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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swell

  I have never had a mother, or, no longer have or, once did, briefly, for a day or two. Perhaps she was only mine   during the wet crown of hours I spun my skull through her ripe & widening cunt, then fastened to her nipple—   a...

the last time

I did it alone. Not in bed where I’d willed myself dead for so many years I became apparition not in the bathroom where I fed my body to a hungry blade & cut down my hair with a match. It was not in the arms of the man I tried over & over to...

fusillade for my mother’s brain

  You spoiled mound complicated by static you skull-born satellite launched from a splintered mirror you doom-hatched agony steady as piss you childless guilt scorched in fog you blazing delirium un-teaching my name you sideshow daydreamer...

dead radio apostle

Heels in stirrups, knees pitched above my hips, I am blinded by every measured breath required before each push— a cold, unnatural discipline. I was taught to focus on something in the room, to distract from the hell-rigged pain knifing me from the...

glutton

you write poems to understand what you cannot understand. name the beast you’ve been trying to outrun your entire life. you’re forty & it’s time to stop avoiding. halt the fogged spin of language that redirects the eye. say what you mean...

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 I stood still All winter a deep booming...

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...