All the Maniacs are gone

And no one's left to argue the obvious like Hunter S. Thompson,
or explore the extreme like Allen Ginsberg, and Timothy Leary.

Kerouac would piss on the prophets of today
with their cookie-cutter verse and perfect punctuation.

Who's going to guide us into the abstract urging enlightenment
each word of the way, forging further than sacred necessities,

traditional wisdom and the extremities of exact conversation?
Without Bukowski, who will escort us into the heart of the whore

or down alley ways where the minimum is more than enough to escape
a world of escalating confusion which has became middle-of-the-road?

Jimi, Janis, and the Lizard King opened a void still unfulfilled decades
after their demises left the musical landscape desolate and confused of direction.

Without John who will urge us to imagine a perfect world?
We have endured too long without the confessional freedom

of artists unafraid to bare their emotional baggage.
We need the blunt and abrasive language of Larry Brown

and the recklessness of Kurt Cobain, or we are doomed
to the robotic structure of greed and unoriginality

until someone rises from the stench of corporate
monotony and expands the media past the production line

plethora of bad poetry and a strong bass line.
Where is our messenger to offer encouragement

in these uncertain times that the written word or an immaculate
melody can still be considered a voice for the ages?

Just Another Rodeo

Sprawled naked in a ditch like a rape victim
afraid to report the crime.
Hollow as a politician's promise
and practical as a coat of paint
on a condemned house.

A relic of the past same as affordable housing
and livable wages.
Its future's blood saturates
foreign soil everyday
camouflaged as freedom.

A myth perpetrated by public officials,
guided by greed and believable as a B-grade movie.
A tale to entertain the masses
as the world we know
evaporates before our eyes.

Once a commodity within reach
for even the uneducated
who paid taxes
saved pennies and was willing
to work overtime.

A shadow as the percentage on the pedestal
dwindles and the influx of foreign labor
falsely projects growth margins
and boasts a ruptured economy
while reducing wages.

Tumbling shortly after the towers
when our leaders sold us short
with intimidation by shoving alarm
into the headlines and reaping
the rewards of remorse.

The erosion will continue
until this arrogant administration
rides into the sunset
enabling a new sheriff
to recapture the shredded hope

and the American dream
again becomes more
than just another rodeo,
too exorbitant
for the ordinary.

Jason Kelly Richards was born in Kentucky in a classic year for Chevrolets,
raised in North Carolina during the best decade of music and is currently
planning his escape from the Sunshine State. His work has appeared in many
publications including The Chiron Review Pearl, PoetsCanvas, ThunderSandwich,
UnderGround Voices and several others.

2007 Underground Voices