Photo: Arun Kulshreshtha


For Robert Silvers

And you could say we’ve been living in clover
From Walt Whitman to Barack Obama.
Now a dictatorship of vicious spineless slimes
We the people voted in has taken over.
Once we’d abolished slavery, we lived in clover,
From sea to shining sea, even in terrible times.
It’s over. 

Look how the sunlight enters the bedroom and my dream.
Look how the radio alarm attacks me with an ax.
The plane I have to catch departs at eight from JFK.
Unbuckled and at cruising altitude, we’ll excrete a white contrail.
I have to be there two hours before
We do. How beautiful the sky when you’re below.
The Russian ambassador to Turkey was gunned down

Giving a friendship speech at an art gallery in Ankara
By a Turkish Islamic zealot
Pointing one finger upward and saying God is great.
Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria! he shouts,
Referring to the horror and the thousands wretchedly dead,
The little children, from Russian aerial bombing.
Russia is red and red the blood the ambassador bled.

The body on the floor
Is the late ambassa door.
You step over him to your study window holding a loaded gun
To your head and jump
Out to your death into the arms of Donald Trump.
Pigeons have painted the ledge outside the window white.
Now the day is over and it is time to say good night.

I hear the pillow hissing auf wiedersehen.
I stumble out of bed and start sleepwalking.
WWW, White Western World, stand on your feet to greet, still asleep,
The arrival of the bride made of daylight all dressed in white.
Outbursts of pigeons explode white
As light in whorls of flight in the wonderful sunlight,
Then settle on cooing ledges and shit white.

I’m trumpeting the most dazzling imitation
Diamond ring you’ll ever see,
Set by the expat genius jeweler JAR in Paris,
Whom nothing ostentatious can embarrass,
To celebrate the catastrophe of America, the American catastrophe.
The only possession of mine
God will want to grab

Is on my pinkie
When I’m laid out naked on the slab,
And here comes God—who’s of course a she—
Who removes the ring,
And slides my corpse
For cremation
Into her big hot thing.

There was a very rich
Lady who lived on Liberty Island,
Who lied to herself and the world like Donald Trump.
Her druggy daughter, her only child,
Whose memory she liked to weep over and about whom she lied,
Had lived and died years before, and apparently the mother
Had behaved horribly when the daughter badly needed her.

The woman was arrogant.
People loved her.
Her life was luxurious. People like that.
There was an old
Woman who lived in a shoe.
Her fantasy was that she and her daughter
Had been fantastic together.

A person who smokes cigarettes these days,
Albeit only secretly,
A woman who smokes but hides it so no one sees,
And is careful about how she smells, no stink, no stain, no pain,
Now it begins to rain
In her lungs, these days when you’re not permitted to smoke anywhere inside
A public place, even if she’s elegant, is ashamed.

Give the poor bitch a break.
Be kind to poor inhuman us.
Aren’t we all a bit like her and at least a little fake?
And wasn’t America often quite generous?
In fact, my understanding is the Western heart is leaking pus
And the Western brain is near the end.
The Prophet Muhammad and his evil double have started to blend.

The president of the United States proclaims America First.
He doesn’t know Mecca from Milan.
There’s been a terrorist attack in Berlin.
Also, the leader of North Korea
Has ordered a new diet for border guards
That has given them diarrhea.
I repeatedly shot an innocent unarmed black man in the back who was fleeing

Into a park full of broad daylight. Good morning.
If you’re a senior citizen, you won’t really live long
Enough to know
The river of refugees has reversed its course,
Flowing the wrong way now on account of shock
And aftershocks and so many fools saying
Have a good day.

The United States of America, its ribs gauntly sticking out,
Tries to drink from a watering hole, all fifty states try,
Bulls mooing like cows, Gestapo everywhere,
But there’s no water,
And this is not just in Flint, Michigan.
Girls and boys, a world you never knew is over.
I was writing a poem the other day that said so.

It said we’ve been living in clover
From Walt Whitman to Barack Obama.
Once we’d abolished slavery, we lived in clover
From sea to shining sea, even in terrible times.
Now a dictatorship of spineless vicious slimes
We the people voted into power has taken over
And it’s over.

Frederick Seidel’s most recent collection is Widening Income Inequality.