The Trickster

It was a cavernous mouth that the orange wig wore,
and it hungered and hungered after five courses of adulation,
and became bloated on the bedlam it sowed.
And when it didn’t get its banquets,
the mouth puckered and turned nasty,
and lit respectable senators on fire.

And the jeering crowds were not enough,
and the outraged champagne lefties were not enough.
He wanted hits and the big-time jerk-off circus
of ratings on a presidential scale.

And he obsessed over angles and entrances,
and made it his first order of state
to put up self-portraits in solemn halls of power,
to hide the terrifying defects of the trickster king
behind industrial strength spray-on tan,
to turn truth into lies and deny the lies again.

And he grew easily bored with the minutiae
that kept this inebriated world balanced on its tightrope
between fascist alligators and orgies of atomic lust.

The rope is sagging in the middle,
the tightrope walker in chief is tottering,
distracted by a shiny mirror,
the Big House pegs are all at breaking point.
Hold onto your britches earthlings,
the puckered mouth has bitten off more than it can chew!

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A Woman Guerrilla in Vietnam

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You did not make this war,
but it came to you anyway
and it has cleaved you into a woman of fury.
It was the steel men
disgorged from the bellies of their steel beasts,

who knew nothing of
the abundant tenderness of your terraced paradise,
they were the ones
who spread these black scars across the bright jungle,
and tore the villagers from their earth,
scattered their bones in the ruined dykes.
They inflicted the black scar in your youthful heart.

Once, you were the strong peasant child,
girl of the rice husk,
arms browned by the ancient years of a limpid sun,
those smooth pillars of Vietnam,
which held up the beautiful cities of Hue and Hanoi,
the poet scholars, the plaintive music of the gulf,
the ancient palaces cupped by an indulgent flower.

Now, you have the steeled body of the warrior,
and your strong arms have learned to
wield their own iron righteousness.
The jungle is your skin and the enemy cannot see you,

nor does he reckon with the violence of
your threatened womb.
You will avenge the child, the child not yet born,
the hope of your Vietnam.