.

How to Build a Monster

Don’t bother digging corpses up to suture body parts;
Don’t seek out full-moon werewolves or unstake vampiric hearts—
For monsters can be crafted much more easily of late:
First, take a child and train him to hate everyone you hate.
Then sneer at common decency until his young blood boils.
Add jealousy to make him feel entitled to the spoils
Of government largesse as well as all his neighbor’s cash.
Indulge him when he grooves on methamphetamine and hash.
Make sure he grows up certain that all gender is a shackle
And trashing reputations gives a smug excuse to cackle.
Encourage him to riot like a raging Transylvanian
And teach him to hate white folk with an anger that’s vulcanian.
Explain to him that terrorism is fair game to choose—
Especially when slaughtering Israelis and most Jews.
Show how objective evidence must be rejected fully;
Push leftist ideology till he becomes a bully.
Allow him to believe each narcissistic thought he thinks,
So he can grow a conscience so putrescent that it stinks.
And when his monster consciousness is sharpened like a nail
He’s ready to matriculate at Harvard, Penn or Yale.
Your creature there will vaunt his hate, all morals in the grave,
And now, at last, you’ll have the vile creature that you crave.
You want to build a monster? Well, then, here’s my final sum:
Just look into a mirror, friend. Just see what you’ve become.

.

.

The Colonizers

It’s not the Spaniards who sought Incan bling
Or Brits who planted tea in Darjeeling
Or cowboys who rode West on horse and stirrup.
It’s not the German Reich which swallowed Europe;
Not Turks who made Constantinople falter,
Nor Arabs from the ‘Stans west to Gibraltar.
Not Mongols, Vikings, Normans and their henchmen,
Nor Aztecs, Swedes, Chinese or even Frenchmen.

No, what I write about is something new.
It’s colonists who like to dye things blue.
They’ve used up California so they tread
To states which are traditionally red.
They flee the chaos but won’t truly leave.
They proselytize and push all they believe.
They hog their new state’s stage to flaunt their laurels
And diss those born there for “unloving” morals.

They come like locusts mocking all tradition,
Imposing pronouns, whispering sedition,
Despising faith, promoting fifty sexes.
A democrat from Portland moves to Texas,
A Minnesotan moves to Tennessee;
And with them they bring all they claim to flee
Like homelessness, race violence, drugs and such.
They sanfrancisco everything they touch.

Such carpetbaggers think that they improve
The “backward” places where they choose to move.
They agitate to dominate each state
And smilingly plant seeds of leftist hate.
They colonize from sea to whining sea.
They bow to the U.N. in N.Y.C.
And push thoughts born in Stockholm and the Hague,
Destroying all they touch—a modern plague.

.

.

Brian Yapko is a retired lawyer whose poetry has appeared in over fifty journals.  He is the winner of the 2023 SCP International Poetry Competition. Brian is also the author of several short stories, the science fiction novel El Nuevo Mundo and the gothic archaeological novel  Bleeding Stone.  He lives in Wimauma, Florida.


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34 Responses

  1. Russel Winick

    Brian, both of these poems are big time winners, hitting today’s mail on the head. “They sanfrancisco everything they touch” is an instant classic line. Great work – keep them coming!

    Reply
    • JULIAN WOODRUFF

      From a beautiful name and proper noun to an uglifying verb–sad, but powerfully true.

      Reply
      • Brian A. Yapko

        I’m pleased that coinage worked for you, Julian. It’s terribly sad. I have fond memories of San Francisco from the 1970s and 80s when you could go to Fisherman’s Wharf or Chinatown or ride the Cable Car and it was all safe, fun and beautiful. Now it’s a dystopian horror story of homelessness, boarded up shops and human feces on the sidewalks. People are leaving in droves but the governor of California — that master of gaslighting — says “nothing to see here.”

    • Brian A. Yapko

      Thank you very much, Russel! I’m especially pleased that making a verb out of the decaying City by the Bay worked. I had a frustrating time getting autocorrect to leave it alone!

      Reply
  2. jd

    I love that line too and also “sea to whining sea”. Both poems are gems and sparkle with the sad truth.

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Thank you, jd! The muse was really kind to me on that line which virtually wrote itself! The “sad truth” is, unfortunately, an understatement.

      Reply
  3. Michael Vanyukov

    Brian, sounds right – so much so that I am afraid some progressive make take it as an instruction, so as not to miss a tool or two. But you won’t get published in our local Pravdas as they don’t publish truth. Not that you’d like to, I reckon.

