Rural America cares about the big box
coming or going, about the jobs that
follow or flee, about the bathrooms
that the alleged virgins are exposed to.
Rural America thinks that marrying an animal
is silly. That laws that slip the slope
into that sort of thing are crazy. That we
just need to get back to when whites
did white things like get married and eat
Jordan almonds at the reception before
running to their cars to get home in time
for Murder She Wrote.
It sounds like I’m judging.
Rural America doesn’t like that.
Only a witling – the basest gull –
would believe at this point in the nation.
The risk is substantial but loose,
like a roux turned to dumplings.
Too hot too fast.
He hit the atmosphere like a semi,
bellyflopping sideways, ripping
instantly, the foil-wrapped
morsel shredding and igniting
at the speed and the heat.
Miraculously, he survived that landing
and now stands in a crater
surrounded by sycophants and raccoons.
Obeisances scattered like lilies.
Falling behind, Don
how is it that you are not
yet indicted? Boy.
Down among the reeds and rushes
and organic sludgy muck,
the most nutrient-dense mud
from which to craft your golems.
It can’t be this easy.
Is it really just a parade and
a round of golf every weekend?
You expected some late nights,
at least, and yet the engine
(you are assured)
is performing magnificently.
The unknowns are reducing each day.
We’re reasonably sure it was Arnold
who wiretapped you – for Obama.
TGIF. The kitten’s single claw
embedded in the twine,
its orange face a portrait
Hang in there!
When I was a boy there was an enormous guy
on my bus route. He was easily 6’4″ by ninth grade.
Everyone was terrified of him, for decent reasons
(I believe he’s dead now – a fight at a party).
We shared a bus stop, so my assumption was that
I was in for endless torment. But on the first day
of my freshman year, we were talking and he chuckled
at an observation I’d made about a comment he made.
That was that – I was insulated from all threats
(for the most part, it’s high school after all).
Just by listening and reflecting back some tiny
thing, a thing I don’t remember, in a conversation
with a guy who maybe felt a little underheard.
Suddenly I was all right. Compare to now –
one manic orange doofus whose glossolalia
contained enough meaning for the huge angry white guy
in our hearts to feel responded to & validated.
They were his from the moment he ranted about
whatever thing it was that was the last straw.
In that sense, we got the president we deserve –
the one who took the pent up hate and stroked it gently,
said “I get that you’re sad about the failure
of the universe to center you.”
It’s all they’ve heard from that moment.
I don’t think God got this one right, Rex. It
happens from time to time that men are called,
but here, my man, the lines were crossed. Before
you rush to answer, think: was any man
less suited for the role of God’s barker
than Donald Trump? Commandments ain’t his strong
suit, any more than that man holding codes
is an attraction for fat whites at Mar
O Lago – o tempora o mores!
We shit where we eat and are surprised, nay,
stunned to uncover e coli in meals.
Best served cold, this grim reality. Rex,
digressions aside, we are in the dark.
The light you see is not your God’s or mine.
On this day when sunlight edges out dark
nights and the evenings glimmer with rainbows
amidst the deluge we look up to the
heavens and speak, full voice: “The darkness fades
and here, you, me, all of us join together
at the table we made of this nation
and we decide together not to take
this garbage anymore. We are bound for
a different democracy than the one
scraped off the bottom of Donald Trump’s shoe.”
Still we must, prostrate, plead for persistence
of senators, reps, average joes and jills,
child molesters, complicit murdering
villains, to remember the nation, the pact.
So sorry Donald,
I fell behind. Your prattle
like cherry blossoms.
Build the wall around Sesame Street
because the undocumented muppets
are the real problem.
Build walls around the courts
where the article threes hide
and say things that are hurtful.
Build the wall around Congress
because they can’t seem to operate
solely on lies.
Build the wall in each of your
crawlspaces where dark conscience
from the insistent peal of truth
occluding the narrative.
I can imagine getting stoned
and staying stoned
for the duration of this presidency.
If they were truly evil geniuses
they would let everyone
do just that.
Don’t think for a moment
that these people
are good at anything.
Trim the fat. Cut the umbilical.
Broil the poor and serve them with toast.
Put the elderly on the ice floes –
Put the elderly on rafts of garbage
in what used to be the Arctic Ocean
and float them off to true north,
where Valhalla awaits.
The glories! Canasta day and night!
A little nook for Trump supporters
to gaze at a photo of him at table.
The answer is more tanks.
Nukes will feed the people
with their radiant glow.
We will purchase small arms
and leave them scattered
across the globe to assist
the cause of peace.
There will be a slight
improvement in the condition
of those who serve our
country but not so much
that veterans can re-enter
(they’re mostly grunts after all
and would feel silly if
a fuss was made).
But bombs, boy, that’s
something we can all
Ides, right? Big day for a leader.
Maybe not so much for you –
far more likely to impale yourself
on the Constitution.
But Snoop Dogg and the fight before
you – how dare he call you a clown
when you’re so clearly a fool?
Not to harp on the nights, Donald,
but they must be lonely.
Surrounded by aides in case
you need a sip of water,
but alone nonetheless.
Others before you would speak about
the weight of governing,
but that’s not your problem.
