For Comrade Malcolm
the false prophet will screw with your head daily an image of desperate unknowns: the anonymous taxpayer who would like to take offense on behalf of those offended, the popular victims of the day. his face is caked with muted flesh and grinning ivory teeth he nods with sympathy to the jobless but can offer no work he turns cold on the youth, “innovate and get a job and get a life too” and all the while, he repeats the mantra, “Look How Far We’ve Come!” but the Grind goes on, despite him. the secretary will type the factory worker will strike but neither can taste any Free in free trade. the bus driver will bus the newsmen will make news for every seated person as the students bargain with the bankers to negotiate their debt and cancel their dreams. the doctors will doctor the teachers will teach the businessmen will do business while the dark-skinned are executed publicly on video and the poor have to rage to remove the lead from water that eats through metal as it flows through aging pipes in apartheid cities. but the Grind goes on, despite him. and Change comes, the Fruit from all those broken bodies and as people say, “Now, surely, is the time. We’ve had it!” the false prophet says, “No, we should move slowly and wait for a more convenient time.”
The Gag Order
Did the sculptor who made Justice a blindfolded woman have a joke at our expense? the elevated scales of unbiased balance, the sword at her side: more the two dimensional things from the worn pages of fairytales than the metaphors of a sculptor are the gown and the trinkets meant to be the future, the hopes of a civilized people?: that she will swing the sharpened edge of justice in the right direction? the steel as true to its target as the archer Apollo his golden chariot traversing the heavens and the Light warming every face as it falls towards sunset? but can you doubt today that Power takes its pleasure from the womb of Justice? for, dropping all pretension and feigned virtue, the scales and the sword disappear though the blindfold works well for the kink: her clothes torn away, he places a sweaty palm over mouth and nose and then takes what he wants with a notion that the tears are simply her misunderstanding
Steve is an urban planner living in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. His poems and short stories focus on the bizarre and irrational forces that animate society and what we call ‘nature.’ His published work has appeared in Poetry Quarterly (Fall 2016).