A Portrait of America on Acid

Photograph by Jose Padua
It’s 2015 and everyone’s on acid.
That old guy with the straw hat and
cane who used to scream his way to
Main Street doesn’t drink anymore.
The one-armed cab driver who drove
into the attorney’s blue storefront office
doesn’t do coke nowadays, and the meth
addicts, well, they’re still doing meth,
but like everyone else, they’re doing acid,
too. Teenage Mothers on Acid is no longer
just a good name for a punk band, it’s a
good name for a non-profit organization.
And it’s not just here, it’s everywhere in
America. California nuns in black are
spending hours and hours listening to
the colors in their stained glass chapels,
Wisconsin cheese makers are staring down
vats of milk until they’re positive they’ve
separated them into curds and whey with
just the power of the acid in their eyes.
All the living ex-presidents are feeling
like world leaders again, ready to use
wah-wah pedals on our brains. Yeah,
get this: George W. Bush, totally fucked up,
tripping in Texas; Jimmy Carter, lusting
after LSD in Georgia and not just in his heart;
George Herbert Walker Bush vomiting
rainbows, psychedelic rainbows; and Bill
Clinton, singing, “Oh Oh Oh it’s my dick”
to as many of this year’s college graduates
as he can reach. Everyone named Doug,
everyone named Alicia, every farmer’s son
and every asshole with an MBA is now tripping;
all our thoughts are in the oven, rising, browning,
getting baked. In the stripes of the American flag
I see a truck with no wheels filled with food
that will never be eaten. Its stars drift and spin
and flicker as the food dissolves into fluorescent
light and the truck begins to move, illuminating
the streets for at least the next mile or two.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua


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