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Heartburn

“Purple Heart” by Andrew Blitman

I can’t eat things like I used to:

Let it be food or alcohol
Or religion or school,
Or the thirst for approval,
And the flaws of society as well
As the ones within myself
That draw out my shortcomings;
Or loud music and crowds,
The search for meaning
From inside out to upside down;
Praise and lament and humor
Coming from the wrong places
As jarring as the news
Of the downfall of civic virtues
Like transparency and freedom
And the death of accountability
In the face of facts
That have become subjective
And self-evident
As oaths of corporate hypocrisy
If not conspiracy
In the areas where there should be
Dignity above reproach,
Where there should be shreds of hope
Instead of our wretched nightmares
Wreaking havoc on the collective despair
Of communities and nations lain bare
By the influence of money and scarcity
And scare tactics
And the preference of the lie
Above the indomitable truth,
That the faded glory of my youth
Has revealed only hydrochloric acid
As indigestion’s stains on common sense
And honor and habeas corpus,
On the things we once lived for
And now take for granted,

The bandwagon effect,
The bystander effect,
The butterfly effect,
The pack mentality
Shielding evildoers

From the consequences of betrayal,
Self-loathing the public trust
That has refilled the swamp
Drained of its humanity,
Toxicity like the magma
Churning in the chambers of the volcano
That might as well be the upwelling
Of jagged pain spilling from my belly
Upon comprehending
What is actually happening to my organs
As they continue to process the darkness
Sharpened by hatred for the discord
That seems to have devoured
The fat reserves that once desired
Fair and balanced meals.

Gah, my stomach! How does it feel?

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