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 reads dead languages and tells living stories. Her short fiction and poetry have been collected most recently in the Lambda-nominated Forget the Sleepless Shores (Lethe Press) and previously in Singing Innocence and Experience, Postcards from the Province of Hyphens, A Mayse-Bikhl, and Ghost Signs. She lives with her husband and two cats in Somerville, Massachusetts, where she writes about film for Patreon and remains proud of naming a Kuiper belt object.

Photo Credit: Rob Noyes

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