Winter 2009 - THE POTOMAC

Two Poems
   Robert Nazarene

The Patriots'Act (Scene One):

          O, what's the loud uproar assailing
               Mine ears without cease?
            'Tis the voice of the hopeful, all-hailing
          The horrors of peace.

                - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Hiphop Hurrah! for the American Ship-of-State,
just minutes after the Arabs showed us a thing or…

The entire Congressional chorus, body-snatched
to the Capitol steps for a sing-along: God Bless

America, teleprompters aflame. Both sides
of the aisle, bride & groom's, port-filled

& star-bored. And where might I ask?
(as a Point of Ordure) was Mr. Jolson? Backstage,

wiping off his blackface, white as a goat, marble-
mouthed, mumbling: You ain't heard nothin' yet, folks.

Ghetto Primer

Purse-snatching is so déclassé.
Acquire a mentor: Third Worlders
work best.
Don't be stupid.
Correction: don't act stupid.
Read William Foote Whyte's
Street Corner Society.
When the cops roll up
flip one's lid. One + one
= snake-eyes.
Accept inequality, plentiful
as ants at a picnic.
Your opportunities are limitless:
commensurate with federal
sentencing guidelines.
Mystify your colleagues.
Pretend to be a reporter
for The Washington Post.
Refuse to name your sources.
Do not pass go directly
to jail.

Dream Song, 78

   "Our Father, who art where thou art…"
                    ---Nicanor Parra

The adjustment of tall buildings
into flour dust. The excavation of earth
(length, width & depth) the size of swim-
ming pools---into mass…temples. Penury,
pestilence, quietus: spread like fine
linen tablecloths, coming soon
to a theater near you. And the promise
of more Surprise!'s in the offing. The music
of love—is Why? to my ears. I

have placed God
on a need-to-know basis.

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