Since wading ashore unopposed and planting
the gubernatorial flag at L’Anse aux Meadows,
my whole life has been like the first
langorous take in Touch of Evil.
But suspicion at the badness I’ve seen, the hate,

is nothing to the politeness, the pure goodness,
the ‘Nice days’ squeezed through wire-braced teeth
claimed by five climates, four time zones,
and every redneck hicksville in between
where absurd policemen patrol empty boulevards.

For there’s an army on the march no one sees.
Except me. Understand, I’ve lived so long
the pishogue on my shoulder can only whisper:
Leisure is God, culture is king—
when you hear these words reach for your gun.

I snigger: yes, yes, of course I will—
after all, happiness is a finger on the trigger.
This is where it’s been: in Las Vegas,
without a clock to its name, the suicide capital
of the continent; or with a band called Jargon

dying of fame on the Jersey shore.
I’m holed up in a trailer park watching
the inauguration of the thousandth cable channel
by European artists about to hit the West Coast
and there die the death of lemmings.