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9 Poems

Paul Lojeski: She carried the death of science and reason like a patriot wrapped in the flag. I felt stupid holding a book when I should’ve been sharpening a blade.
tattooed woman

On a Sunny Day

I was reading a book at the beach under a blue
umbrella when a young girl in a bikini passed
before me.

Be assured I stared not because she was half-naked
as would normally be my wont but because her skin
was highly defamed by a swarm of swirling tattoos.

There were black crosses, snarling red serpents,
and a mushroom cloud on her muscular thigh. Also
the words “bad bitch” scrolled across her tanned back.

She carried the death of science and reason like a patriot
wrapped in the flag. I felt stupid holding a book when
I should’ve been sharpening a blade.

After Another Slaughter

Over these fading footprints
a dream evaporates and slips
into flame, the fire fueled
by us, for we are the fire.

You wish with all your heart
and soul it wasn’t so but now
in the daily listing of destruction
you know it to be true. In the air

is the sadness of all of us who
have come before, who likewise
heeded no warnings and earnestly
kept the blaze raging. What is

next you know deep down no
matter how hard you turn away
from it: we are the fire burning
down the world, we are the flame.

This Wild Place

The sun continues its long
march to darkness,
technology earns praise

and addiction and cleverness
becomes a church. We’re
geniuses, the priests

of product shout in the
brief silences between
cannon fire, when the rock-

jawed reload with furious
conviction and the sun
burns on in a red sky.

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Magic Devoid of Voice

Breath rasping
in the middle-
of-the-night
in that mysterious
darkness, when
humans leave
the earth alone
for a moment
and magic devoid
of voice floods
the mind.
Perfectly still,
I listened, waiting
for a clue,
a sign of hope
as the wind
rushed over
an empty world.

White

Everyday I say my
silent thanks for
being born white
in this racist
slaughterhouse.
Where walking
to the store on
a sunny day
becomes a life
threatening event
if the wrong color,
where youngsters
grow up with terror
in their eyes, where
the law is murder,
where life is death.

Tell the Truth

Before the Pledge of Allegiance
at every school event tell the

children how we’re suffocating our
sacred living space because we’re

to lazy, pig-headed and greedy
to stop. Go on tell them. I dare you.

The Apple Watch

The herd moves through
the cold night, whips of

hard riders forcing them
on. What’s your excuse?

Privilege

Nail salon music
Meditative quiet

Smell of paint thinner
Asian eyes cast downward

memorial day

the war dead
useless dead
bones but
memorials
to madness
in every country
in timeless
hubris
the wing
of vultures
carrying forth
our name
death lovers
dancing
driving
having supper
with friends
and family,
laughter filling
the night
loving each
other loving
death

Paul Lojeski