At the Start of Another War


That it was a mini parade
on the national scene
counted for nothing
The gods of knowledge knew
This was a pastime
This was church between murders

The others sang paeans to clothing
to skin cells, all forms of excreta
and the history of furniture and abuse,
their brilliance never surpassed
They did it together it seemed to be the sky
an absolute universe

Prometheus was wheeled out
on a ping pong table
proved the glory of Freedom
after which there were crackers and jelly

The mini parade tottered at cliff’s edge
but refused to fall off
blared a song of survival with such force
they almost blew their brains out

The rest of the nation covered their ears
like the famous Japanese monkeys


Was that armored thing,
flat on the ground,
in pursuit of my shadow
or feet
just a country creature
or the model for next
year’s war,
a machine singularly independent
killing at masters’ will?

I don’t know!
But when it flew off
I remembered
your tale of unknown
monsters and the way
the wired sky kills birds
as we talk and conveniently keep busy
while the absolute mission is prepared
in the filched name of God

For the Drowned

Sink if you must but going under keep
your eyes as open as the deep permits
Those creatures want you, watch them eat and know
gifts to be given back are rare and few

Be honored you can calm a raging realm
eager for those in doubt that they exist
The lightning shark, the mythic octopus
starve for your conscious life, take what they will

Humble to the sea as a snail seeking cover
or clouds the cold brings down and the waves break over
may you be their ample fill, now and forever

The Show Must Go On

The puppets dangling from their strings
suspended midair by their fat-fingered master
want to reach out and kiss
the gaping mouths in the air beside them
What legs they suggest
seem to kick out
in a fury to be what they are
But they are dolls
despite our vision
our hearts that pity them.
And the serious snag in their sky
has stopped everything
We wait
Limp and foolish they swing back and forth
Everyone waits

Roberta Gould

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