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Thank you very much, Michael! How horrifying to think someone might not recognize How to Build a Monster as satire! But there are plenty of twisted people out there who actually like things the way they now are. And if I don’t get published in Pravda, I’ll consider that a badge of honor!

      Reply
      • Michael Vanyukov

        Even more horrifying is that an enormous part of the population applies what you view as a satire to their actual political goals.

  4. Cynthia Erlandson

    Wow, Brian, you have launched some major Truth Bombs here! Although I usually bristle at twisting one part of speech into another, I agree that making “sanfrancisco” into a verb is ingenious! In “Monster”, I love the barb you’ve aimed (bullseye!) at the supposedly prestigious universities. And some of your rhymes (Europe / stirrup; Texas / sexes; Hague / plague among them) are just so good!

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Thank you so much, Cynthia! It’s funny because I usually roll my eyes at that cheap, contemporary poetry style of manufacturing words or using them as different parts of speech. (also, use lower case, run words together.) But somehow it seemed appropriate when searching for a shorthand way of describing what leftists do to places. In fact, it was a way to turn contemporary poetry technique against the wokesters who turn every place into San Francisco. They think it’s a good thing but it’s actually toxic, sick and delusional. California is facing a mass exodus of those who refuse to be gaslighted. But what madness compels such people to come to Florida and Texas and then push for the very policies that made California into the dystopic hell they fled?

      Reply
  5. Roy Eugene Peterson

    The greatness of your poems cannot be overstated. They are creative, crafty, and cunning in your manufacture of brilliant words and wonderful rhyme. “How to Build a Monster” points the finger where it should be pointed–at those who pass along their old worn-out hatreds. “The Colonizers” is unfortunately a true observation of liberals moving to conservative states and dragging along their ideological baggage. These are resoundingly great poems with excellent messages that the world needs to read!

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Roy, thank you for this lavishly generous comment! Thank God poetry affords us an opportunity to express the things that trouble our hearts and also allows us to offer some pointed observations. These two poems allowed me to do just that. I’m very glad that they resonated with you.

      Reply
  6. Joseph S. Salemi

    Brian, these are top-notch satirical pieces, the kind of in-your-face poetry of attack that is sorely needed today. When I read “How to Build a Monster” I saw that you used some hyperbole and exaggeration to make your point (what satirist doesn’t?), but that the poem was nonetheless very true in its description of widespread attitudes among left-liberal parents. They are deliberately nurturing what the Bible calls a “brood of vipers.”

    But “The Colonizers” scared me, because the poem is free from exaggeration or overstatement. It told me something that I already knew, but was basically afraid to think about. Left-liberals are leaving those states that their policies have made unlivable, but (in the truly mindless fashion of cult members) they are bringing with them to their new residences all the same idiocies, stupidities, and voting patterns that caused them to leave! Arizona is a perfect example.

    I think this phenomenon is evidence that left-liberalism is not just an ideology, or even a political stance. It is a mental illness, and if you suffer from it you carry it wherever you go.

    I agree with Cynthia — using “sanfrancisco” as a verb is daring and unexpected. So is speaking of “the ‘Stans” as a way to make meter, and the great phrase “from sea to whining sea.” These imaginative hits show the kind of verbal ingenuity that make for a serious poet.

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Thank you very much for this detailed comment, Joe. Frankly, the dire state of the world and the idiotic choices and rotten values that are constantly promoted makes it impossible for me to shut up. At least poetry offers a constructive instrument of rage.

      The fear that “The Colonizers” elicited is, I think, a good thing. We must rip the bandage off the festering wound and note that this colonizing is a phenomenon with grave implications. As you note, nothing in my poem is an exaggeration. It tells it like it is. This poem, I might add, was born out of my contemplating the irony of some Democratic leftists here in Florida bemoaning the horrors of colonization while at the same time promoting leftist ideals brought in from California. They come here as self-stated refugees and then complain about the unique freedoms of Florida, where Democrats and Republicans actually coexist and have civil discourse, where covid was addressed rationally, where drag queens and transgender ideology are not pushed on kindergartners. So they come here and then they try to change the things that make this what we call “The Free State of Florida.”

      I’m intrigued by your observation that this goes beyond politics into a form of mental illness. I’d like to build on that observation. I think it may actually closely follow an addiction model. Otherwise, I can’t imagine why American Jews, for example, would ever vote Democrat except that they’re addicted to it and irrationally go into seizures at the thought of abandoning the party of FDR and JFK. But I think they get their abbreviations wrong. It’s now more like the party of the drugs PCP and LSD not to mention the moral bankruptcy of CRT, DEI and BLM.

