Captain America is Dead


By Larry Duncan

Captain America is dead.
The country mourns
in choreographed amusement
to the Dub Step funeral
march of garden gnomes
and the grand marshal
ghost of Lincoln,
dragging his axe.
While the aging body
double of JFK loses
his last imprinted
memories of Marilyn
to the plucky blonde bombshell
nurse of the last soap
opera serial, the electrocardiogram
surrendering its carnival
of peaks and valleys
to the siren of surface,
to the monotonic
ever-reaching field of flat-line.

Captain America is dead.
And no one’s afraid
of the bomb anymore,
opting instead for the slow
sensuous suicide of second
by second social network celebrity.
The streets are filled
with rapturous mobs
crowned by kaleidoscope
candy colored eyes
and wearing the emperor’s
old clothes, trampling
each other for door buster
deals on flat screen hyper-reality.
The axis of the world
spun in reverse without
Superman’s help.
But there’s no going back,
no saving Lois.
Time didn’t follow the spin.
It stood still.
The record skips again and again,
the single, worn-out note
mocking the song.

Captain America is dead.
The eulogy given
by The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,
bringing us almost to remember tears
when he turned to the closed
casket and whispered,
“She’s your girl, now.”
Rhetoric only the fundamentalist believe,
rapt in the Pentecostal fervor
like lilies in the breeze,
like epileptic children,
because these truths we hold
to be self-evident…
that all men are created equal
under the ubiquitous
shadow of Campbell Soup
since the assembly line fired
and every thread
got wrapped in its turnstile
until we forgot the use of hands.

Previously appeared in Citizens for Decent Literature #6 and Crossroads of Stars and White Lightning.

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