Dictator

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Who here amongst us is as we speak dying of a hair through the throat? I ask you, come forward with your stories. The podium, it is wide clear. Yes who here is dying of a hair through the throat and did it start subtly with a tickling? Is your heart there all skipping a beat or stuttering? Are the knots of your spine all knotting together or screeching together like chalk? Squeaking like cotton on teeth? Come, now, speak!

Your hands they are stuffed in your pockets. Your feet, all planted or tapping. Your silence it is filling up my nostrils to their brims all puffy, and cozy, and plump. You are standing there stale-mouthed like just after naptime and your armpits they are dry and smelly! Your flatulence it is coming out, stinging from your butt cheeks, sharp and smelling of butter, slightly old!

But the hair is tickling your lung now is it not, yes subtly. Your lung that is full to the brim. The hair through your throat is rolling along that lung’s rim, it is sliding like a lady’s finger on a glass of liquid’s rim, a sexy lady licking her lips. Her mouth curved all up in a smile. And she slides her other hand now down her gangly neck as her lids they lift and as the whites of her eyes they widen—

Friends each of us has this little lady inside us all tickling hurting and seducing slowly. And friends as I stand up here today I am glad to say that she is not by any one of us neglected! Yes friends she is not by any one of us left there lonely because We Know How to Use Our Time. Yes when the chores are done and the mess has been made, when the wives and the pets are padded and patted, my friends we know! that It Is Time! To Get Sick!

Yes I see you now you sea of headaches. Of nauseas. Of constipations and diarrheas. Of sweaty palms and dizzy spells I see you in your depressions and your anxieties. In your waking dreams and runny noses. In your red eyes and your rashes and above all in your itchy itchy throats and I know, oh I know, I know in my throbbing heart that you’ve not missed a single thing! My friends not one of us has missed a single bodily thing and oh it fills my chest so puffy proud!

For friends tell me this tell me, Does A Watched Pot Boil? Does It Boil, my friends? For generation on generation, we have known the answer. And we know! how! to slow this strain. We know, how, to calm our hearts. We know how to watch and how to prevent all that bubbling, we know how to stop all that heat and that hurt, we know how to save ourselves. We watch and we know, we see every sizzle, we watch yes my friends and with our watching, yes, we slow!

My friends I Will Never! Stop! Getting Sick! Even now as I speak the crusties crowd my eyes they are stinging, yes, like the eczema on my neck, they are thick like the scabs on my mosquito bites, they are green like my hair from the chlorine in the showers they are real like you, and you, and you, and yes! like all of the pain that you feel!

Friends Are You Alright! Yes Are You Alright? Tell me, say it, tell me it loud, tell me, tell it me, tell it to me friends, reach into my pores, reach into my throat, reach, down, deep into my lungs, spread your fingers rough and smooth spread them and let your nails catch my friends, have you caught a single thing? Have you caught, now, anything at all?

Stop, oh, please. Please, oh stop the applause. I see you and I hear and I very much I thank you. Thank you, oh yes, thank you. Thank you for your voices please yes now here on the podium. On the podium, yes, now you. Please the podium it’s thorough clear it is opened. It is opening yes to you. To you it is spreading. My voice it is ringing, for centuries through our headphones it’s been all alone sounding a horse in a wild ring galloping an inner red mouth scream-tight gurgling, it is time, yes, for you. Come up, now, and speak—

Theo Ellin Ballew

About Theo Ellin Ballew

Theo Ellin Ballew has gone home to Los Angeles, CA; Baltimore, MD; Cincinnati, OH; Scottsdale, AZ; Tempe, AZ; Fresno, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Salt Lake City, UT; New Haven, CT; Cambridge, MA; Dallas, TX; Brooklyn, NY; and Denver, CO, in roughly that order. She currently lives in Mexico City, where she writes prose, some of which she programs to be mobile. She is the founder and director of ORAL (oral.pub/), which publishes digital language art from Mexico and the U.S., all translated into/from English/Spanish. Information about where her work has been published or shown can be found at theo.land/.

Theo Ellin Ballew has gone home to Los Angeles, CA; Baltimore, MD; Cincinnati, OH; Scottsdale, AZ; Tempe, AZ; Fresno, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Salt Lake City, UT; New Haven, CT; Cambridge, MA; Dallas, TX; Brooklyn, NY; and Denver, CO, in roughly that order. She currently lives in Mexico City, where she writes prose, some of which she programs to be mobile. She is the founder and director of ORAL (oral.pub/), which publishes digital language art from Mexico and the U.S., all translated into/from English/Spanish. Information about where her work has been published or shown can be found at theo.land/.

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