Pity the President

His flaws have no camouflage;
he wears them on his sleeve
with pride, and pride is first
among them.

A buffoon he lampoons all
but his reflection, speaks
without reflection, every word
an anvil, crushing some
and bringing down others.

Slow down, old man,
I want to tell him.
As full of yourself as you are,
you are empty, and those
riding your coattails,
are in fact riding you.

It Is Insulting

It is insulting
that Israel thinks itself subtle.
Insulting that it builds settlements
on fresh rubble. Insulting
that it seizes every chance
to seize land without right.
Insulting that it governs by
the primitive logic of might.
Insulting that it uses scripture
for worldly gain. Insulting
that it prostitutes religion
to push a secular strain.
Insulting that it recalls
ethnic cleansing to justify the same.
Insulting that it calls that
ethnic cleansing by another name.

Dual

Dueling, we stand forty
arguments apart, unsure
if we should shout
or throw ourselves
into each other’s arms.
Arms crossed, arms in holsters,
shots fire around us.
We’re struck by strays,
and each looks at the other
with wounded eyes.
At this stranger’s distance
we see each other
again as strangers,
and like gun in holster
we hold each other
up and away.

Bene(diction)

For whom do writers write,
those lovers of words,
those divers in the reef?
In pursuit of incongruous pearls
they die; lives given
so that words might live.

At a time that gives little worth
to words, writers mine them
from the earth. Diamonds
that are themselves rough –
they carry, turn them
in their minds, before they ever
bear the glint of precious stone,
before they’re hewn to grace
a human bone.

If only fine words
weren’t so fine,
if only they weren’t
so hard to mine,
then diamonds and pearls
would be everyday pleasures
and only in the mind
held as treasures.

Trash in the White House

You are as you treat others,
and so you are trash.

Hide in your towers
and behind the Twin Towers
and in the wee hours
of the night on your phone.
You preside over us but
there is nothing presidential
about your throne.

You make enemies to make friends,
make walls to pretend
that our safety depends
on our distance from each other,
but today we stand close as a pack.
You come for our huddled and hungry;
our hunger beats your hunger back.

Miss America did not wake up
this beautiful. She stands in heels
but she is healing, combing out the tangles
of isms that bring her down.
She is not great, but she is better
than she was, and Mr. Trump,
she has a restraining order on you.

The End of P.C.

Welcome to our House.

I hope the bed is as uncomfortable
as you’ve made us. That the walls creak
as loudly as you croak about your wall. I hope
that actual monsters come out of your closet.
That a Muslim female doctor opens your heart
when you need surgery and that, at every turn,
you find latinos and blacks in high, high places,
so that you are reminded of just how small you are
(and how small your hands). I hope
you are evicted, because crossing our fingers
that a seventy-year old cad will change
will only give us arthritis, and we are too awake
to let you cut, one by one, the fingers of our hands.

The State of a Lone Star

Texas was born wretched.
A rebellious teenager,
she stole her Mexican
boyfriend’s gun,
told him to git, or else
to come and take it.
After a year on the streets,
she begged her uncle
to take her in.
He gave her a roof,
and she gave him
the middle finger.
I don’t need you,
you know, I made it
by myself you know.
He still helps her because –
he doesn’t know why.
She’s blood, and sometimes
blood makes blood cry.