This Was Years Before the Re-Branding of American Fascism

Rich Smith

But already everyone was relieved to finally stop pretending
to care about art. It wasn’t serious like journalism.
Couldn’t cure the cancer in the blood, couldn’t eat much of it
without getting sick. And what was art—really? Practice
on purpose? Practice as purpose? Bad? A lot of it was bad.
More pleasure in the act of dismissing it for the crossword, anyway,
and no one could argue with that. So at the conference by the sea
it was decided to rid the species of the impulse. Now,

did they like the cloud-softened light upon the sea?
Yes, they liked the cloud-softened light upon the sea.
They even liked the way it looked upon their breakfast.
But did they want to describe it? No. Did they want
to pay someone for the service? Less so. Did they like the idea
that the cloud-softened light upon the sea was really a word
in their private conversation with the light and the sea
and upon-ness and the surrounding trees for that matter,
a command with no commander,
one of the only things in the world not telling them to go to bed?

Yes, they were beginning to, having just suddenly relaxed
for the first time in a while.
That’s when the wingtips goose-stepped in
and started forcing them to hate their colored pencils,
and flattering them into thinking we weren’t children in our trousers.
“It’s a luxury!” Their gold watches screamed.
“It’s a luxury!” They repeated, as their haircuts grew more serious.
“It’s a luxury!” They said, as the body-softened light began to leave us,
and the sea set to boiling, and the clouds started hardening,
and the trees all cussed in French.

Originally published in Moss: Volume Three.
moss logo