It was the night we were told we couldn’t pretend we were Catholic.
The priest turned only toward you and said, “It’s between you and God.”
And you cried.
I hope we didn’t shake his hand before we walked into the night snow
for the long walk to our apartment where we had a dresser in the closet
and a computer heavy as death.
The flakes surrounded us; the wind scraped our cheeks. We were almost lost.
Snow, wind, block after block, past a sheet hanging from a dorm’s window
with black words: “FUCK IRAQ.”
We hoped the sweet shop was open, so we could buy peanut butter balls,
and then we overheard “Bush bombing Baghdad.”
The war had begun.
Your scarf so red it seemed alive, your thrift store black coat darker
than the purple night. The snow deepening, thickening.
The sweet shop was closed.
A car, and another, swerved its headlights across the long white field
where, soon, a tent city of protest would arise,
mud and Frisbees.
Can you see our little house? Its olive green
Showing in the streetlight as we came up the alley to the back steps
and unlocked the door—
into the tiny kitchen that we could hardly fit in together.
Taking our shoes off, slush ribbing the floor. It wasn’t late,
but it felt late.
It felt like the only thing to do was lie on the futon, under the covers,
and listen to the radio, to words we didn’t want to hear, falling.
Our country less our country, and more our country.
J.D. Scrimgeour is the author of the poetry collections The Last Miles and Territories, and he won the AWP Award for Nonfiction for Themes For English B: A Professor’s Education In & Out of Class. With musician Philip Swanson he released Ogunquit & Other Works, a CD blending music and poetry. His third poetry collection, Lifting the Turtle (Turning Point), will appear in November 2017.
Two very different comedies on this episode of Drunk Monkeys Radio: Thor Ragnarok brings a Flight of the Conchords twist to an old formula, and Yorgos Lanthimos gets darker (yes darker than The Lobster) in The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
On election night, November 7, 2016, when ABC Election coverage announced that Donald Trump took Florida, I actually went into the bathroom, closed the door, lowered the toilet lid, sat down, and cried. I know quite a few of us who did the same; we knew something we could not explain, something hitherto unprecedented had just happened. When North Carolina and Ohio went red and finally, Iowa, I wretchedly watched George Stephanopoulos, clearly nonplussed, ask his co-anchoring panel of pundits, “How could this happen when a solid majority of Americans said that Donald Trump wasn’t qualified for the job?”
Mr. Butterchips breaks new ground in his fight against Donald Trump.
"What Trump does angers me but never surprises or shocks."
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.