Joe Biden Memes as a Poem

Joe Biden, My Hero

I wish Joe Biden would kick Donald Trump’s ass.
You know he wants to.
One haymaker to the jaw and the Ole Orange Fraud
would fold himself like a slinky
made of elbows and knees and fish guts.

Violence isn’t the answer? No!
It’s a crowded stadium rising to its feet
as the referee counts to ten,
each finger a bell going off in your heart,
some primal release, catcalling
to the echoes of thumping bass strings
you once called arteries and veins.

Go ahead and replace “In God We Trust”
with “Joe is the Man” on our currency.
Knock Mt. Rushmore down
and build a castle from the rubble
to house his sacred remains,
the Joesoleum we’ll call it.
America needs a pyramid!

Here he comes, with his aviators on,
Trans-Am engine squealing
like a god of thunder
barely contained
under a waxed black hood,
spewing dust clouds a mile wide
into the sky to signal his arrival
at Standing Rock, where he asks the police
to pull his finger
and then gives them the bird
while screaming
“Happy Thanksgiving, Motherfuckers!”

Smiling like a lunatic,
he hands out bowls of Rocky Road
to the Natives and says,
“Let us eat ice cream and forgive our enemies.”

Joe Biden could do this.
He could tie eagles to his shoes
and fly overseas
to Aleppo, rebuild the city
with nothing but sweat and bare-knuckled braun,
he could talk the warheads into changing
their life’s work,
ask the machine gun to become a seed spreader
and the jihadi to accept peace
over a poker game.
He’d have the Middle East baking each other pies
in less than a week,
come back with a box of expensive cigars.

The homeless crisis? Solved.
He would simply let them live in his garage.
Global Warming? Not a problem.
Joe would lend the sun his shades,
cross his arms,
and wait for Barack
to pat him on the back.

 

 

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For the Standing Rock protesters #NoDAPL

Water Protectors

~to those at Standing Rock, ND

For water, I freeze.
For water, I bleed.
Under this veil of riot shield
and blind eyes turning
away
from history repeating.

For water, I suffer
concussion grenades
For water, my jaw—
bruised and broken,
rubber bullets and graphite batons
barricade and barrage
the flesh
of those willing to stand
where they say do not stand.

Water, bringer of life
how can you belong to anyone?
Water, source of all growth,
my body belongs to you.

See this moment.
See this moment,
and let it change you.

As money cannot be eaten,
oil is not for drinking,
so why is your smile
shiny and black
with that crude
caked and congealing
between your teeth?

For water, I render
my face to the gnashing
of a dog’s barking bite.
For water, I accept
this martyrdom
of a body that history may rewrite
but the Earth knows all secrets
in its silent witnessing.

Remembering Leonard Cohen

Darker
~for Leonard Cohen

You want it darker, let the volcanoes erupt,
darkness is what happens when the stars turn up.
Darkness is what happens when your breath gives up.
America, I write your name
in the fog on the glass,
and watch it turn to tears.

Treaty with the Devil and your food tastes like smoke,
there’s Jesus snapping his fingers
waiting for the punchline in the joke,
but I never said I was funny,
and it’s dangerous to assume things
from people you don’t know.

On the level, I’m not lying when I say it’s bad.
On the level, someone stole what little dignity we had.
Before things get worse, they have to get bad.
Let’s not pretend we’re in control anymore.

Leaving the table with my food still warm,
my stomach has turned
itself into a cigarette burn,
a wound inside me
becoming an invisible scar,
for the rest of my life
I’ll eat nothing but paper.

If I didn’t have your love,
I’d be counting the days
between my mouth
and the barrel of a gun.
I’ve never given Death a kiss,
but soon I’ll suck him off.

Traveling light hits us from every side,
children still ask
for the door to be cracked,
and I’ll always concede
to my child’s palliative panic attacks.

It seemed the better way,
to turn each heart into a fire of protest,
to shoot bottle rockets
into each other’s eyes,
and still hope to catch
the falling sparks from the fuses.

Steer your way clear of the cliff
if you can,
but I’m afraid
half the world is gone
like the moth in your dream
you woke trying to catch.

String reprise / treaty while it’s good
and it’s there for you to sign,
soon enough all that’s left of this life
will be the ash
of the poetry we burned.

cohen

A review of Christoph Paul’s HORROR FILM POEMS, coming soon

You can learn a lot about life from horror films. If you need proof, all you have to do is read the aptly-titled book of horror-inspired poems from Christoph Paul: HORROR FILM POEMS. Not only do these poems read like a love letter to the genre, taken as a whole, they provide insight to the hidden depth and value this often scoffed at artform provides, by using horror as a gateway not to Hell, but to reveal either the hidden or the obvious truths about life and existence we all-to-often take for granted. Just as in making a scary movie, the art is in knowing what not to show, a poem earns its merits by knowing what not to say, and Christoph proves his poetic chops time and time again here, by letting us fill in the blanks, disturbing our senses, and pointing out the beauty in the blood. As the final poem in the collection deftly states, “a poem reminds us that life is still worth living.”

 

There is a lot of loving detail on display in this collection. Each poem is prefaced with a cool sketch of a character from the film it is based upon. The title font on the cover itself references PSYCHO, one of the greatest films ever made, and a clinic filmmakers have emulated ever since on how to shock an audience. The table of contents reads like a horror fan’s laundry list of quintessential films and cult favorites that some would claim stand tantamount as cornerstones of Hollywood’s go-to cash cow genre. This is a collection that no horror-fan should live without.

