American Addiction #69

They’re all strung out, man, on the same scratchy needle. 

Living on red income, strung out on next week’s deposit. A paycheck, a scrap of paper chasing its own tail. These are the jittery legs of the working class, the treadmill hearts pumping rent, groceries, utilities – bills like neon signs screaming against the night. One missed gear and the whole machine seizes, plunging into the cold sweats of eviction, repossession, the abyss of late fees.

paycheck to paycheck, a jittery fix for the rentman, the paper chase a vein pumping out thin green bills. They shuffle through the concrete canyons, faces like gaunt masks, pockets jangling with lint and desperation. Paycheck to paycheck, a treadmill of bills and bland calories. The rent a hungry maw, gobbling their meager hours. 

Landlords, strung on tenant blood, month to month, clinging to the rungs of the property ladder, a never-ending cycle of eviction notices and security deposits, a hollow echo in the roach-infested halls. Landlords themselves snagged in the same machine, month-to-month vultures circling a carcass of late fees and evictions. But their game’s rigged too, a pyramid scheme fueled by inflated housing and a gambler’s hope for ever-increasing rents. One market crash, one vacancy sign, and their whole kingdom crumbles to dust, revealing the hollow brick facade.

Up above, in chrome and glass aeries, the corporate leviathans bloat. Fat on subsidies and tax breaks, their arteries clogged with golden parachutes. The banks, chrome cathedrals with revolving doors, their insides a labyrinth of vaults and servers humming with the cold logic of profit. They mainline bailouts, taxpayer dollars turning into fat bonuses, lavish expense accounts. But the streets remember 2008. The biggest junkies of all, hooked on the sweet dragon of government bailouts, fattened on subsidies, their skyscrapers needles piercing the smog-choked sky. These giants are made of glass, and a well-thrown brick can bring the whole house of cards crashing down. Bailout to bailout, a monstrous addiction, their profits a glittering mirage in the desert of Main Street. They feed on the scraps of the paycheck people, leaving behind a trail of pink slips and shuttered factories.

The US of A., the ultimate fiend, high on war, forever chasing the dragon of global dominance, veins littered with depleted uranium and napalm, leaving a trail of burnt-out countries in its jittery wake. The government, a chrome-plated juggernaut, lurches from one war to the next.

Its belly fire stoked by lobbyists and jingoistic fervor. Blood and treasure fed into the insatiable gears, the cost of “freedom” measured in body bags and shredded economies. The boys come home in flag-draped boxes, their dreams shredded like shrapnel. The politicians, insulated in their marbled halls, never see the human cost, the ledgers filled with lives instead of dollars. But the bill comes due eventually, a national debt that cripples the future, a hangover from a war nobody remembers winning.

The media, a pack of hyenas, yap and cackle, their eyes fixed on the glittering prize of ratings. The people, a disoriented herd, hypnotized by the flickering screen, their dissent drowned out in the cacophony of manufactured crises.

These are the interconnected circuits of American malaise, a system wired for precarity, where everyone’s one paycheck, one vacancy sign, one bad investment away from the plug being pulled. A cut-up nightmare where the dream of security keeps dissolving in a haze of debt, war, and inflated housing. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up.

The system, a pusherman rigging the game, keeping them all hooked, paycheck, rent check, bailout check, a never-ending cycle of desperation feeding the machine. But somewhere, out there, a flicker, a cold turkey vision of a different fix, a society clean, where resources flow and survival ain’t a daily hustle. Maybe it’s a pipe dream, man, but someone’s gotta kick over the dealer’s table, smash the rig, and break the cycle.

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