Artwork © S.A. Griffin


An Endless Driving Sestina
after Miller Williams

Between Austin and Taos miles of antique shops and banners for trump.
Can you even imagine four more years of this? Fuck
I thought there were more of us than them and
yet you wouldn’t know it by all these billboards for guns
or I guess it’s a pizza place named Six-Shooter. How strange is west Texas?
It’s still two hours to Lubbock? I swear you said that two hours ago, my god

you could fit Ireland inside Texas nine times, god
this state is huge. Truck stops with lone star flags trumpeting
you’re here still, in the big ego state of Texas.
Wind machines resemble seagulls. In Malibu one time I saw two seagulls fuck.
It didn’t look fun for the female, a quiet assault, a mugging without guns,
Fields of oil rigs, dinosaurs bobbing, slurping juice from dinosaurs and

a wide sky of giant clouds that proclaim we create presidents and
Miss Americas and angry italicized billboards advertising a God
who blesses fetuses but not children, and the limitless number of guns
one can legally open-carry in Texas. Laws on track to trump
Gilead’s. Fuck

Some say the Balcones fault line is the beginning of west Texas
or maybe it’s where billboards advertise faith over fear and
confederate flags wave in yards to remind neighbors of fears. Fuck.
Maybe it’s where cotton fields wind forever through so much, god
damn Texas. Obnoxiously large, a blaring trumpet,
mandating longer waits to get an abortion than to buy a murder of guns.

Or maybe it starts after another shooting where even an El Paso Walmart protests guns.
So much has changed in four years, even my Facebook feed persuades a purple Texas,
but out here in Coleman and Santa Anna and Lubbock, trump
banners are as popular as taxidermy and
bbq. Only god
knows what will happen, what did happen. Why ignorance wins. What the fuck?

west Texas,

Eventually it ends. West Texas,
it does. All it takes is driving twelve hours, a border crossing, and
desert scarce hope to stop seeing signs for trump.


Valerie Nies is a comedian, writer, and gluten enthusiast whose humor has been featured in McSweeney’s and Reductress and sketches have been featured on Jezebel, Bitch, Salon, and Huffington Post. Find her in Austin, Texas, scanning WebMD and ridding her clothing of cat hair. She’s also on Twitter/IG @valerieknees.

S.A. Griffin lives, loves and works in Los Angeles.