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The Divine Right of Poisoners

Janet Phelan: Shortly before the crash of 08, we dumped the toxic instruments into that big river called the New York Stock Exchange then sat back and watched as lights went off across the world.

Shortly before the crash of 08,
we dumped the toxic instruments
into that big river called the New York Stock Exchange
then sat back and watched
as lights went off across the world

The Divine Right of Poisoners

Construction stopped in France
the skeletons of buildings stood exposed
and unfinished like the bones of museum dinosaurs

In South America, the beans rotted in the fields
as the workers sat in their huts staring out the doors
wondering if their neighbors might share some of their atole
come dinner time

In Tokyo, a couple of slant eyes went into their bedrooms
with their ceremonial knives and never came out

It was really much worse than most of you knew
we made out like bandits, of course

ii

The tiny little seeds grow more quickly
than their brethren
They shoot up over night
their limbs heavy with fat red fruit
The trucks will carry them many miles
to the central processing plant

where identical jars of GMO preserves
move down the assembly line like so many sleepers
Yes, we understand that somewhere down the line
someone will have to pay the piper
as people grown indolent
muscles may atrophy a bit
but that will happen much later
and for the time being
our profits for the last quarter
spiked beyond our expectations

We eat organic, of course
you would too, if you knew
what was in those precious little jars

iii

Ouch
she said
as the needle pricked her arm
we gave her a lollipop and the obligatory
bandaid
and within hours
she was jumping rope
with her girlfriends

The tumors won't starts
til much later
and the lawyers have assured us
it will be difficult to make a case
for causal relationship

This shot is a sweetheart
packs a real payload
she will sail through her childhood
as healthy as a horse
no mumps, no measles, no chickenpox

We cut some corners, of course
It's cheapest product on the market
and the stories we lobbied for
New York Times, Washington Post
didn't hurt the profit margin at all

and it'll be years until they figure out
how we made it so cheap
by that time
well, as the French say

Que sera

iv

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Wow
He looked so cool
Bogart with that stogie
drooping off his lip
his eyes steely
as he gave that babe
the what for

Celluloid
you gotta love it
and when the mandates came down
to change the packaging
little death heads
cadaverous infants
warning
this shit will kill you!
Well, by that time it was really too late
we'd hooked a quarter of the planet

and now that they know that they are killing
their children their parents their neighbors their pets
the chance person sitting next to them at the clouded, smoky bar
and they still won’t stop

“Social Poison”
what a beautiful oxymoron
sums up everything
and just as the psychologists had predicted
all those decades of movies
Bogart
Clint Eastwood
Paul Newman
this tiny little GMO seed

the divine right of poisoners

got planted in the collective unconscious
and nothing can stop it now

v

Could you please put it out?
Someone asked coughing a bit
and he stared at her
with round and offended eyes

what kind of selfish little twat
intruding on his after dinner pleasure
as he looked right through her
just like Bogie
stared her down he did

til she crept back to her table
and just to show her
who is the boss here
he blew a few perfect smoke rings

They hung heavy in the air
tiny little mushroom clouds
innocent and deadly

The second law of thermodynamics
says that nothing is ever created or destroyed

these poison halos radiate out forever
each succeeding generation
a further refinement

of a brave new crop
the genetically modified
heartless, consumptive

and relentless in the pursuit
of their divine right

self satisfaction
no matter who gets in your way

Janet Phelan