The Alex Jones Presidency (Shadow Puppetry)

The Alex Jones Presidency (Shadow Puppetry)

The man with the codes
is listening to Alex Jones
while those in the know
watch his nose continue to grow

Who will tell the people what the people are supposed to have seen?

That the man in the robe and with the sceptre believes
that the tools of his presidency are tools whose power could be deposed
provided that the people and their servants stop seeing those devices
as instant, spontaneous killers rather than instruments that charge like batteries.

Who will tell the people that the dimensions of life on the screen
phone, television, tablet or computer
are not the dimensions within the school, the store, the shopping centre
even the home?

Who will tell them that what is seen is not necessarily what is
and that what makes a human human
or a citizen a citizen
is not fealty to symbols
but work, will, initiative
even a sense of commanding destiny
personal and collective?

Provided that reality is actually seen.

But how will it be seen if people look at the man and his codes
only through a screen?

Who will tell them that much of what they are witnessing
is an art: shadow puppetry?

Jeremy Nathan Marks


Calling it a day

Calling it a day

Gil Scott Heron was right when he wrote
that the revolution will not be televised

So, my friends, here it goes:

I say no to the word on the street
that unless you place it in a screen
you will miss it
that it never happened

Gil Scott Heron was right when he wrote
the revolution does not go better with Coke
that it won’t tell you what to do about the tiger in your tank
or the giant in your toilet bowl
how it won’t tell you what you can do with your iPhone
whether you should Uber
dress up in drag
push your legislature for a gender neutral bathroom

He simply said it would be live
that is, not some feed on CNN
no Reddit room.

Again, my friends, I am tendering my resignation:

You won’t find me looking at anything ‘breaking’
no more alerts
look for me watching rain fall at high latitudes
in midwinter
counting automated supermarket checkouts
classrooms with software programs rather than teachers
conservatives blissfully, blatantly lying
as liberals enable by conveniently forgetting.

You won’t find me looking at things far away
when what is inside or beside screams
a fieldworker watching every last cent
of what she makes
on somebody’s take
applied to a tab
a summit of debt
at the company store where the owner says
surrender yourself to impulse
and leave the complicated, fretful matters to us.

My friends,
please don’t listen any longer for me to talk about myself
show you photos of my daughter
tell you what my vacation was last summer
or gauge my reaction to the latest spate
of mass American shooting deaths

Don’t wait for me to log my dissent,
assent or disapproval
better yet, don’t wait for me to vent my praise
over anguished plaints of our collective guilt
because it really doesn’t matter with me now
not in any sense that I’ve been prepared for
by a dauntless belief in our inexorable greatness
divine patrimony

For you see
I am in a beyond America phase
inured to the promises of Washington, Winthrop
what I see instead is how God’s vernacular promise to us
is decency’s auto da fe
that’s the new state of play
whiteness(?) all the way-

Please, don’t come looking for me
for I have no brand, no logo
no calling card, business card
no cookie or signature
no byline in some seldom read magazine
trying to bait its clicks.

I just don’t have a name
save the one my parents gave
(and my intimates have permission to use)

Unless you are the NSA
you won’t find me
I’ve called it a day.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Since no one is listening (as they aren’t allowed)

Since no one is listening (as they aren’t allowed)

‘Et quelques cris de haine
Versés par quelques vieux
Sur de plus vieilles qu’eux
Dont le corps s’ensommeille’ -Jacques Brel

-for Chelsea Manning

Since no one is listening
as they aren’t allowed
since they have blocked you at the border
in a Métis replay begun perhaps in 1870
when the policy was
undying fealty to her corpulent majesty
in contempt only for your mixed kind-

The historians will dutifully say that your enemy was in the right
that your soul is as black as all the black that is black and refuses not
to be black and therefore won’t die-

Since no one is listening
because no one is allowed to listen
because they have locked you in a cell and said
freak, hermaphrodite
and other things that rhyme with a march in double time
because they say the men who bomb mules and wells and tiny unweaned ones
are the real heroes
that we should strip your hair, your skin
your penis and anything that once made you a man
and paste it across the chest of generals in fruit salads of martial wonderment-

The politicians shall say dutifully that your enemy is right to make sure
that the emperor’s amanuensis deserves a fellowship, deserves to be heard
simply because he sits on power’s lap and power’s hand turns the stick up his trou

Since no one can hear the sounds of the American Way
and the Canadian Way (which is mostly a Yankee echo, not a thoughtful choice)
emanating from the corridors of the one panopticon where even today
they allow no television
the place where you were kept within the narrow lines
of their tweezer tongs of freedom-

Since no one hears beyond the fact that the blessed lone Black President
said it was fine to loosen the bombs and the barbs that you protested
but like an enlightened one commuted your sentence
so the gates of Harvard Yard
and now Sussex Drive
can remain closed to the unrepentant, unmerciful blast
of T’kiyah G’dolah for the principle (not the practice)
of what North American English-speaking democracies claim they mean to be.

Let everyone unite against you, Métis
because what are you anyway?
A woman who wore the uniform of your country
lying to your superiors that you had American gonads
with American fusillades that would curb and carve and repurpose
the brown skinned benighted lands?

Let everyone be denied a chance to form an opinion
because you scare the lies that wear suits and speak platitudes
called policy
that swim bare chested on Pacific beaches threatened
by the oil of the allies who are doing the power broker’s bidding
killing the people you showed were hardly the willing executioners
of the great brown multitudes designs on our burdensome thirsts.

The lies in suits who march in Pride Parades and say
‘I love your kind’
in two languages
and pledge compassion for the disappeared
while the ‘found’ and not-yet-missing


Tell me that I’ve written a screed.
Tell me that when I close my eyes and say
‘Post America’ when?
that I am just as sick as the twentieth century’s worst
martyrs and murderers of the American dream
and the Canadian ‘True North Strong and Free’

Whose victory day we’ve yet to see.


A beautiful boat -John Panian

A beautiful boat

That’s what we had. Maybe.
One day before our faces.
Now, this is where we are.
Trying on well-fitting boots.

We bought them. The book.
The line. The sinking thoughts.
Them too, we bought. “Fuck the
farm, we bought the boat!”

The oars and the ocean too.
And then we threw them all
in. Chopped the little ones
for our chum and threw them

in over the side. I can see them
now, the pieces, moving up
from the dark like bright fish.
Our beautiful boat is eating us.

John Panian (St. Louis, MO)

John Panian writes poems, makes images and pays the bills by working with food in Saint Louis, Missouri, where he lives with his wife and daughter. You can follow him here: