Saturday, April 30, 2022

Ending Not With a Whimper but With a Bang Content Warning—National Poetry Month 2022


So called Open Up America protestors had taken to the streets to claim their time in the lime light while progressives and true patriots others wouldn't or couldn't out of respect for pandemic protocols.  It was just the beginning of a movement that now terrorizes school boards and health care workers in the name of some kind of freedom to spit in everyone else's face.

I was preparing a final post for National Poetry Month when I rediscovered this ultimate post from 2000.  The Coronavirus was new, the whole nation was hunkered down.  We had no idea that would still be going on or that we would be so weary and jaded by the whole thing and we pretend it is over.  And we were still reeling from the aftermath of attempted coup d’etat and Siege of the Capitol.  We were beginning to adjust to the possibility of actual civil war.  Two years later scores of miscreants have gone to jail, mostly pathetic small fry while the powerful sponsors of treason remain uncharged and sit in Congress and in governor’s mansions.  Back then multiple folks shared this stunning poetic rant on Facebook and other social media.  It is raw with rage and grief, but it dared to speak to what many of us were feeling during the pandemic cum charnel house as yahoos, cult zombies, and outright fascists paraded around egged on by the White House and bankrolled by deep dark pockets demanding their rights to spit in the face of the rest of us, kill us and our loved ones.

Writer C.S.E. Cooney was one pissed off woman.

It seems as relevant today as when it erupted from C.S.E. Cooney who lives and writes in Queens, New York City, whose borders are water. According to her web site she is an audiobook narrator, the appears as the singer/songwriter Brimstone Rhine, and is the author of Desdemona and the Deep and the World Fantasy Award-winning Bone Swans: Stories.  Her work includes three albums: Alecto! Alecto!, The Headless Bride, and Corbeau Blanc, Corbeau Noir, and a poetry collection, How to Flirt in Faerieland and Other Wild Rhymes. The latter features her 2011 Rhysling Award-winning The Sea King’s Second Bride.

Note—this is not for the prissy, the weak of heart, or any knee jerk on-the-other-hand types.

Gun toting neo-fascists were a prominent part of the first open up rally at the Michigan capitol in Lancing.  Trump tweeted "Liberate Michigan!"  "Liberate Minnesota!"  "Liberate Virginia!"

Content Warning

if that is freedom, fuck it

i don’t want it

to walk bare as a genital wart in the mayo clinic

swollen with liberty, flying the colors of the flag

fuck it, fuck your freedoms

give me plexiglass prisons, given me wardens in hazmat

give me solitary confinement

give me an oubliette

so I can forget

you and your fanfaronade freedoms


to hold my dying elder’s hand in hospice

that is freedom

you, your ilk, you kick it to dust

you kick it to dust with your leather shoes

to meet at feast together, eat together

marry on the day we choose

let our doctors see their children again

such freedom

you crush with as much disgust as the snake

beneath your heel


my venom grows

every night, every morning

chokevine murderthoughts

thorn and strangle me:

the freedom to be kind, to forgive

to live and let live

all flayed away

I am a criminal in my own mind

I deserve my chains


I don’t know what you deserve

(to do time for war crimes is what you deserve)

I don’t know what you think you deserve

but you take it anyway

no matter what it takes away from

all the rest of us


my friend, swaddled like a sarcophagus in the morgue

for one last look at her sister’s face

my friend, in her lonely hotel room, decontaminating her scrubs

while she Skypes with her cat

my friend, who stares out the window as Washington Heights

bangs its pots and pans

so tired, too tired to join the humble Ă©clat, tired

from doing nothing, from staying inside, keeping the city safe


you spit in the face of my friends

you spit in the face of my friends

you little shit

you little shit


C.S.E. Cooney

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