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Feed the Dogs/Starve the Poor | The House Is on Fire

Paul Lojeski: in rundown trailer parks and crumbling tenements, ever unseen or spoken of by smooth, celebrity voices, the poor wait in shadows of desolation, with rightist ideologues and neo-liberal liars swearing allegiances to their new Lords and Masters.

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Feed the Dogs/Starve the Poor

Oh, those dramatically sentimental
and touching commercials with
the sad-eyed breeds starring into
the camera, shaking and whimpering
in wretched conditions, while
the female voiceover crackles,
stutters and breaks apart emotionally
describing the horrific plight
of those horribly neglected
and abused beasts, beseeching
viewers to please (almost sobbing),
please help them today.

And this compassionate, mighty
nation stirs and pulls out its
collective credit card, reaching
for the phone, its generous heart
thundering, booming, Save the dogs!

While in rundown trailer parks
and crumbling tenements, ever
unseen or spoken of by smooth,
celebrity voices, the poor wait in
shadows of desolation, with rightist
ideologues and neo-liberal liars
swearing allegiances to their
new Lords and Masters: Wealth
and Privilege promising death to
poverty forever by slashing food
stamp allowances more and more,
until one day this blessed land
shall be free of these miserable
parasites, finally rid of the evidence
of systematic malfeasance, once
and for all the needy shall need
nothing of the righteous. And over
their unmarked graves the now saved
and fattened-up dogs will sleep away
the days without a care in the world.

The House Is on Fire

For generations it has burned bright
in the night sky, through blazing
summer heat, torrential spring

downpours and raging winter
blizzards. And for all that smoky
time there’ve been witnesses

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shouting, Look, the house is
on fire. The house is on fire!
Articles by giants of the mind,

describing the ferocious flames
are pasted up all over towns and
villages (new ones appear daily,

year after year), poems about its
whip snapping roar and crackle
are forever thrown at the sky

and speakers never cease
bemoaning the conditions that
brought forth and maintain

its angry, leaping consistency
corrupting history’s struggle
with truth. Yet, we live in this

house on fire, as if nothing is
amiss, for we are its flames
and flames feel no heat.

Paul Lojeski