Love Letter to Deep State

Love Letter to Deep State: A Review of Watchmen in Verse
When I was a boy,
you took pains to include me in overnights reading Watchmen, playing Rush’n Attack, Axis & Allies,
Supremacy: Sipping Dr. Pepper and munching Twizzlers with the guys,
I couldn’t help but learn
about the space that exists between my thoughts, my mouth, my ass,
and the Nintendo controller in my hands,
so easy to use, then,
which you were kind enough to monitor
as we reviewed highlights
in the basement:
Target heart rates running lines
on the basketball court,
hyper-color shirts and flips
off a roof into a pool (summer!),
driver license numbers,
receipts tossed into the backseat
of $20 nights, lighting up Swisher Sweets,
stripping in a Chevy Astro
with the gals up the street
who didn’t seem to notice
or mind — you, lurking in the shadows:
You told no one, did you, how we fumbled
behind the cover of smoke, unstrapping bras, whispering secret agreements
about our origin stories?
Until the NSA turned you into a whistleblower and made you tell all during that nationally televised
Zoom conference call, remember?
Yeah, that sucked, because
we were avatars long before
you started playing us online
and forced us to emerge from our haze
into adulthood, gray beards and scars
from bullets we imagined to be real
but weren’t
because that’s how you trained us,
to walk with our backs straight
and a nervous twitch of the eye,
which the lady in the checkout line
mistakes for a wink
but we know
is just to distract her
from the limp in our stride
and the damage done to our knees
during those parkour days
before they called ‘parkour’ anything
except crazy stunts unrecorded
by anything except memory
and a certain joie de vivre
that only hormones
and superheroes
can control
decades before American Ninja Warrior
or a million followers on YouTube
never discovered us
and made it official:
We’re old.
We have no privacy.
Not anymore.
We’re trolls hobbling onto the train,
staring at our phones, one stop away
from another trip to the hospital
for more surgery.
Still, there’s no reason to fear.
Not anymore.
Because the deep state ain’t
a bad place
or a sad place
or a form of government,
it’s a state of mind,
like how we used to read
but now we watch
Watchmen,
and how we used to wear
and still do
curled up on the couch
next to our wives, pajamas,
our original rendezvous
with peace.


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