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R/B Mertz


They've pumped Rush/Judy full of pills.
They swallow the bullshit
somebody broke
their whiteness into.

From a field of flowers the dead
are ground into a pale
white shake, a powder
of pretending.

Shaky stations reach through
desperate rural hearts.
They’re always saying you are
or you’re not
or you aren’t them
or you aren't us
or you are.

You can either hide
in the basement,
or you can brave the storm
& see what it does to you.

Somebody edits out
the suicides,
the altars of want
behind the scenes.


“They’re young skulls full of mush, and they’re being indoctrinated. And so American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle class status, all of that is taboo, not permitted. The mind-set of all those, not permitted. You’re not allowed to think or write in those terms. You must, instead, communicate in this class, written and verbal, with inclusive terminology. Which means that American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, and middle class status is not inclusive to this professorette, by definition.”

—Rush Limbaugh


Jeff is kneeling
on the sofa, knees
& fingers spread eagle
except one index finger & thumb
pinched together around the end tip
of a joint,

palms bared, flapping over
John Goodman’s belly,
Jeff follows his
happy trail.

The Dude’s ice clinks
in the glass.
Jeff props himself up
like a school-girl
& says, Guys! I don’t believe
in torture or war
or the KKK any-

The Dude smokes silently,
smirks, half-inhaling, half-exhaling,
he says,“Yeah,
but you smoked that shit
a long time & that shit’ll
kill you, man.”


“Thomas Figures, a black Assistant U.S. Attorney, testified that Sessions said he thought the Ku Klux Klan was "OK until I found out they smoked pot". Sessions later said that the comment was not serious, but did apologize for it.”

“Figures also said that Sessions had called him "boy," which Sessions denied. Figures also testified that two assistant prosecutors had also heard Sessions, including current federal judge Ginny Granade… He also testified that "Mr. Sessions admonished me to 'be careful what you say to white folks.’”



Whiteness is being the postcard
instead of being the mountain.
Like those wax hands
you could make if you kept
your hand totally still
in one shape,
if you had $5 & could get in
to the fair,
then you could
stare at your own hand
like you owned it.
Whiteness dips you into
something that keeps
your heart the same shape,
makes infinite copies,
sells you off to the highest bidder,
demands you celebrate your sale.


“[Beyonce’s] just like President Obama, Jada Pinkett Smith, Al Sharpton and so many others that just can’t let America heal, you keep ripping off the historical bandaid. Why be a cultural leader when you can play the victim, right?”

—Tomi Lehran


Imagine if you could invade
what you wanted
without resistance
or anyone knowing.

What you say
out loud vs. what
you let happen inside you,
without telling anyone.

It’s the idea that resistance
is possible that bothers him.
The possibility of you.
If we could just remove the part
of you that doesn’t believe
he will understand
or doesn’t want him to know,
what you didn’t want him to know
might not matter.

What you would learn
if you already knew what she was
thinking, or what you would do
with your life if you could
afford everything.

Mitt decides on fascism.
Putting on a good face,
taking it,
not protesting.
When I asked her why she didn’t file
a complaint against him, she said,
“He knows what he did.”

But that’s the problem.
The girl accusing the guy
of rape seems defensive.
My mean grandma says,
    “Me thinks
she doth protest too much.”


“Mitt’s face looked like he just had a hand going up his skirt.”

➥ Bio