Presser: The Complicity Effect

     - "An ordinary steam-iron
     to the soles of the feet
     gains the fastest confession."
 Creased and stiff-armed, I'm ratcheting up a notch
 for the Big One -
 I believe I can make it to the morning
 I'll rise and suffer no invidious rank
 against certain well-off friends facing their wardens,
 the legion that dealt them a share of the pillage:
 the usual
 flaming bank-account rain-killer genocide specialists
 and cargo-cult injectors, split-toothed & spayed
 eunuchs of the Corporation, gold trim oxygen-rapists,
 eraserheads and...
 a special detachment assigned to deform tastes;
 Between the killer-Yups
 and the well-informed in their uniform musics,
 "alternative" equals rebellion gone platinum,
 the last trend under one flagging conscience
 seen first on Ed Sullivan and later under an artificial sky
 near you, your piped-in sensitivities
 copyright Hearst and Knight, the blue suits'
 pre-digested nouvelle sustenance
 for the pitless stomach;
 Sometimes good, even great people thicken & cake
 like milk stars gone sour
    in the middle of the night
 amber's primeval winged insect
 lies shorn of the moral authority its sufferance warranted
 but for the money
    on a frozen comfort-wheel
 they vet expectancies residual from the Cave;
 I'm ragged and shopworn till I drop
 but I've not got the disease in spades,
 trademark glass-faced Rubicon starch-monger-
 change-loaded, push-button convertible top
 $200/hour schizoid go-bot with three distinct wardrobes,
 mistaking career & conformity for risk,
 they tell me I'll soon temp'n'shuck
 for the President,
 make notes on my succession;
 Don't hold your sucked breath
    Bill, wontcha loan me some sweet child's labor
 and innocence?
 a low moan from a dank chamber?
 one gang of logo-ed, private jail slaves?

John Noto is a poet and essayist living in San Francisco. His writing recently appeared in the CTHEORY book, Digital Delirium, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997. He is editor-in-chief of a new literary magazine, Orpheus Grid.