Stupid comes from fear, like it maybe always does—
there’s a theory for you.
Or something about the antihero, something mumbled.
On the screen is this wide muddy place
but even in all the wideness a man can feel cornered, trapped,
run out of gas so’s he’s rolling backward down the hill
in hill country to the static between the KKOK News K-Os.
It’s an idea of America: the girl wants gold stamps,
to get the stuff you need for family life, the stuff other people have.
Give it all to her.
There’s a catalog with a crib and a crank-up plastic swing.
She hangs her rubberband body out the car window into the fried chicken drive-through,
puts her dirty socks up on the headrest, pulls her fate from a wishbone.
The motherlove and blonde of her will be her salvation,
(the online synopsis describes the protagonist as “Lou Jean, a blonde woman,”
as if that explains everything) because
this is America, and we all wish we could get drunk right now,
and there are vigilantes everywhere, a hallelujah of open carry,
ten gallon hats lined up at the urinals.
Make America, etc.
The land of the pink frosted lipstick and oversized carnival prizes
and Boy Scouts with Polaroids. Majorettes, batons, parades.
Prisons. Dollar bills.
Did I mention the guns? Guns going off like it’s a turkey shoot
only it’s people? Cars and guns and mascara and blood and cars and parades and guns.
It’s July 4th weekend 2016
and I’m writing about this movie about “America,”
where from behind the orangey curtain of an orange camper
they steal the picture off the nearby drive-in:
Wile E. Coyote chasing Roadrunner into the Grand Canyon.
The metaphor is just hammered home.
Both the hammer and also the home.
The happy ending scrolling down past the sunset of the credits is a bald-faced lie.
Arielle Greenberg is the Resident Poet at Bright Wall/Dark Room. She is the co-author of Home/Birth: A Poemic; author ofMy Kafka Century and Given; and co-editor of three anthologies, including Gurlesque. She lives in Maine and teaches in the community and in Oregon State University-Cascades' MFA program. Arielle writes a regular column on contemporary poetics for the American Poetry Review.