Mental Contagion

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Featured Poet & Writer

Dr. Sluice • Cannon Falls, MN

About the Writer
Dr. Sluice was born in the place that he was,
this is for certain, and this is because
the place he was born is the place that it is,
and his birthplace is surely the one that is his.

The date of his birth happened right at that time,
not sooner or later – that’s reason and rhyme.
He could not be timelier, in his fine timely way,
he arrived just in time for his first own birthday.

The date of his death hasn’t happened quite yet,
though someday it will, that’s a pretty sure bet,
and if there’s a date then there must be a place
most likely somewhere in dimensional space.

This is not the work of Dr. Suess,
whose wonderful mind once roamed loose
enchanting children of three generations
with bronglers, ramfoodles, and conspicual spulations,
all obliquely disguised as mere fanciful creations --
yet were insightfully incisive social observations.

Dr. Sluice is a work of parody,
the best you’ll get from a hack like me.
As parody is legal, litigation is useless,
but we need publicity, so sue us, please sue us.

If I Ran The Media
“In all the whole world,
the most prominent spot
is the place I will buy,
if they let me or not.
Because I’d choose what I pick,
and I could pick what I choose,”
said old Rupert McMurdoch,
"...if I wrote the news."

“If money can speak,
then my money yells
even louder than the
Bush Family’s oily cartels,
louder than your Liberal
louder than that S.O.B.
F.C. and C.”

“My money spreads hatred
like butter on bread.
My money spreads lies
like lice on your head.
I led you to war with
 no rhyme and no reason,
your children to die from
the crime of my treason.”

“How do I do it?
How do I persuade
for rights to be lost
and war to be made?
For rich to get richer
and richest and then
richedester and richedester
with no sight of end?”

“For poor to get poorer a
and poorest and bled
from homeless to starving
to sickly to dead?
How do I do it,
your values upturned?
Here’s how I do it,
here’s what I’ve learned…”

“ ‘Keep messages simple
so all comprehend
right down to the lowest
of the low bottom end.’
Words of Tom Jefferson?
Al Hamilton?
No!  Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler,
page one eighty one.”

“ ‘Make the lie big,
make it simple, keep saying it,
and folks will believe it,
start braying and praying it.’
Words of Ben Franklin
or George Washington?
No! Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler,
page one eighty one.”

“ ‘Steer clear of the head,
and burn deep the brand
to the gut to the heart
to the palm of my hand.’
Abraham Lincoln?
James Madison?
Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler,
page one eighty one.”

“So This Way!  Tune in!
This way, ladies and gents!
Your indoctrination
is about to commence!
I’ve O’Reilly, O’Hannity
and Brit Hume’s square head.
I wish I had Goebbels,
it’s too bad he’s dead!”

“My show never ends,
it’s always beginning.
My Spin Masters spin
while they grin at their spinning.
Apologists smirk as they
work on their smirking,
and somewhere in there,
somehow, something is lurking…”

“Lurking and skulking
and taking its pleasure
in taking your temperature,
taking your measure.
Measure by measure.
Ounce by ounce.
Ready and steady
and ready to pounce…”

“You won’t know what hit you,
when right in your face,
the Corporate Oligarchy
will be firmly in place.
I choose what you pick,
and I pick what you choose,”
said old Rupert McMurdoch,
“…when I write the news.”

The Zoloft
(to the meter of "The Lorax")

At the near end of town
where green fades to brown,
and brown fades to gray,
and then just fades away…

The Zoloft lives there,
but he just doesn’t care,
isn’t happy or sad or angry or glad,
none of life’s injustices make him feel mad.

He’s controlled and kept quiet and peaceful at bay
by a monitored dosage from Pharmco, USA,
a subservient subsidiary of Pharmco, International,
and diversified division of Pharmco, Galactical,
all unified under the Universal Umbrella
of Pharmco Cosmological (that’s BIG Business, fellah!).

But The Zoloft was not always so listless and grim,
once blissfully list-full with vigorous vim,
from his list-full of things that he thought he should do,
he did each and every thing through-er than through.
And from his list-full of things that he should not “to do,”
he didn’t do any, or at least very few.

He was active and reactive, hyperactive as well,
back in the days of which you’re hearing me tell,
when Pharmco wasn’t Universal or Galactic at all,
just a small Village Pharmco in a small town’s town mall.

Where Pfizer O’Bristol O’Merck did work
in mid-middle management, a glorified clerk
who thought that the money he made was too small.
He was very disgruntled, with no gruntles at all.

Disgruntled, displeased, distracted, plain-dissed,
one day he skipped work ‘cause he would not be missed,
and happened to happen upon a rally by chance,
where The Zoloft was speaking for the Puffala Plants.

On The Zoloft’s long list of things he should do,
somewhere near the middle of page forty-two,
was to speak for the Pointy-Peaked Puffala Plants
(and the Puffers who puffed them just by happenstance).

The rally The Zoloft was addressing and impressing
was rallied against rules the ralliers thought repressing :
may-nots and should-nots and do-nots and can’ts
pertaining to the Pointy-Peaked Puffala Plants.

These may-nots and should-nots, don’ts, can’ts and more
were enforced by the Big Bloated Blue-Bellied Boar.
This Big Boar would firmly, yet kindly, insist
that those who puffed Puffala would in-kindly desist,
but if Puffers preferred to in-kindly persist,
the Big Boar would slap them, not unkindly, on the wrist...