      Reply
  7. Phil S. Rogers

    Two home runs, Brian, right out of the ballpark. Unfortunately, here in Texas we have too many ‘colonizers’ that have escaped California. Thank you, for two great poems.

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Thank you very much, Phil. On my recent visit to Austin I was astounded at how much it felt like Los Angeles in attitude and politics! As someone who went great lengths to refugee out of L.A. 13 years ago, I found this somewhat disturbing. I hope enough Texans will push back to keep Texas true to itself.

      Reply
  8. Margaret Coats

    Although “How to Build a Monster” may at first appear to be addressed to parents, it speaks to all leftist ideologues with any influence over children. That includes many teachers, clergy, doctors, media, designers of anything intended for children, politicians, police, sports and entertainment figures. Indeed, in the social order “of late,” it effectively includes anyone who does not appear to counteract the dominant ideology in some way. The plural imperatives lacking a specific addressee, along with the final words, “just see what you’ve become,” imply that most individuals including older children have thoughtlessly taken part in monster building. The poem is not just a satiric “how-to” picture, but a general warning to take up a contrary moral stance in a noticeable fashion. It does not preach, but calls for self-examination in order to present some obvious example in contrast to monsters.

    “The Colonizers” does an excellent job of turning around one already despised term (“colonialism”). It shows colonialism at work in the attempt to change attitudes in states considered “backward.” It’s a clever stroke to identify the new colonizers as “carpetbaggers” unloading the undesirable decay they bring with them, rather than stealing and carrying off the goods of places where they arrive, as did earlier users of carpetbags.

    Both poems consider the moral order of society without being puritanical. I’ve recently heard discussion of the loss of religious faith, followed in due time by loss of morality, and recently going on to loss of effective governance by law. Brian, you seem to adopt this perspective, with very brief mention of past faith, an overall focus on moral decay, and the suggestion that law itself is being corrupted, as you point to riot, terror, and sedition currently taught or whispered.

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Thank you very much, Margaret, for your detailed comment and analysis. You’re very right about the intended target of “How to Build a Monster” for it really ultimately implicates all those leftists out there who have indulged their own narcissism, intolerance, drug addiction, uncivil discourse, antisemitism, anti-Americanism and a host of other ills and have then either deliberately or unthinkingly passed it on to a generation which is so lacking in character and critical-thinking as to indeed be “putrescent.”

      I’m also glad that you appreciate my appropriation (the irony!) of the term “carpetbagger.” While leftists are happy to condemn colonialism they have a difficult time recognizing that they do precisely what they claim to hate: — they move to someplace new for selfish reasons and then, rather than conform, they try to change everything to their liking. And they are literal carpetbaggers in the sense that they arrive and then steal from those who have lived their for generations — they steal their culture, their traditions and their values.

      Lastly, the loss of faith in general is unquestionably a factor which underlies the many ills that I’ve written about here because — at least in my experience — I perceive a correlation between zealous, narcissistic atheism and a host of bad values and behaviors.

      Reply
  9. Mark Stellinga

    Both pieces are a joy to read and a nightmare to contemplate, Brian, and, hoping not to booger your day – we definitely have kindred minds. 🙂 Well done…

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Thank you very much indeed, Mark! Glad to know we’re kindred minds! It’s strange to think that a poem can be both a joy and a nightmare but, I suppose, that’s what satire is supposed to do — a humorous spotlight on something disagreeable.

      Reply
      • Mark Stellinga

        Brian, IMO, comical satire & sarcastic humor do more to emphasize the irony of what’s destroying all-that’s-good than any other poetic commodity. I’ve sent well over 50 pieces to President Trump that I’m sure “The Snake” reciter would love to share with his millions of rally attendees. Few are as caustic as the piece I recently attached – at her request – to Susan’s great April Fools Day piece –
        https://classicalpoets.org/2024/04/01/april-fools-day-is-dead-a-poem-by-susan-jarvis-bryant/
        but I’m betting big you’d enjoy what I sent to “Donny-John-the elder”. BTW – I don’t feel qualified to structurally ‘analyze’ pieces on the SCP, so I merely to comment on the ones I enjoy. I’m admittedly compose only ‘populist’ poetry, and the no PhD clearly shows in my work. Say-la-V… 🙂

