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by Greg Farnum
sunday news with asterisk

you may already be a winner


Sunday News with Asterisk


Big SUVs stare at me from the paper
threatening to leap of the page
and the words…the type…
bold as a megaphone sounding in the plane of paper
’98 JEEP
SE 4X4
and below, these words:

Air conditioning, soft top, tilt steering with speed control, AM/FM radio. Gauge group, tachometer, floor mats, 2.5 liter engine, 5 speed transmission, high back bucket seats, folding rear seat, rear carpet, cargo net, power steering, power brakes, soft top. Convenience Group and Console and much more.

specialized discourse
communication communication communication.
And the price?
$16, 772**
(** just add tax – a friendly little recipe/injunction
like "season to taste" or "all you need to add is
the love.")
Comparatively cheap; the pictures below,
looming in their black and white military formidableness, begin to grow: $24,680**
$26, 706**
and the like;
even the asterisks are inflated,
and the ones off the page – other makes
from other dealers, climb even higher,
rising up to the heart, the brain,
the memory…
the death squads in El Salvador used these things
before they became known as SUVs
(so ominously right, that seemed to me at the time,
given their spectral violence and air of command hidden by
fancy paint jobs and colorful names.)
A trademark.
And the death squads in Guatemala?
In Honduras Colombia Argentina Brazil?
What expensive vehicles did they use?
What are they using now?
Something with air conditioning, tilt steering with speed control,
AM/FM radio

Folding rear seat and rear carpet (easily cleaned)?

Optional CD players now a must?

Ce vaste enfer qui cerne leur miniscule ciel privé leur est interdit. Au-delà des frontières du privilège, s’étend une zone de terreur où les gens sont nombreux, laids, sales et dangereux. A l’âge de la globalisation, les enfants riches n’appartiennent à nulle part. Ils grandissent sans racines, dépouillés d’identité nationale, avec, en guise de sens social, la certitude que la réalité est une menace. Leur patrice sont les marques de prestige universal…

Eduardo Galeano, "La guerre aux pauvres," Le Monde Diplomatique, August 1996.

Want more info?
That’s easy.
Just travel to the bottom of the page
where the following useful codes can be found:

(248) 889-8989                        www.rosejeep.com

Near these handy ciphers, a box headed NO NONSENSE DISCLAIMER
-- within, important information from Chrysler Corporation
on terms and conditions (with asterisk).



        *** Governments not responsible for the crimes of their agents or allies.

**** Global corporations not responsible for the societies they help create or destroy.

sunday news with asterisk
you may already be a winner


Good news!
today’s mail,
along with its usual quota of overdue bills,
brought a letter from the IMF.
My wife thought it was another one of those
credit card solicitations at first
or maybe Ed McMahon;
"No," I told her, "look at that signature,
some French guy.
And look at the amount!"
She just about died when she saw it:


deposited to our account.
(Still a bit unclear as to how much of it
we can actually
but it’s enough to pay off our bills
[plus a thousand years of compound interest].)
All we have to do
is agree to a few simple Reforms:

          1.Starve the children

          2. Sell everything we own

          3. Discard my white shirts and ties and

          don once colorful native rags

          4. Learn to make creative use of

          second-hand sheet metal

          5. Play vibrant music

          born from the depths of

          (human spirit ever triumphant) poverty and


          6. Maintain strict discipline

("Rubber bullets to arrive in the next mail,
an array of (non-lethal!) gases to follow.")

"Sounds like a good deal,"
I told my wife, "where do we sign?"
She was a bit hesitant (at first),
misplaced scruples (a woman’s way);
she got over it (women do).
The truck with the notarized
proof of the money
is on the way,
along with CIA/Israeli-trained security forces
(ours to command). The kids
took everything the wrong way,
yelled and screamed
(that awkward age);
how many calories do they need?
No matter,
the commandos have just rushed in the door.
They’re mounting the steps…
[sound of door being splintered]
teddy bear limbs everywhere,
the kids’ cap guns and weenie forks no match.
And those scientific interrogation techniques
(it’s been proven) are not really harmful.
We count our zeros;
they mount.


          has already filed its

                                                  (largely positive)


          and the sound of wailing has


died away…


©1998 Greg FarnumGreg Farnam

As Greg tells us: I was copyrighted in Detroit, Michigan, in 1949, and grew up there and in surrounding communities, spending my high school years in Dearborn, a town which figures in Celine's Journey to the End of Night. Several years followed of army, university and dead end jobs (office boy, soil tester, ice cream man, junk mail peddler, etc.) before I got married and gained a white collar skill (technical writing) to support my family. I've been writing for several years...poetry, fiction, plays...and am now beginning to be read, a fact for which I am both delighted and grateful. My short stories appear in the 1998 Italian anthology UOMINI E VIZI; a collection of my stories is scheduled to be brought out in Italy in 1999, and I've just completed a novel entitled The Event.

sunday news with asterisk   |  you may already be a winner
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