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Manifest Destiny

Written over a week travelling across California, Manifest Destiny is a long-form poem exploring life in the United States one year after the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

Part I Highway










I love this country.

This country loves me.

Your body is disgusting.


The streets stink of caramelised piss


Air conditioned heaven. Air freshened paradise.

Melancholy sits on me with no extra weight.


Fascism is a virus

It morphs

It memes.


Ominous arches overhead


From out of the fog


Driving for miles through the desert


Rusted fences

Drooping flags

Green light

Red signs


I want to love you with very part of myself

You were ugly to me

You still are






All One




These are the



Redwood liberty

Luther Standing Bear


Life is easy

Watching TV

And never working very hard

Amounting to nothing much at all

To be forgotten in small town dystopias

Like this.

Part II  Valley

Golden tarmac

Blackened sunshine


Heavy water

Weighted rain drops

Crack and seep through the windscreen

Filtered mineral water


Rips in reality

Running in parallel

To eternal telegraph poles

Stretching across the desert


Mist and brown cows

Dotting the valley


Black cloud spitting electricity


The trees are uprooted.

They walk across the landscape

In the shape of my shadow

With satnavs growing from their branches


The water carves and cuts the earth.

It is the only God here.

It brings life and eventually death.


The flag billows

Drenched in black water.

I want to set it alight so I feel warmth

That isn’t heat.

Black water beckons the flame.

It will destroy America.


The earth is dead.

We’re crossing its husk.


100,000 connections per second.


I count telegraph poles.

If I fell climbing rocks

Down into the ravine

Would any passerby

Hear the crack of my neck

On the neighbouring freeway?


My bones would join the earth.

I would die cradled in America’s corpse,

My foreign blood would join theirs.


Telegraph poles.


A single cloud hovers 700 feet

At the centre of the valley floor.

Nothing surrounds it.

An unidentified flying object.

The government are experimenting with its camouflage technology.

It’s not very good.


The Rockies have Everest aspirations,

In the distance they seem impressive.

Yet I am a speck in this epic landscape.


I am but a cell incarcerated within the New Colossus.

Part III  Yosemite

They are undeserving of Nature’s fertility,

The beauty in her carcass.


The trees that couldn’t run remain;

Their charred trunks stand as monuments to what they once were.

The soil restlessly strays in their shadow as sand.

White and black tombstones the birds

Don’t dare to rest upon to escape

The scorching sun.


I weep for the mountain face

And it gladly lets my tears

Permeate its rock

And give life to the empty river beds.

The ugliness of the jagged rocks

Exudes greatness.

Towering pines still emigrating between

The twin peaks.

As long as they keep moving they won’t be killed.

Not yet.


That American mentality of conquering Nature.


My sole tear has swollen deep inside the bed rock

Releasing a flood to sweep the plain

And fill the valley.

Cascading from the mountain face itself

Jets of cool aqua explode into the charcoal of dead wood standing solitary.

Trickles become streams becoming rivers.


The sand washes away.

Colour returns to the dead land briefly

And the mountain rises up above me

In appreciation.

Momentarily man and rock understand one another.

But then the moment passes,

The water dissipates, evaporates,

The colour drains

And the mountain sinks back into the dead planet.


The monolith was temporary.

An illusion of life that truly is merely a parasite, preying on the emotion

Of those who stop

And mourn.


They do not care for your green fingertips,

Only the slices of green we carry amongst ourselves

As if they would protect you

When all they care for is their greed.


Run trees run.

Flee the flames.

Don’t become tombstones like your unfallen brothers and sisters.

You must live elsewhere.

You must cross the ocean.

We cannot let you burn.

Part IV  711

My veins are filled with cola,

Vanilla flavoured acid burning through my body.

Flickering fluorescence shapes the room.

Thousands of refrigerators all vending different combinations of syrup and poison.

Rotting sweetener hangs in the air,

Fifty calories consumed per breath.

I want a coke.

Or a pepsi.

Or a lemonade.

Of sorts.

Part V  Desert

I caught a group of people at the edge of my vision

And turned to watch them sell their wares to the motor fumes.

I raised a hand to wave and offered a smile

But they glowered back;

They thought I hated their existence on the dirt track at the edge of my vision,

At the edge of the highway

With their cherries.

The sky is sad and I am sad with it,

Bloodshot eyes hazing over the world.

These people are just like me

But I am not one of them.

I believe in the beauty of this country.

Nature’s a parasite.

Part VI  Coast

I’m searching the deepest recess of my mind for some kind of feeling.

The mist creeps atop the ocean


Waves crash into jagged rocks piercing the

Endless expanse of blue

At the edge of the world.

Yet, still, telegraph poles.

The land crumbles to dust,

The sea its Titan

Exerting the greatest power on earth:


I speed along the precipice

So close to complete consumption


Perhaps this is where I’ll die.

At least that would be poetic.


An unmarked underwater mausoleum

Formed out of coral

Where my sunken ribcage

Is home to hosts of sardines.

Feeding on my meat they grow to 16 inches,

Double the worth I once was

But soon they will be caught

And killed

And canned

And fed to smaller men.

Part VII  Los Angeles

There’s lust in the freeway.

Our love is in atomic decay

He strangles her and his friends laugh

Our relationship is irreparable

I pray for anonymity

From coastal vultures

I pray for anonymity

From older lovers

I pray for anonymity

There’s death in these beaches

I want to suck the barrel of a shotgun

Long deep strokes until the bullet

Bursts through my teeth.

I plant the shattered shards of enamel

In the fertile soils of Southern California

So they may grow as native trees

Promising hope to the faithless

To do as I have done for immortality.

I want to ride motorbikes

Breathing into your neck

You and I are one

The air touches and passes our one body

As It never will onlookers like me

In my four wheeled metal cage

I love my country.

It won’t love a foreigner

A bench would be sweet

So that I could sit

And ponder mortality

You own me America

You control me

What an ugly place to jump

What an ugly place to die

Poverty isn’t permitted to fester here

Among the palms and freshly cut lawns

And sprinklers

For the flowers

The flowers have angry faces inside of them

Just as Warhol designed

I look down to see my torso covered in blood

Hooked metal talons have torn open my chest

And my muscles and sinews dribble down my abdomen.

The eagle looks on, esurient



It too suffers here in paradise.

An eternal hurt in sinister rays

I miss the rain

And the chill of late autumn cries

The landscape of my mind is no longer genuine

The landscape of my mind was never genuine

The city cries

I stick my knife into it again

And I stab, and I stab, and I stab

Tragedy, ecstasy, doom:

The Human Experience

Consuming this product may cause joy

The water smells so good

So fresh and

So free

Will androids dream of electric sheep?

Let me rip open my chest

Snapping my ribs

So I may remove my lungs

And connect them to the automobile’s engine

They will absorb the fumes

The smog might clear

America could be beautiful again.

But I can’t perform open heart surgery,

Or pay for it,

For myself or for this country.

I shake with terror

At the fear of ever leaving this

Cruel world.

Waste, waste, waste.

I’ll give you my money,

I’ll give you my hand,

I need to be forgiven for stealing your land

Take every single part of myself

American dreams of lacklustre summers

Human beings are ugly creatures

They won’t even look at me now

But at least I made it

I’m flying with angels.

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