Tag Archives: poitical poems


They say it
all the time
on the serial killer shows.

Say the latest bit of mayhem
shows “the unsub is
decompensating” and
“we may be moving
toward the endgame.” 

By which they don’t mean
a person of interest
is throwing up his hands
and looking at his bills
and trying to decide how to pay
or escape them.

That person’s so common
they can’t be by definition
a singular person of interest.

No one needs to have
that drama onscreen
when it’s right there
in the kitchen 
and it’s them

the brain not working, hope
down the drain, any blood involved
barely contained within
and so sky-high pressurized
a pin prick would turn into Vegas fountains… 

Vegas? Card games or dice?
Lottery tickets bailing them out?
Online sports betting to the rescue…

a whole broke-ass country
pretending to hope, 
looking for its endgame.

Somewhere Else To Be

When the heralds stood 
on the mountainside,
waved their hands
and banners over
the masses assembled below
and said:

yes, every one;

that is where they lost me.

I looked around
without malice or even much fear
and realized at that moment
how distant these people
were from each other

even as we
were herded together, touching
shoulders in the throng, breathing
the same clear mountain air, 

all of them
choosing to repeat
without concern
for truth or motive
what they were told:

that they liked
each other, even loved each other
like family; were truly united
in the valley there 
in the shadow of the high peaks,
none of them thinking
there was anything strange
about being called nation
or congregation
so forcefully,
so insistently.

Every one.
A nation, a congregation.

I turned my face away
from the mountain top people
not out of malice or even much fear;

I just had somewhere else to be. 

Activist Chic

I’ve punched up. I’ve punched back. I keep
punching though every blow busts my hands a bit more. 

I don’t much care about direction. All I feel
is a need to punch. Swinging is 

patriotic. Connecting is manly. Walking away
to seek a new battle is as natural to me

as a storm disappearing after shredding
everything, heading off to look for work elsewhere,

as staying home to rebuild is work best left
to those who won’t punch hard enough 

to level a field that needs clearing. I level up.
My home’s a bad place now; no one’s willing

to do dirty work. Dirty wet work is how 
I have become what I am: alone. Advancing

toward the next battlefield, then the next.
Making my way away from what I thought was home.

This City Is A Garden

Inspired by Worcester journalist Bill Shaner’s phrase describing the city’s attitude toward the unhoused.

This city is a garden
and they are the weeds 
who keep popping up

in the cracks
of what we want to believe
is true 

about the state of
the heart
of our common wealth

This city is a garden
and they are the weeds
who keep showing up 

in places we pretend
we want to protect
and preserve

This city is a garden
and they are the weeds
we say we are willing to replant

in better beds somewhere else
in tiny pots somewhere else
Maybe they’ll be OK then

but in the meantime 
let’s have a mean time
and find them however we can

This city is a garden
and they are the weeds
disrupting our postcard campaigns

What we really want 
is a more manicured view
of who we are

than the one we see
when they show up
on corners

with cardboard signs
forcing smiles toward us
to make their empty hands seem

less a reflection 
of who we really are
and more a cartoon we can dismiss

This city is a garden
and they are the weeds
we long to uproot

and toss even farther aside
until someone else can figure out
how to fix the soil against their return

This city is a garden
They are the weeds
as are roses in a cornfield

if their presence
gets in the way of power’s idea
of progress or profit or propriety

This city is a garden 
being readied
for harvest 

Who knows who will have the say
on how soon today’s roses
will become tomorrow’s weeds