ok. Right now
as we sleep in America, invisible
hands are scrubbing clean the pelicans
and the beaches and straining the crude
from the marshes and plucking the fumes
from the air to make aromatherapy candles
with. It’s best if we just keep out of the way
clearly. I don’t know what exactly Rachel Maddow
is mad about when I get to thinking about
this stuff. The oil still flows. I know someday I’ll wake up
and this will all have been something forgettable,
an insignificant moment. Best not to worry.
Best to stay out of the way. The oil still flows.


“Napalm and The Sea”
–for the Gulf Coast

It festers. Sure, it gets in the skin.
It burns and blisters like nerves

There are places like radon you can get stuff
gets in your eyes and the fumes sure.

There’s that smell like a gasoline service
station, the acridity of it rubs in and rests

on beat after beat beach, beating back
the tide as it pushes, like nerves, like it does.

Maybe then the places will survive. There
sure are some places sure that will. I’m sure

but you wonder, maybe, what will happen
in the interstitial places like dendrits. The stuff where

it gets in and glue and like under the fingernails
wear it wears in, in and sticks it sticks in.

Whats the formula from the Anarchists
Cookbook? Frozen Orange Juice, Saw Dust

Gasoline, and Petroleum Jelly? Sulfuric Acid
Nitric Acid, Glycerine? Lye soap and paraffin?

I watch Tony McBP on the television,
the low res video camera’s strobing his

necktie like you can hear it. Shooting him from a slightly
dutch angle shot to make him look taller.

I watch this stuff and I think about the
damage that chemicals can do to a person.

Visions of self-immolating monks
naked youth in asian children coated in napalm

Vietnam era human wreckage.
I think about what these people deserve

now about what any of us have coming.
No one is…



After Haiti, after the tsunami, after the global economic crisis, after Afghanistan, after Iraq, after September 11th, after Citizen’s United, after the Chilean earthquake, after Katrina, after Somalia, after Ethiopia, after The Exxon Valdez, after Goldman Sachs somewhere there is an intersection between global disaster and reality television that reads like pornography after you get off. Nothing left of it but bearing helpless witness to an extended tedium of catastrophe.


Jason Quackenbush – poet, pop cult icon, novelist, curmudgeon, malcontent, god of migraine headaches.

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