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Uber Alles

A poem about (sub)urban youth, political carelessness, contradictions and the criminal justice system.

From Rex Butters


we share an Uber
me to work
Miles to the train
old guy driver
(younger than me)
says both his sons live
in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
“my Mom came from Sioux Falls,” I say
“they hate it,” he says
but they graduate soon
they’re both majoring in
Criminal Justice.”
“everyone’s majoring in
Criminal Justice,”
Miles mutters from the back seat

I wonder
is it everywhere?
is it our right leaning local landscape?
over saturation of propaganda
good cop movies and tv shows?
relentless retelling tales
of non-existent imminent threats?
fear for the inevitable rise
of stomped down
ignored hungry
powerless people
fighting back?

or as Fascism goes mainstream
job security in a growing job market?
authoritarian assimilation?
this oxy-
moronically titled
career opportunity
monetizing anger and insecurity
the sickening hole
of powerless rage

cop, probation officer, correctional officer, security guard, state trooper, crime scene investigator, fbi agent, cia agent, postal inspector, immigration agent, dea agent, us marshal, secret service agent, customs agent, criminal profiler

when the only doors open
turn us on each other
the new slave patrol
recruiting workers for the private prison

later at work
on break
lounging at outdoor table
next to table two
late teen girls
discuss their futures

the dark haired white girl says,
“I think I’m going to major
in Criminal Justice.”
her fair haired friend
rolls her eyes
says, “everyone’s
majoring in Criminal Justice.”

the first girl pauses
looks toward the horizon
“I don’t know,” she says
“It’s that
or Cosmetology.”

Rex Butters

Rex foto

Rolling hills and wheeling crows, a voluptuous valley under sunset bloody clouds, night coyote pup trots, mouth full of rabbit or cat, pollinators buzz the trumpet creeper, windy, cold.

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