EWE

Notice the book, a James Patterson thriller. The cover cresting at the edges, a wave curling back on itself. Ripped corners. Crease marks wind like rivers across a woman dressed in red, her back arched, her eyes closed, her mouth open in anticipation.

To the left of her in small, inflammable text, “Paris is burning and only Private can control the inferno.”

On the back an endorsement, “No one gets this big…”

Inside, eight pages of endorsements from past lovers.

Their words on paper street corners,

Call to you.

Seduce.

Used, but not damaged.

Run your finger down the spine.

Let your gaze fall.

Let it linger on the dust jacket.

Be tempted,

Aroused by this word lingerie.

Will Jack Morgan and his elite team connect the dots before the smoldering power keg explodes?

Be the woman in red.

Light the match.

Burn.

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Chalk tallies on the board

Chalk outlines on the floor

The grisly math

13+9+5+32+5+7+27+6+4+9+17+10+4+21.

Doesn’t add up

The sum

Is more than we can bear.

The right to bear arms

Is the sum of us.

The second is the first

King of the Republic

Its assassins' sight set on us.

The scope of history

Nowhere to hide

When you’re always within range.

A dark theater

Will not conceal you

A church, mosque, synagogue

Hell on Earth

When the symbol of your religion

Is a crosshair.

Every school

A target

And all we have

Are words

Thoughts and prayers —

Blanks

Aimed at guns

Themselves wrapped in Kevlar and cowardice,

The latter,

Bulletproof.

The same lesson

Taught every year

A subject we know

But still fail the test.

And so the tally marks grow

The chalk outline

Drawn around a body

Its shape

A nation.

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It’s my birthday,

I don’t need a card,

Or tickets to a play,

No money please,

Or art for the yard.

I have one wish,

And it is this…

Say gay,

During the month of May.

Say gay,

To counter all the hate.

Say gay,

Coming from the Sunshine State.

Say gay,

While drinking a cabernet,

At a chalet,

With your fiancé.

Say gay,

While watching Bobby Flay.

Say gay,

While you belay.

Say gay,

While driving a Chevrolet.

Say gay,

Don’t obey.

Say gay,

It’s really not risque.

Say gay,

To Ron DeSantis.

Dumbo

Say gay,

He can kiss all the asses.

Say gay,

While eating a Benet,

While watching the film “JFK,”

While taking a survey,

While wearing a toupee,

While getting an x-ray.

Say gay,

In your house,

Or the home of Mickey Mouse.

Say gay,

Everyday,

It’s okay,

To say gay.

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