Word Hole #5

Word Hole 3


by Michelle Hogmire

“Bin Laden corporatized terror and franchised it out […] On Mohamed Atta’s last full day of life, he shopped at Walmart and ate dinner at Pizza Hut.”

–Graeme Wood “What ISIS Really Wants” The Atlantic (March 2015)


Dear Citizens of the United States:

A sincere thanks, to the US Government and the International Rescue Committee, for being willing to resettle my family in America. In Texas. Where I hear everything is bigger.

Ever since I was young, I’ve secretly been pretty enamored with the United States. I used to have dreams about attending an American university, about seeing a film in an American theater, about getting a job and going to a good, old-fashioned American office party.

These things might seem simple and mundane to you, but to me, they were my everything.

When I heard that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission decided to sue the US State Department, to try to stop my family from coming to the Lone Star State, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. However, now that I’ve had some time to think about it, my opinion has changed.

Perhaps you were trying to protect me. It’s obviously no longer safe to live in America, where all people seem to do at your universities and theaters and office parties is shoot one another. And now, your most popular presidential candidate is trying to keep Muslims from entering your country. I know what this kind of violence and extremism can lead to. The world has been anticipating this for a long time, considering how history repeats itself and all.

In case you missed it, I’ve actually included, for your reference, a copy of the prophecy below, cut from the holy pages of Target’s BOGO Clearance newspaper insert—a warning:

Soon, mark my words, egged on by xenophobia and the fear of domestic terrorism and the lines and the sales and the trampling crowds of Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season, the great caliph Donald Trump will shortly assume his position at The Great Reopening of Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, speechifying, urging all Americans to bow to their pious forefathers: al salaf al salih al…Kmart.

And by doing so, he will establish the caliphate, BFSUS, the Black Friday State of United and States, and an influx of devoted followers will flock to his feet, all of them proud gun owners, all of them non-Muslim, all of them pledging coupon-clipping baya’a with Kohl’s cards and Sam’s Club memberships.

Here are the rules and the signs and the plans, harbingers of the future, a doomed fate:

  1. BFSUS will continue to wage war and acquire territory through the spread of suburban sprawl, perpetuated by right-wing militias, eventually pushing Black Friday back to Thursday, back to Wednesday, back to every day of the year.
  2. Those who attempt to utilize layaway will be excommunicated under Best Buy takfir, a process involving the amputation of the apostate’s credit card swiping hand.
  3. Non-believers (those who claim there’s not a War on Christmas, the Amish, hippies who raise their own chickens and make hemp bracelets, all Muslims (regardless of their stance on materialism), people who support an assault weapons ban, etc.) can live, but only if they pay a special tax to the state: the Macy’s jizya.
  4. At the time of the inevitable apocalypse, America’s capitalist anti-messiah Heartless Dick Cheney will be deposed by the materialist Door Buster Christ (a trinity, composed of the fused ghosts of Ronald Reagan, Sam Walton, and William Randolph Hearst). All the religious intolerance and guns in the world cannot save America from this fate.

So there you have it: your foreseeable future. Given those odds, I’d rather just stay in a tent city.


A Syrian Refugee

Michelle Hogmire is a literary agent assistant at Barbara Braun Associates and the Business Manager for Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. She grew up in West Virginia and has a BA in Creative Writing from Marshall University. She currently attends the MFA program at Columbia University and lives in New York City.

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