Issue 100 - Ross White

STANDARD COURSE OF STUDY
by Ross White

There is no history of accord,
only one of cruelty---
if the goat calms the stallion,
then debtors will clip wires
or thrash the thick cypress fence
to steal the goat---
if the stallion loses by a leg,
the debtors will be jailed---
if the prisoners riot,
the guards will quell violence
with riot gas and side-handle batons---

Still, imagine how droll
the high school textbooks rewritten
to chronicle an affable people---
The shook hands and massaged each other's shoulders,
they dressed in corduroy pantaloons
to serenade each other from balconies---

Imagine the cruelties we might have to imagine
to keep ourselves engaged---
snakebites, beds of nails,
mild electric shocks---