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J A C K E T   #   T E N  
O C T O B E R   1 9 9 9


Charles Harper Webb

What We Believe


Jesus was not the Son of God. He was a yogi
who tranced out on the cross - a fanatic like Jim
Jones or David Koresh, with better publicity.

President Kennedy was killed by the Cubans,
the Russians, the C.I.A.; Lee Harvey Oswald
was paid to take the fall. A group of evil

scientists created AIDS to wipe out Blacks,
dope addicts, homosexuals. Drug companies
quash cures to keep their profits high.

God is a Big Man with a white beard who sees us
when we're sleeping, who knows when we're awake.
There is no God; there's just Physics, which couldn't

care less if a sparrow falls. Ours is the greatest,
best-governed country in the world, and needs
a top-to-bottom overhaul. Rodney King was high

on angel dust when the cops beat him.
He'd learned, in jail, a way to leap up
from the ground and break a cop's neck instantly.

O.J. Simpson was framed by the L.A.P.D.
Laws are made to keep the powerful that way.
Religions are all superstition except ours.

Democracies and dictatorships, coups and counter-
coups are smoke-screens. Corporations rule.
The letters in our names control our lives.

A New Mexico army base hides the remains
of crashed space aliens. They have large heads,
small bodies, glowing eyes. They're linked

to human evolution, ancient Egypt, The Flood,
Easter Island, Incas, Aztecs, Mayans, and the Deficit.
Their ship is made of silvery metal impervious

to any force on earth. They want either to save us
from ourselves, or to destroy us utterly.
Everything worked better in the Golden Age.


Charles Harper Webb’s book Reading the Water won the 1997 Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His most recent book, Liver, won the Felix Pollak Prize and was published in 1999 by the University of Wisconsin Press. He is the editor of Stand Up Poetry: The Anthology and recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award. He teaches at California State University, Long Beach.


J A C K E T  # 10 
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