Pemberton: Land of Kings and Sinners – Alia Hakki

Pemberton, Austin, eleven at night.
A hybrid Prius bounces over the uneven roads.
An empty, red soda can is flung at a local politician’s car.
“We want our bodies back!” screams the driver.
The policeman parked in the driveway retrieves the can from the cut lawn,
wiping the garage door with his suede glove.
Any evidence of disorder is eliminated,
the shriek of the young woman is forgotten.
The can is the vassal of an oppressed generation,
invading the enemy only to be muted by law.

Pemberton, Austin, six in the morning.
A blonde’s newly manufactured boobs bounce over the uneven roads.
She returns to a home reeking of resentment and infidelity,
perfumed by diamond encrusted coasters and monogrammed towelettes.
The stench of her son’s self-hatred is masked by the aroma of hair gel.
Any evidence of discontent is camouflaged,
and the doors are shut in silence.
The house is a corpse, the rotting of hushed secrets hidden beneath familiarity.

Pemberton, Austin, seven in the morning.
The cigarettes on the dashboard of a paving machine bounce
as the uneven roads are made level and correct.
The trophy wives in nearby houses lock their cars,
Hiding behind retractable linen blinds and million dollar doorbell cameras.
Any evidence of imperfection is obliterated.
The divide between those who can and cannot is restored.
The road is the conquered land in a war waged on vulnerability.

About the Author: My name is Alia Hakki, and I’m a 2nd year English/ Political Science Student at UCLA. Before moving to LA, I lived in Austin, Texas, spending my entire childhood embracing the Austin and rejecting the Texas. I’m an avid reader, thespian, and pancake enthusiast.

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