Scoundrel Time

Neo(Trump)ologisms for 2017

  1)    Trumpe l’oeil: When you can’t believe the shit you’re seeing. 2)   Trumple: To stamp all over with the jackboots of ignorance; e.g., “The reporter was thrown to the ground and trumpled.”...

Dispatch from Mexico City: On the Relación of Cabeza De Vaca, from Coyoacán, 2017

Such is my axis in the Theater of Space-Time: On this mid-January day of 2017, Donald J. Trump has just been sworn in as the 45th President of United States, to the uneasy consternation of every Mexican I...

Holding the Blue Line: Dispatches from a Swing State

  Roanoke. Population approximately one hundred thousand. A small city nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. An island of blue in an angry sea of red. The Democratic Party of Virginia’s...

Dura Mater

I carried death inside me for several days, waiting That man had no ticket to the concert; he pressed his ear to the wall, but no song found him Bees were swarming; they made sleeves and a hood around me when...

“In the increasingly convincing darkness / The words become palpable…" —John Ashbery

“Let us go forth with fear and courage and rage to save the world.” —Grace Paley

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Vanishing Point

For as far as we can see, they trudge across swirling sand toward us At the gate, one child’s blinks, such a uniform degree of metronomic motion with inky lashes—they seem to make an audible click, the second hand of memory, calligraphic Tropics of...

My Mother’s Pilgrimage

  In September 2015—the year a crane collapse in Mecca killed 111 people, followed by the deaths of another 2000 in a stampede—my mother returned from the Hajj with flu and was immediately quarantined in a hospital in Indianapolis. It took her...

Exclusive Service

Tom had built up some sort of callus so the leg shackle didn’t bother him as much as it used to. Also, the Team had been very accommodating when he asked for the chain to be lengthened. Those few inches meant he could reach the bathroom, so he felt...

“Appropriate and Just”

 

Diplomacy? A bother and a bore.
In fact, who needs a diplomatic corps?
Who needs cables and epistles?
When you launch a bunch of missiles,
you can lift your polling numbers from the floor.

Greens

The city built a retaining wall at the edge of the cemetery to prevent old bodies from sliding out onto the street. Take the civic hand and walk in the sun. Whether or not you have lost everything, there is nothing to lose in finding yourself on the...

Selections from The Trumpiad

  SMART “‘He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met,’ said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the most senior GOP senator. Asked about Carson’s lack of experience in the agency’s areas of expertise, Hatch replied: ‘No, but he has medical experience ...

Colony

A splash of gasoline, a match, my brother poking it with a shovel. I was too young to have an opinion yet knew it was wrong. Even if the haystack pile of it grew each day more troubling beside the swingset, beside the prim lines of carrots in the...

Because They Could: How We Are Not Russia

  On February 27, 2015, a stone’s throw away from the ominous fishbone of the Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower, they killed the charismatic and universally beloved leader of the Russian political opposition, the former Russian First Deputy Prime...

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...

A Prescriptive Identity? Not My Birthright.

  Identity. I searched for it my entire life. When I thought I had it in my clutches, the slippery creature learned how to evade me; my identity changed directions, it multiplied, it forced me to look inwards and decide—is this who I want to be...

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...