  10. Jeff Eardley

    Brian, “How to build a Monster”is a welcome alternative to all those wires, dials, stapled up frontal lobes and lightning harvesting that we are all familiar with. I love, “unstake vampiric hearts” and the super rhyming of “Transylvanian” and “That’s Vulcanian.” Coming from a colonising nation that the woke brigade are forcing us to be ashamed of, I enjoyed your musings on the sanfranciscan blight. There was a time when popular song would persuade us to put flowers in our hair ( those were the days) and go there. These are great to read Brian, we expect no less. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Thank you so much, Jeff! In my humble view, it is pointless to feel shame for actions that are not yours. And I find it difficult to see the British Empire as anything but a force for good in the world — one which had its day and moved on when it was right to do so. To diss contemporary white Brits for actions and chocies that occurred long before their births promotes a form of vicarious responsibility that is as nefarious as it is unfair. I hope the U.K. is able to evade the discussion of reparations for ancient history that is now being unrealistically promoted in the U.S. For the “anti-racists” here, skin color is quickly becoming the basis for all kinds of entitlements and penalties which have nothing to do with conduct and everything to do with the morally bankrupt concept of inherited guilt.

      As for the City by the Bay… Trust me, San Francisco ain’t what it used to be. Jeff, I’m tickled by your comment which subtly embeds two songs from the late Sixties (If You’re Going to San Francisco & Those Were the Days.) Thanks for the smile!

      Reply
  11. Daniel Kemper

    This were rip-roaring fun. My favorite line, “They colonize from sea to whining sea.”

    It really is a steady pattern; an artillery barrage of pre-emptive accusations, then in come the shock troops of doing exactly what they’ve accused others of. Lather, rinse, repeat. Oh, look at all the colonizers (don’t mention that they’ve been gone hundreds of years). And now– zoom, colonize. Good poems.

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Thank you so much, Daniel! Yes, that’s probably my favorite line as well. Your description of colonization in military terms is absolutely chilling. And yet I have no doubt it is accurate. What an age we live in.

      Reply
  12. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Brian, these two poems are a triumph. I love your wordplay, your end rhymes, your rhythm, and most of all your messages. Your words are on fire. I could feel their burn from beginning to end, and that is because there is so much truth in every searing line. The scorching final line of “How to Build a Monster” is a real eye-opener… what has this world become?

    I must say, in “The Colonizers”, I love the way you’ve hurled a twisted and tedious term at the feet of those who love to politicize and weaponize words in the interest of shaming and bullying swathes of society who don’t fit their warped ideals. Brian, these poems are brave, they’re bold, they’re beautifully written, and I thank you wholeheartedly for them!

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Susan, thank you so much for your insightful comment! What has this world become indeed! I’m especially glad you brought in the subject of “fire” because that’s exactly how I felt writing this — on fire and with a sense of urgency and supreme disdain for what has been happening to the West and especially to the U.S. The horror show that has emerged from the Ivy League schools particularly disheartens me and so it was time to call out the monsters that leftists have created. That final line pointing the finger at some leftist who might be reading the poem was intended as the harshest indictment I could muster. Not that he or she will recognize himself/herself in the poem, but the effort must be made!

      And thank you for recognizing exactly what I was going for in The Colonizers: turn the hated term right back on them and then rub their noses in it.

      Thank you again, Susan! I am always grateful for your encouraging comments!

      Reply
  13. Joshua C. Frank

    Great poems, Brian! I especially love “The Colonizers.” You expose what it is by writing only things that have already happened, and I especially love the use of rich rhymes like in French poetry (where the consonants before the rhyming vowel in both words are the same): bling/Darjeeling, tread/red, leave/believe, tradition/sedition, sea/C. My favorite line is, “They sanfrancisco everything they touch.” I’ll have to use that line!

    It is true; it’s little different from what happened with European settlers in the Americas. I saw a meme that said, “Dropping COVID-infected illegals in red states is biological warfare. Change my mind.”

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Thank you very much, Josh! I’m pleased that you noticed all the rhyme details that I sweated over (I really wanted to use “Darjeeling”) and I appreciate your mention of my newly-coined verb San Francisco. Since you are also a refugee from California I hope you use that coinage with impunity!

      As for colonizing leftists… they just can’t exercise any self-control. They have to try to dominate everything everywhere magnanimously imposing their monopoly on truth. It’s so amazingly Marxist.

      Reply
  14. David Whippman

    I agree with Russel; some great lines here. “From sea to whining sea” is inspired! And of course both pieces are all too relevant.

    Reply
    • Brian A. Yapko

      Thank you so much, David! Unfortunately, more relevant by the day!

      Reply

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