When the Government Wasn’t Run By Clowns
Jose Hernandez Diaz
A man in a Pink Floyd shirt went to the library downtown. He checked out a book about the government. He was trying to figure it all out. The government was run by men from the planet Jupiter. Apparently, one must be 5.88 trillion years old to run for office. The head of the government is a clown with an axe. Every now and then he juggles the axe when he’s drunk on his own power. The clown with the axe is running for reelection. He holds rallies and parades with mastodons, tarantulas, and puppets. The man in a Pink Floyd shirt puts the book down in horror. He drinks his coffee. He writes a poem on the back of his hand. It’s about the government, yes, but also hope. It’s called “When the Government Wasn’t Run By Clowns.”
A man in a Pink Floyd shirt rode the Ferris wheel at the local fair. He smoked a cigarette as he went around in circles. He saw the pier in the distance. He dreamed of learning to surf. Maybe next weekend, he thought. He continued smoking as he went around in circles. No one else was on the ride. It was a Wednesday afternoon.
The man in a Pink Floyd shirt eventually got off the ride. He then went on the bumper cars. He played the ring toss even though he thought it was probably a scam. He won a giant neon-pink teddy bear! He had a great time, overall. At sunset, he pulled out a notebook and wrote his recently deceased mother a letter:
Dear mother, I miss the times we spent together laughing, fighting, singing, but most of all, I miss the times we spent at the fair. I am here, tonight, alone. I won a giant teddy bear. I will take it to your grave, tomorrow morning. Te quiero mucho, The Man in a Pink Floyd Shirt.
A man in a Chicano Batman shirt rode a lowrider bicycle on the ocean waves. He was not on acid. He was not dreaming. He was actually riding a bicycle on the water. He is not Jesus. He is not a demon. He was literally pedaling on the sea. He is not a hologram. He is not a myth. He was definitely riding a bike on the ocean waves. It is not surreal. It is not a metaphor. I saw it. It really happened. It was on a Tuesday.
Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is from Southern California. He is the author of The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020). His work appears in APR, BLVD, Iowa Review, The Nation, Poetry and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. Currently, he is an Associate Editor at Frontier and Palette Poetry.