Scoundrel Time

Poetry

Election

Schoolchildren wait in seven, six, five, four straight lines that sway and shimmer as they’re led away until a winged V arrows south, and they see the pointed shape of flight from home, an escape— though they read liberty in motion, not need for...

Flamboyan (Royal Poinciana)

  I always wanted to be that woman That brazen hussy clothed in red The color of a torch singer’s lips or a rooster’s wattle Fecund, inflamed, unashamed My trembling limbs spread wide In rampant, ecstatic bloom Defying you and your mortal fears...

This Is Us (Oxycodone Song)

  What was it Mavis said about the marble, re: Da Vinci, or was it Michelangelo, you know, that the job is, some- how, the careful removal of what isn’t needed—of what’s getting in the way? Something like that? Google it, I said. She’d been the...

The Mothers on the Wall

Stant pavidae in muris matres oculisque sequuntur Pulveream nubem et fulgentes aere catervas. -AENEID VIII 590-1 The fearful mothers standing on the wall, the cloud of dust they follow with their eyes: millennia pass, and nothing’s changed at all of...

American Patriot: A Portfolio

Poems by Jim Daniels, Photographs by Charlee Brodsky   Size Matters Imagine singing “Oh, say, can you see” to a flag you can’t see. That’s what graduate students at the University of Texas at Dallas had in mind when they...

Here

Where do you put the anger and the fear? Hand them over. Here. What do you do with the uncertainty? Pass it to me. The sadness, the foreboding, all the rest? I bare my breast. The blustering threats, the dark and stormy skies? Look into my eyes...

Isolated Splendor

I was aping Mussolini in a pizzeria when the American I fell for called me an asshole, not an overreaction in Roma, the city responsible for romantics like Caligula and Berlusconi. Later that night, soccer hooligans attacked the riot cops, the...

Still Life w/ Gay Lil’ Patriots

yu so fun so danger so smoke so ready 2 deady [next stop: F I R E W O R K S spend $ & get &z off] we bubble buy blame bead up the sky w blood [the libertree thirsty & i wonder what this b 2 me] as yr local majikal hapahaole mite say a...

Murillo’s Saint Catherine, c. 1650

–Hospital de los Venerables, Sevilla She stares with a bearing – experience having brought her soul this far – and lifts a frond, one kind of sword, in one hand, effortless. In the other, clutched to her, the silver plated sword of her own...

Bonnet

The woman on the waste site tour bus wore the kind of bonnet my grandmother kept in her purse for emergencies. She squared her shoulders in front of us, the plastic kerchief knotted to her head and not a cloud in the sky. Our guide in charge of...

In the Dark Times

In the dark times Will there also be singing? Yes, there will be singing. About the dark times. —Bertolt Brecht There will be prayer, too, but to a different god, and dread will lurk in the songs we sing. Doom in the timpani no matter what the tune...

Congrats! The Revolution Is Now

buff buffe / buffer buff/reibu / buffrebufffring / & fervently awaitin ya pass       code o, word      ? we wonder how we will in2       existence: amazonial primal access & 1070p rejection      o’ taxes science will save ya ass / a seat...

Report a Problem With This Poem

—as noted on the Poetry Foundation website This poem isn’t meant for you or for anyone, really— hairpin scratches in wet clay, hardly cuneiform, whatever came to mind then left as quickly. Resistant, like a child whose fist clamps around a...

My Sister and I Are Having the Same Dream

Long after nights of arm-tickling across the chasm between our twin beds, after all the shared illnesses of childhood—spiking fevers doused in crystalline alcohol, such pungent, icy baptisms, after the honeyed scabs of measles and of falls, years of...

Flyover

My Midwest is two old women: The first, a neighbor, who watched the delivery man lug the huge spring water jug, slung on his back like firewood, to my door. Bulbous glass, as slippery as our icy back steps, but foreign, exotic to her, with a name...

Life Is So Good Here

Barbecue smell drifts over from the river. Too much lighter fluid splashed in the pouring. Flares of sudden fire. Parkland. Given: a family, Dad home on leave. The kids lead him by the hand, showing him off, he’s theirs. And Mom fully reclined on...

A Word From Our Sponsor

“The bay is blowing gray beneath the sky. The trash fish are fingered From the net and go missing with a flick of the blade. Pity the newborn’s cry into the cold of the clinic. Fear the man whistling along the road beneath a dying sky. Know the last...

Macro

The lizard was green against the wooden reaper. It has come close to this happening many times, but this time The red heart is beating on a stick. You were eyeing the furs in the windows midtown. Teeth get lost in the dark. Your tongue is winding...

Suggested Improvements

The red flyer was posted by the elevator On the ground floor by the mailboxes. Management Has enlisted the utility company To come install new more efficient shower heads, Low-flow kitchen faucet aerators and other Improvements that will save money...

Two Cheers for the Middle Class (Mojave Song)

“Reality,” said my friend Fortunato, a neuroscientist, “is a controlled hallucination.” Just so, the unnamable swims into focus, all teeth and sharp corners.                         A guy at my daughter’s fancy school complains about belt-tightening...

Sleeplessness: Eulene-Style

                                        “Knowing I couldn’t sleep made it harder to try.”                                                                   –Marvin Bell Eulene tries anyway, even though insomnia gallops like...

After the Election, in a Semi-Barbaric Land

After the election, I stare at a door. What’s behind it? Scylla? Charybdis? Maybe a tiger. Or else, a tiger. After the election, witch hazel, stubborn, electric, bursts yellow over Wolf Creek. I’m too sad to get drunk. Gold needles tumble all day...