But, back to our story, where Pfizer did lurk,
watching the rally with a cynical smirk,
keeping the tally while deep in his head
the germ of a seed of a thought was soon bred.

In the sound all around were the words of the Zoloft,
who was holding a pot, with a Puffala,  aloft…

“The Pentangular Pointy-Peaked Puffala Plants
cause no one no harm, this is our stance,
and Puffers who puff them harm nobody’s cause
and yet they fall victim to antiquated laws.”

“Puffers are peaceful, that should be enough,
and the reason they puff the stuff that they puff
is to soften the edge when they’re having hard times,
they should not be wrist-slapped for victimless crimes.”

Deep in deep thought, Pfizer O’Bristol O’Merck,
with a pocketful of Puffala returned to his work,
to the lab where his colleague, Johnson O’Glaxo O’Abbott
was endeavoring, empirically, to torture a rabbit.

And Pfizer O’Bristol O’Merck soon attained
thoughts from the best parts of O’Abbott’s brain.
Deductive and logical, he logically deduced
how the essence of Puffala could be re-produced,
re-configured, re-packaged and re-named at will,
and patented by Pharmco in the form of a pill.


With no second thought, Pfizer forth he did sally
to go see the Zoloft, still back at the rally,
“Hey you, Zoloft dude,” he called out from the floor,
“Here’s something new you can be speaking out for…”

“The essence of Puffala I did distill
and condense and compress into this compact pill,
this marvelous pill which I call the Thnill,
which makes you get better even if you’re not ill,
cures everyone’s worries and everyone’s pain,
and greatly enhances my capital gain.”

“You spoke out of softening edges,” he said,
“my Thnill will remove all the edges instead,
no surfaces, angles, no curves and no points,
no huffing nor puffing, no need to roll joints.
Think of it, Zoloft! No edges at all!
No edges, no anything, nothing at all!”

“The Thnill cures depression, baldness and Stinkfoot,
sadness and madness and Rotten Canal Root,
dysfunctions and syndromes of expanding amount -
as we make them up faster than we ever could count,
like Shaky Ear Syndrome and Dysfunctional Toe,
Overdone Liver and Leaky Left Elbow,
and scariest of all, that dreaded conjunction
of Dysfunctional Syndrome and Syndromic Dysfunction.”

Phizer then did prudently (and legally) amend,
“Please note that the Thnill might rely or depend…”

“It may cause depression, baldness and Stinkfoot,
sadness and madness and Rotten Canal Root,
Shaky Ear Syndrome and Dysfunctional Toe,
Overdone Liver and Leaky Left Elbow,
and maybe but maybe-er not the conjunction
of Dysfunctional Syndrome and Syndromic Dysfunction.”

The Zoloft, left speechless, was lost for a word,
to describe what he’d heard was far too absurd.
He gathered his thoughts, his self and his wits,
and shouted aloud with sputtering spits,


“Why would anyone pay for your damn fool Thnill,
at twenty-eight dollars per dosage (per pill),
when the Puffala Plant grows abundant and free
(perhaps watered and tended for a nominal fee)?”

“You can’t bluff a Puffer … past possibly trying,
but never enough to the point they’d be buying
something they surely don’t want and don’t need
to feed your dark avarice and gluttonous greed.”

But Phizer was wiser than The Zoloft had thought,
and a deal with the Blue-Bellied Boar was soon sought.
No wrist-slapping for puffing in Puffala Lands,
now it’s off to the chopping block, off with their hands -
stuff Puffers away in the steep dungeon deeps
with murderers, rapists and lobbying creeps,
falling and balling with thumps, lumps and bumps,
to hold off the rapists with bloody arm-stumps.

The Blue-Bellied Boar wiped the blood from his sleeve
and at prayer, with his family, lived in make-believe.
Then that Blue-Bellied Boar waddled forth dedicated
and sure of the cure – Puffala ERADICATED.

Plant… by Plant… by Plant he destroyed
all things that might possibly make Pharmco annoyed.
The Zoloft fought hard ‘til they cut off his limbs
and raped him and scraped him where no light came in.

Released yet recalcitrant, the Zoloft retreated,
dismayed, depressed, and de-facto defeated,
We follow him home where he fell in his bed,
where sadness and madness soon filled up his head.
He noticed a stinking arise from afoot,
and a rotten-ish pain in his tooth taking root.

He roused himself quickly, yet sickly, and said,
“What the fuck?” and fell back, instead, on his bed
His elbows grew leaky and his liver was fried,
when his ear started shaking he cried and he cried.
The last straw that got him to the clinic at last
was when his toe didn’t function when he needed it fast…


Now the clinic was for profit – profiteering was the plan,
where doctors swore the oath of Alan Greenspan,
and Pharmco told doctors to do as they please
while paying their bar tabs and clubber’s green’s fees.

They diagnosed The Zoloft with Syndromic Dysfunction
(thankfully no Dysfunctional Syndrome in conjunction),
and wrote a prescription that gave him a chill,
for a wondrous pill that they called The Thnill.

Now we’re done talking history,
we’re turning the page,
and find ourselves found
in our sage present age,

where the Zoloft sits
and then sits and sits,
maybe lies down,
and maybe then sits.

Nothings going to get better,
nothing’s going to get worse,
in The Zoloft’s eyes
life’s a slow-riding hearse.

The sun rises up
and the sun settles down,
he swallows it up,
he swallows it down.

Nothing at all,
he feels nothing at all.
$200 a bottle
to feel nothing at all.

Mental Contagion
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