 

While some of the shorter poems are my favorites here, due to their terse yet succinct and poignant layers of meaning, there are also great moments in many of the longer pieces. I love how Christoph finds a way to speak through different characters throughout, while maintaining a casual authenticity akin to the work’s original intent and resonance. Of course, there is blood. Of course, there is death. Of course, there is psychosis and gore on display. But that is the thrill isn’t it? Much like the Roman Coliseum, we come to see the guts spill, but know we are safe in our seats.  

 

Still, it is very hard to single out the best work in this book, as there is so much to enjoy. I loved the whole thing. The lyric poems are haunting in their stark imagery. The humorous moments work their magic on the funny bone. Every poem is like visiting an old friend and noticing how they’ve changed over the years. All that being said, I really enjoyed “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “JAWS,” Blair Witch Project,” “Pumpkinhead,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and “Evil Dead,” which might also be my personal bias of my favorite horror films showing. The thing is though, I found something to love in nearly every poem in this book, and I’m sure any horror fan would do the same. So, I recommend you get a copy, and take this trip down Horror Nostalgia Lane.

 

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An Almost-Prize-Winner available online now

The winners and finalists for the Nancy D. Hargrove Editor’s Prize are available to read now at Jabberwock Review’s website. They have been made available as a preface to the print issue releasing next month. Please make your way over and check out the great work from the writers. My poem “How to know if God exists” is a finalist, a piece that relates poignantly to the anniversary of September 11th, 2001. Please check it out and let me know what you think. And congratulations to the winners and other finalist, whose poems are all excellent.

coversum16

A poem about the end of the world

I wanted to protect you

I wanted to protect you from death
and so I lied
about the boy in the casket
who was anything but sleeping.
I wanted to protect you from violence
and so I bought a gun
to keep beneath my mattress.

To protect you from heartache
I said your Yorkie ran away
after I washed the dirt
from his grave down the drain.
To protect you from adulthood
I hid your gifts in the attic
until Christmas morning,
and took a million photos
of your joyful face
to keep you the same age.

I wanted to protect you from the elements,
the heat, the cold, the rain,
and so, come summer, our AC would run nonstop,
while the winter would fill our lungs with woodsmoke
and my hands with the callused work of cutting.

I wanted to protect you from apathy,
so I nurtured your every whim,
speaking with invisible friends,
naming the grasshoppers you caught in the lawn,
hanging your crude drawings of houses
under magnets on the fridge.

I wanted to protect you from disease,
and so you’re now afraid of needles,
despite my promises of ice cream.
I wanted to protect you from fear
so I said, “Of course, monsters aren’t real.”

I wanted you to be safe,
to know love like a blanket
fresh from the wash,
to know each living thing
as a tooth on a cog, amid the wheels
and gears of a grand machine we’ll never see.

But I was wrong
to try and protect you from this world,
to think you’d never know the itch
and swell of its sting,
something as simple as flesh
serving the purpose of food
for the microcosm beneath.

Poem responding to Colin Kaepernick controversy:

Star-spangled sinner
~for C.K.

O, say can you see the bodies in the streets?
Red planets rising through draped white sheets.
Sold out stadiums still stand and applaud,
still hold hands over pride-swole hearts,
while the homeless hunt half-eat hotdogs
from dumpsters
and beg for change in parking lots.

Is this too preachy for you?
America the beautiful bowl of bloody piss?
America the drone strike bomber of the innocent?
America, where a busted tail light
is a cancer gone undiagnosed.
Where they watch hundreds drown
in capsized boats just off the Turkish coast
and do nothing except turn up their nose.
America, the Christ-like Nation of narcissists.

When were we ever great?
When we split the backs of the blacks we owned?
When we drove the Natives from their homes,
into cages, whiskey bottles and worthless fields?
When we were the first to drop the Bomb?
When we told women they couldn’t decide
if part of themselves should live or die,
who could buy land, who could vote?
When we poisoned our own water supplies
and left the destitute in their slums?

If you want me to stand and sing your song,
give me something to sing for!
The redwoods are burning, soon to be gone.
The tundras are thawing, soon to be gone.
A state of emergency is more than a flood.
America is dying.
Are you still in love?

colin k

Elegy for Gene Wilder on the day of his death

For Gene

Say goodbye to childhood,
Goodbye imagination.
Say goodbye to whimsy
Goodbye, gold ticket sun.

Purple velvet, curly cue grin
mania embodied wide blue eyes
shining like wet silk,
Jack without his candle stick.

Technicolor or black and white,
scenes spilled over with vibrant life,
a dance, a soliloquy, a turn of the cheek,
laughter rushing forward like flooded creek.

Want to change the world?
It’s as easy as lighting a fuse
or a lantern in an unlit room,
as easy as closing your eyes
to the hammers of doom.

For Gilda, for the faces awash in light,
for the ether that swims betwixt our lives,
for the river of silver streaked bone dust chimes
filling our veins with ticking time.

For the children, for the never born,
for the geezers struggling to hold their form,
for the quiet, for the obscene, the uncertain
and the lost, for the dreamers dreaming again.

Say goodbye to childhood,
Goodbye imagination.
Say goodbye to whimsy,
Goodbye gold ticket sun.

gene

A new poem about the Democratic nominee

The first
~for HRC

The first woman could talk to snakes,
she accepted their gifts
and made love to knives.

The first woman cut a hole
in the ceiling that wasn’t there
with a diamond large as hope.

She pulled herself up
by her bootstraps
and stood on the other side

of the sky, filled with balloons
and music and little girls’ eyes
swollen with tearful pride

at the thought of selling out
to an idea, becoming
nothing but a box to check,

a hero in a white pant suit
stalling the moon
with promises of an endless night,

and her fingers crossed
for more time
to win the love of the undecided.