Scoundrel Time

The Media Megaphone

In his 2007 essay “The Braindead Megaphone,” George Saunders describes a gathering of average folks—discussing topics of interest to them with openness and intelligence—who are suddenly drowned out by a man...

Drops Vanish

I remember very little of my childhood, and less as I grow older, each memory lingering like drops of dew on a mirror dropped, forgotten, in a garden. What do I remember? I remember my brother’s feet beside my...

Poems by Liu Xia, With An Introduction From Her Translator

Where is Liu Xia? This is how you try to erase a person after he’s died: you delete all mentions of him. You ban the phrase R.I.P. on blogs. You arrest those who mourn him. You spread his ashes out in the...

Trump’s Wall

“Trump’s Wall” – Arizona, USA – Temperature 115 Degrees
 

“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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Final Animal

Translucent amphibian or molecular invertebrate, scavenging rodent or stubborn ungulate, whatever it is endures all manner of onslaught for that imaginable unimaginable forthcoming moment it’s the last thing blinking and breathing in landscape...

Another Year Older and Deeper in Debt

  Say I tell you a story about a girl who’s afraid of money. From a young age, she learned that there didn’t seem to be much of it and that hard work didn’t mean one would ever have much of it. She knew this from her dad’s dark tan in the...

My First Friend

Drowned. That’s how I liked to think of my parents. Ironic, as they were competitive swimmers. But this was how I imagined it. I am four years old. We are vacationing by the Caspian Sea. My grandparents are relaxing in their reclining chairs, their...

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.” 3)   Trumpolining. When you bounce from one...

Capitol Comedy Hour with Kev & Paul

  Inside the Capitol building, underneath a statue of Barry Goldwater, a cluster of Republican members of Congress are gathered around a keg and holding red Solo cups. Among them are House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Speaker Paul Ryan, and...

How to Build a Monument

Carving out the walls of Zion A desert river called The Virgin Urged us to sit that night. You know. The night my head caught fire And the stars kept falling And the splash of moon on the water made it certain That earth and sky go on and on and on...

It Will Rain

At the salty rim we long for raindrops, umbrella-shaped dancing on a picnic plate, settling down the dust in their hurry to spill old water into rusty tanks, surprising clover from ceded ground. The same precious well will mount on the same well...

Wing Banger

I have heard a cicada crawled out of the dark silences of the mountain after years eating its heart out, to join its luck its wet green wings clicking to the mountain choir dewdrop blackbird twig-snap stone-throw and the wind playing on things...

Greeting

New white folks
in the neighborhood
don’t know to greet
a stranger on the street.
They don’t mean
to be rude.
How long will it last, then –
How ya doing?
Eye to open eye.

Pox Americana: A Roll Call: 5/4/17

(@ the 217 Congressional Representatives who voted to “repeal & replace” the ACA, each one up for reelection in 18 months) You will someday sicken and someday, sure as taxes, vote no more. You will someday sicken and someday, sure as taxes, vote...

Words Fail Me

And it’s not one of these old-age lapses caused by blinking brain synapses. And it’s not a matter of speechless awe at something I just saw on YouTube—a toilet-flushing cat, or commensurately gifted brat. Sometimes, it’s true, I lose a noun or two...

Porcelain and Glass

Summer halfway trundled up, the July rain rasps down our nighttime roof and window glass, the road out front rivering to ruts of pebbled sand, where soil bleeds veins between clumps of grass. At dawn the cat stands stunned at doorway’s edge, tail...

Incident at the Western Border

She vanished before they could shoot her: left only an atmosphere of mist, brume of body which blew inland in a myriad of droplets, a haze of nard and cinnamon touched softly with myrrh and cassia, floating like pamphlets scribbled in a foreign...

The Blanket Room

—After Italo Calvino and Dorianne Laux When I’m inconsolable, I like to go to The Blanket Room™. A new one just opened at the Maple Heights Mall. They wrap you in a blanket and turn out the lights. Then someone comes in, brushes the hair from your...

Requiem

  I woke up one morning and my country was gone. It was strange. It had been there the night before, sparking and hissing, but now it was gone. I could feel its absence in the air, which is a feeling like no other. The garden was still there...

The Trumpbox

  The Trumpbox is 12 3/16 tall and 15 7/8 wide. It can hold quite a lot; according to the label, its “capacity gallon” is 14. It is made of Polyethylene, which I cannot say I really know much about, but I can promise you this, it’s strong. If...