A SMUG POEM BY Mather Schneider

The belly-up guppy still moves his lips
at the stupid world
as if everyone should be ashamed
to be walking the land and breathing the air

because they are unsure
or because they are angry or hesitant
or have not heard of a particular
newly minted acronym or legalese footnote
or because they can see two
sides to things, or
many sides to things. God,
smugness must be

the ugliest of human attributes, show me desire
for sex or revenge, show me humiliation
or mutilation, show me
sadness, madness, will to power, will
to self-defeat, show me doubt, love, hate, show me
courage to confront Jesus show me anything
but smugness, anything but the social
media revolutionary in his transparent

gold suit, snob-slobbering his gob of 30 character all cap
dismissal, the pc hot issue
parrot-fish jogging behind
a baby stroller wearing Rush Limbaugh
earphones, or

the world-peace glib-flipper like a push-back
mob-peg bubbling
with delight at the slightest scent
of weakness from the man of the
wrong color, wrong mood, wrong opinion, of any man
alone, of any man
who is not perfectly comfortable
in a waterbed of dreadless quiet, of any man

out of whack,
of any man not stroking with the current, the smug
twitter-porpoise following
the pipers of American
this, American that, or the
liberal arts education steward, always
going with the numbers, the statistical cesspool, the MFA
soul sucking monster of smugness,
the spell-checker

of the soul, the rule-eel, t-crosser, the reference
pointer, precocious teenager
who has never had
his eyes dotted.

There is a slimy scaly hypocrite
within the smug man, there is always some
bed of coral
from which he speaks, while he enjoys his
food sprinkled to him daily,
even if he speaks
of being deprived,
even if he speaks of going hungry
it is a lie, a smug lie,
the smug man is a man for whom
the current system is functioning brilliantly
even if he preaches
change he wants nothing
of change, the smug man chuckles
his witty derision, as if he can hardly spare

a breath to belittle you, his salty pity, his
titters

reverberate
in the glass bowl
where he so happily, so smugly
floats.

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