“To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement ... Whoever defeats the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus ... thereby it becomes its enemies.” – Philip K. Dick
The kid at the gas station mini-mart says “all set, then?”//current linguistic tick// inferring I’ve already paid for cigarettes and cough drops//already let the laser scan my plastic//put me nine more dollars in debt.//answer “no”//remember sales seminar when I telemarketed seats//to the symphony orchestra//to people who believed musical heritage//was something they could own//the seminar told us//never ask a customer//a question they have to answer ‘no’ to.
Kid could give a fuck.//When I was his age, I worked in a 7-11 in Laguna Beach//didn’t give a fuck, either//sold beer and tobacco to purchase music and coffee//minimum-wage fueled counter-culture//respectable drug dealer in a tacky jacket.//worked for a Korean family who owned the store but didn’t own the store//“franchising” – responsibility with no control//differ from the business plan//wake startled and sweating from the American dream.
Al-Qaeda uses//the same corporate structure as 7-11//branding and decentralized management//standardized marketing//keep on message//terrorists learned all their best tricks from us.//Suicide bombing equals brand loyalty//traded as commodities in Pakistan mountains//microeconomics of violence//No unclean hands here//Latin American dictators//trained on U.S. soil at the School of Americas//which is called something else now//like Philip Morris is now the Altria Group//marketing washes//all sins clean//allahu akbar//I’d like to buy the world a Coke//Nike: Just do it.//Kid behind the counter//either doesn’t think about this shit//or keeps it to himself.//Service, reward.//He sells me respectable drugs.
My drug of choice has a history of slavery and cancer//not like those dirty drugs//that fund cross-border narco-wars//fund Taliban insurgents//cause chaos in American inner cities//the mini-mart sells products from Coca-Cola and Nestle//lawsuits allege ties to Colombian paramilitaries//corporate death-squads fighting rebels with Kalashnikov rifles//Cold War permafrost//the kid and I are both complicit.//This is why we piss each other off//seeing ourselves reflected//in each other’s apathy//each one step from exploding in some crowd//and what’s glaringly obvious//is we’re not the ones//each other should be angry with.