Twenty Seventy-One

Eric Blair coughed out his last red breath
in 1950, but George Orwell
goes stumbling on through the nightlands of America,
a dead man’s pub crawl trying to drown
the rhythm of a stamping boot
and the claque’s counterpoint applause
in microbrewery bitters and too much Bud.
The White House says
the truth is one alternative,
we have always been at war with Mexico,
Emmanuel Goldstein might be any Syrian refugee.
The media malquotes the President.
If you love him, you know the crowds were huge.
Blair in a dream of English tea in the Swiss Alps
died on socialized sheets in Room 65,
but the lights are still on in Room 101
where the rats chew the wires, the cold war
between fact and fiction heating up fast.
Nothing can be trusted but a powerful man’s smile.
Orwell drinking tonight in a Boston sports bar
watches the news, watches nothing new.

Sonya Taaffe

Sonya Taaffe’s short fiction and poetry can be found most recently in the collection Ghost Signs (Aqueduct Press) and in the anthologies Heiresses of Russ 2016: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction, The Museum of All Things Awesome and That Go Boom, and An Alphabet of Embers: An Anthology of Unclassifiables. She lives in Somerville with her husband and two cats and once named a Kuiper belt object.

Photo Credit: Rob Noyes

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