Pepper Swell


Cold Fury


Call it supreme laziness

Or a general disinterest in participating

In society – or even an appalling lack of humanity


         (You always knew who the kids were who would

                   Become cops or mechanics, teachers and military

                             And dead before thirty)


They wore it proudly

But I certainly didn’t


Even then

Before I had concept of what it was

I went about in search of passive income

Knowing, even then, how awful having

A boss must feel to sentient creatures


How crawly the skin

Must feel, at a job


         (That manly impulse

                   To work unto death

                             For little never sank in)


Before I even knew

What an annual return was, or human

Equity squeezed from toiling labor, I knew

I had no interest in making someone else



Contributing, as they say, to the

Greater good that kept a few in control

And the rest in line


While they howled about the useless

Generation X.  Because they couldn’t

Hack it.  Because they wouldn’t toe the line

I looked on, from my high school window, at

The pretty plan that never materialized


People started asking, what’s in it for me

And at that, the eyes began bugging out


         (Whatever do you mean you don’t want

                   To work in a factory, or an assembly line, or

                             In a foxhole, or as a golf caddy?)


Whatever do you mean you don’t wish to

Happily serve my food?  The voices asked


Kids these days, the voters chimed.  No

Respect.  None.  Not for anyone or anything


And it was true.  We were raised by single

Mothers and saw the arthritis take

Root.  We saw them suffer with little

Affect, and grew slowly and quietly

Resentful of the machine that fucked



And had no desire to repeat their mistakes


Some did, of course

There are always some that do

The country still teems with servants

Going about sniffing at the

Crotch of old money


But a few find the

Scent and the act of slobbery around

The burial site repugnant


They bare a cold fury at mention

Of what it costs to live free

Cold Fury was written under the pen name Pepper Swell. Pepper is a husband, father of three young children, and full time bread winner. In the hours not devoted to raising kids, bringing home the bacon, and hacking furiously at a keyboard, Pepper is also a full-time college student. His work has appeared in Drunk Monkeys literary journal, as well as Eunoia Review. He currently resides in a small, mid-western town in the United States; a place where the dust and the wind never let up and steel mills and prisons dot the landscape to the edge of the horizon.