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image by Patricia T. Kenel

The underbelly, raw and burned from the sun, greets me as I hurry through the land of opulence, my antenna attuned to the syncopated beat of the de-winged drones who sit and beg nectar from we queens as we sashay bye; mega-hive abuzz with heady intoxication, we posture and pose in seemingly endless panoply of waste and incinerated holocaust to a god that cares not for her supplicants but rather revels in our fawning offerings of cold and shining lucre.

Hordes of wingless, maimed workers lurch and stumble in macabre, broken pirouette, tantalizingly reminiscent of tarentella, their spastic lurchings having replaced the waltz which once communicated with perfection of choreographed movement direction to the land of milk from which flowed the richest of honey. Used up, emptied, depleted of market value, wings ripped off between thumb and forefinger of market forces, the injured, the damaged, the club footed, stumble in mendicant competition, vying for cast off crumbs we buzzeratzi might deign to drop in their beggars’ caps as they reach out gnarled, chapped, filthy hands and battle for handouts against the powerful and outwardly undamaged wasps bedecked in stylish jeans, trendy tee-shirts, and clean, new, sneakers emblazoned with corporate logos on their pristine sides, these posturing nouveau poor displaying neatly printed signs decorated in Rasta colors with peace signs of both the splayed finger, “V” is for victory type, as well as the inverted capital “Y,” circumscribed and circumnavigated with a ring of hemp leaves, signs that proclaim, “Homeless: Please Help.” These warring have-nots, the old, the infirm, the used up and defeated homeless who have little fight left within them must do daily battle against the young who wish to live off the handouts of the labors, inheritance and unearned wealth of we bees replete with that which makes the world go round. These warring camps establish fiefdoms, territories and turfs which must be respected or taken by force and heaven help the fool who begs in another man’s kingdom.

Each day I masquerade as senile sybarite, passing wounded and entitled alike as I spend my hard earned money on pleasures of the flesh in the heart of El ciudad de pecado, the Mecca of hedonism that is Las Vegas, all while desperately wishing to keep my dollar bills held tightly in my clenched fist. I pass the fee, the fay, the fowl and foe and am reminded of the fault line that bisects this oasis in the desert, the land of just desserts, instant gratification and promises that far exceed deliveries. I am glad to have visited my country’s Sodom, to have felt Gomorrah’s sting as I piss my life away, but am equally pleased to put the Great Satan’s Great Satan behind me. As I fly away I think, “God bless the USA,” for she is lovely even when shrouded in deepest dark shadow and when her great inequalities are exposed to the brightest of glaring sons.

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