I love three people who voted for hate
there's no way to reconcile this ache
I have walked away from others, but
there are three people I love
who voted for hate
and it makes me feel less
than I am for allowing this, but how much
more can this evil strip from us?
how much are we willing to feed it?
everything we are? every memory and
possibility? it is a hunger that won't quit
a laughing mocking evil hunger
and I see people feeding
that fire, throwing in hope and homes
and neighbors and infants, their flesh
curling and burning in a fire so hot it is now
white, white, it screams to be white
and I threw in those who rallied for that fire
gave up peace and pieces of my heart...
yes, I fed that fire too, but there
are three people I love who voted for hate
and I cannot throw them in, I cannot
not yet, I will not give the fire everything
I will hold on to them and work every day
to show these three that what they stand against
is cool and calm and not a raging reckless thing
but a silent, stoic force who did not abandon
them for lack of "loyalty" or the kind of
groveling fealty this fire demands,
for one day they may yet see, and someone
must be there to help them up, tell them,
"I know, I know, and now you know too"
but that day is a long way off, and might never
come around, but that hope too I will not
give the fire, I hold that back
for me, for them, and for whatever is left
in this scorched earth America when
the fire finally dies, and the skies clear
and we go forth to see what
we've become in the aftermath
James H Duncan is the editor of Hobo Camp Review and author of the new poetry collection, We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine (Unknown Press, 2017). For more info, visit www.jameshduncan.com.
The Nazis are back in town.
No, I know. They never, ever left.
The things I never said, I said them like a man.
Like a man I insist I never said those things.
And afterwards I will assert I never said the second thing,
layer on layer of vow, disavowal. And what I believe,
you shall believe; there is only one thought and it is me.
My smell wipes across the thought of him. Crying in a pin stripe business suit. There was an accident. Perfect bodies lose perfection like melting ice. Crowns of thorns are passed out, metal trinkets to place in private. Kiss the blood rolling down.
I keep having this dream where
the white man isn’t angry
the black man entered
the white house.
There is a cabin by the bouldered beaches
of Northern California,
where the pines practically toe the foam.
This is where he’ll go, and off will come
his tailored suits,
his lacquered shoes,
his streak of blood-red tie.
She’s been sitting in the passenger seat of my car for a week.
She won’t wear her seatbelt and she won’t come in at night.
We are the easy targets
to the men who hide behind
the thin veil of life
the men in Washington
who pretend that they care.
It’s nice to scream
“This is what democracy looks like”
With a hundred people you’ve never met before.
Of course we knew what was at stake.
We all had that pill between our teeth
the gelatin cap
would not burst
no matter how hard we bit down