Your problem is the voices.
They actually sing that champions song
before every game.
Imagine, Donny! Imagine if they’d
written a song just for you.
All the birds would be trained from birth
to harmonize with your song.
The most beautiful people would play
in the prison band, your song. Always.
Maybe someone would cross-stitch it
onto a square for a quilt – the melody
painted out in gold thread.
What a sight that would be.
Your anthem of hubris
in stereophonic sound.
No rehabilitating -care now.
It was the moment when the chords
aligned with Toto’s flight from
the wicked witch, that I knew.
How else would expressions become
regular. Iterations on
shorthand, like Ashberry,
like ice forming in the Arctic sea.
You wander through the halls, man.
It’s the memory of your father.
Catching up with news anymore
is like “what fuckery today?”
Can’t actually stand it.
Can’t not do it.
Remember when it was enough
to get the New Yorker
and tut at the flyover states?
Remember when the big lies
were ours and sunlight was mostly
warm and welcoming
and there’s weren’t rats
the size of corgis
in the dark places that sunlight revealed?
Remember assuming things were fine?
Molotov the bill of rights
except 2, expect 2 to
prove too resilient –
girls in tutus with twenty twos
and a dream of pointe shoes –
choose instead to enshrine
that one in a little box
on the desk in the oval.
Maybe make a label, quote Rove
“all guns created equal”
or the Gipper in a cowboy hat
from the glory days, man
do you remember when we thought
that was impairment? Ah, Donald.
Courage drags Statecraft
for not having the balls
to say it to your face.
Diplomacy has sunk so deep
into the bottle that,
were he a fly,
there would be no escape –
instead he circles the interior
on purpose, living on fumes.
Bureaucracy, ever the stodgy
hedgehog, plays the long game
with History in the corner.
They await you, Donny, though
you may not be able to pick out
their faces among the friezes
on the walls. You mistake them,
perhaps, for your father, staring
from your peripheral vision.
To be so secure in your ignorance
that you don’t pause
that the hashtag you’re outraged
about is for
a TV show –
to turn to vitriol without a single
spark of curiosity
dismiss for dismissal’s sake. To be
the sort of person
react first and wonder…later? Never?
Confess, reader: how nice would it be.
Seven weeks and it’s harder
to care than ever –
what will it take for the apathy
to crack? For commuter rage
to mix with race/class/gender
and become riots at the bus stops?
But I hold hope like a skipping stone
in the crook of my finger.
You could mistake it for a white power
symbol but for the gleam
emanating out from the circle
formed by index and thumb.
For now we’ll say it’s OK,
this hope, this nest, these hands.
Not a single day set aside, marked,
not a month. A chain of days
stretching from birth to death
in which gratitude is owed.
Homage to all women,
to trans women,
to women of color,
to women you know
and women you don’t,
to the women in your life
and in the lives of others,
to the struggles of women,
to the triumphs of women,
and to the sad truth that
the two are so often
delivered in unequal measure.
I meant this poem to be about hope
but the Donald put paid to that.
Maybe this poem is about interwoven
egos fighting over scraps at the table.
Maybe, instead, it could be about
disappearances – Russians dropping
like colony collapse disorder
while Trumples whistles his way past graves.
Maybe it could be about calling
slaves immigrants and praising their work ethic.
I don’t know, man.
I think Obama has wiretapped everything.
It explains so much about my xfinity bill.
What are these “taxes and fees” if not
tariffs on the surveillance state?
That’s gotta be it, you guys.
How else do you credit this sudden
diminishing of our proud white franchise?
I was in a dither of concern
but now it’s clear that none of this
is my problem.
It’s that urban rabble with their
hippity-hop music, electing
one of their own and ruining
all this splendor for white men.
Hard not to be a little depressed.
It reduces to this.
Grandstanding on conspiracy theories.
We are in the last days of Rome
and Nero is sat
in the corner, revenge ‘bating
to a Sports Illustrated cover.
Not that one: no. One
with a wrestler on it. Oil shining
on his biceps. The Donald grunts
a furious pace. Nothing to do with
sex, even, just virility and
Ah to be emboldened by
the boring racism
of a world left alone
to its own petty nuisances.
To blow the whistle
and watch the dogs
scuttle out of their dark holes
to rain hatred
and baseless argument
on the next target of your
It must be delicious.
But the wolves, Donald,
are hungry and indiscriminate.
Team-building for canaries
as the unbreatheable air creeps north.
We are asked to figure out
how to fit our troubles in a backpack.
“Consider the weight, the space,”
intones the white male efficiency analyst,
“find ways to delegate
or write your troubles onto another
and in so doing, emigrate
beyond a world where difficulty persists,
where your task list is a
pleasure cruise in a sea of Xanax and
but its too late and the voices ring
in the night and the brass-balled hubris
of thinking that we can talk out of this.
That there is a well deep enough
for the vitriol and treacle that
pumps endlessly from Janus’ two pie-holes.
The spring of Lautolae, unburdened,
passing no judgment, scorching every part.
It’s our own fault.
The man’s name is
What else could we
expect? Could we
to be free of
that weight of name
Is there a man
alive more sad?