Michael B. Carroll Jr.

I’m not mad. I’m angry

We are not a threat to your America.

I’m not mad. I’m angry…
so angry that I could explode, spontaneously, like an unstable gas.
Don’t you understand that we yearn and fight to
prove that we are, indeed, noble?

Little Emmett’s casket and
Sarah Baartman’s wax figure remain spectacles. A tourist attraction
for public view. A reminder to never forget the
price they’ve had to pay and the
burden we still bear.

I’m not mad. I’m angry…
angry that my brothers are spending life, trapped, behind
iron bars and fences made of barbwire.
Do you not understand how far we’ve
been chosen to go?

I am furious!…
so furious, the pain buckles down deep in my viscera …
wreaking havoc amongst my cells, tissues,
organs and organ systems.

Are we meant only to be
targets for blunt force body-blows?
In the schoolyard, the heads of black boys—bashin’ into the
concrete. Neck asphyxiated by a bigoted knee.
The screaming voices of our African mothers,
enough to make a love song cry.

What happened to our
music, dance, customs and style you loved so much?
I am livid!
Livid, that people are so desensitized to racism,
that a chronic miscarriage of justice
is considered “the norm.”

Previously published in Michael B. Carroll, Jr., Songs of an Indomitable Spirit (Beaverton, OR: The Poetry Box, 2020)


Morgan Driscoll

Sam in the ICU

Those flowers are wilting
have I been here for long?
There is snow on the windowpane
and cold in your unfamiliar eyes.
These wires
have a regimental look, so many,
so gathered into austere packs,
someone has worried them to order.
I don’t recall
this inhospitable room but I can gather
I am here for no good reason.
I expect you will start with
reasonable tones. No fear,
I’ve been through this before
and I think I know the expectations.

There was to be a celebration
is the last thing I remember,
a victory about… majority? Perhaps?
One side had won and wished to rub
the triumph into conquest
or that’s what someone else had said.
And then I woke up here
just now
the sound of fitful dreams:
loud screaming raging righteous
anger through
a dark I can’t remember as
we begin the COAx4.
Can I tell to you the year? the date?
my name and where I am?

And now, although confused
by your sudden look of reticence,
I know what’s coming next,
you’ll ask me
“Who is the President?”


Jenn Zed

Good Luck with That


Our Beloved Leader, Mao Tse Trump


Trish Saunders

Only A Few Pennies Lie in the Bottom of Your Hat, Donald

Your kingdom is uncastled, mister president,
the senators you chucked under their chins
have returned to their homes, chastened,
frightened for winter.

It won’t be long now.

The sun will open rusted flowers lying mangled in the fields.
The children you caged will stand up with them.
They will be singing.

Families you deported, the sick and dying elders you dismissed,
the  laid off workers, will come roaring back,
looking for you.

The millions you borrowed and stole are all past due.

The tax man cometh.

And still your voice foghorns through the valley.
Exactly as if you expect someone
to come running.


Andy Posner

Promises to Myself If Trump Loses the Election

“Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” – Greek Proverb

As the Enola Gay has circled overhead, I’ve gained weight,
and obsessed over coverage of its flight: Will we be spared,

or perish? What orders have been given, and who or
what will the pilot obey? We paid for the plane and

its cargo; we educated their designers; we elected those
that control our fate: even if the plane safely lands, the

bomb will remain. Yet life will go on. I’ll unclench my jaw
to find my teeth in need of repair. I’ve neglected so much,

watching the spectacle above. I used to read for pleasure!
The yard is a tangle of weeds; my fridge is full of junk food.

At last I can ride my bike in peace, though the Enola’s
engine idles and I can’t shake the desire for revenge.


Marc Woodward

Isn’t there a better way to Make America Great?

A marimba band sweats on Pacific,
beer-buzzed students overspill the town.
The rough sleepers, high and rowdy,
are bossing out their own street party
—until two blue and whites arrive
to sweep them down and out of site.
A stranger tells me how Nevada
bought them one way rides to California.
Our Santa Cruz winter’s so much milder—
Carson City just bussed its problem here.

This may be my last visit to the States
even if my health allows. It’s done now.
Like an old flame you meet for a catch-up
a lunchtime glass of wine and “how are you?”
until one day the invitation comes
and you know at last you’ve both moved on.
Perhaps it’s Trump and Pence and Kavanaugh;
the Second Amendment, dumb ‘Hopes and Prayers’?

Sure, that all gnaws away—but just as much
the V8 cars, the climate change deniers,
the edge of nowhere malls of pointless tat,
the cockroach-kitchen-taco-joints, sushi grills,
excess portions to cram the bleating maw,
all of which I can’t ignore. Simply put:
the slogans, the bible-twisting hypocrites,
forced patriotism—the whole sad place now grates.
The wealthiest nation on our planet
dumps its sick to die in different States.


Tom Riordan

Pomp and Circumstance

Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, th’ ear-piercing fife, The royal banner, and all quality, Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war! —Othello
My mother respected and loved the queen. She loved the ceremony and the pomp. Pomp and circumstance. —Trump

We have to talk. It’s time. Just you and I.
Supposing we raise funds by crowdsource
to buy NBC or Fox for you? No strings?
All Trump And What Trump Likes—All Day!
All night. All week. All month. Year after year.
If necessary, run commercials on your shows
that offer viewers prizes to keep ratings up.

All gold. The whole thing gilt or solid gold.
To save the Commonwealth, the Queen’s agreed
to host a slot at 9AM, New York time—
Pomp and Circumstance—the day’s
top wars and coronations, all with accents,
all with huge, high, chin-strapped beaver hats?
What else? The Neo-Conan Challenge—
Arnold Schwarzenegger back in chains?
In every episode, a clever schoolboy thinks up
ways to freak him out—bugs, girlie men.
The capstone—Presidential Timber—
ten contestants vie to win the audience’s vote?
And All the News That Isn’t Fake—
its journalists and talk show hosts
exclusively harassers and their victims,
the reportage interspersed with re-enactments
of the actual finaglement and sexual success?

You get to keep your staff and hangers-on.
Plum jobs for Bannon, Priebus, Conway, Spicer.
All your kids. Their spouses. Their kids too.
Plus naming rights—Trump this, Trump that—
to any institution of your choice
in every major city where you won the vote.
Trump Oklahoma City International.
Trump Mesa Arizona City Hall.
Virginia Beach Trump Lovers Olde Plantation.

What else? Ah, the Trump Wall Mall! Agreed.
A wonder of the world—your Presidential library
extending all 2000 miles, built right in—
a monument the likes of which
has not been seen in centuries,
and never will again—the one historians will dub
The Straw That Broke a Nation’s Back.
The south side, myriad artisanal cantinas
hawking mariachi-fueled tequila jags.
The north, coin-operated Jesus Will Forgive You
boutique sermon booths—all proceeds
split between your coffer and the NRA.

We’ll throw in three more wishes, to be named
at future dates. We only want you to be happy.
We adore you. Everyone adores you.
The United States is too ungrateful
to deserve you as their head of state—
a role so limiting, the list of shows
you’ve had no choice but to record
is straining the capacity of your gigantic DVR.
What say you, Donald? May I call you that?
Can we be friends? I bow? I kneel. You won.


Pesach Rotem

Light and Darkness

Leonard Cohen—
a poet and a gentleman
of dignity and grace,
of immense talent,
of humility and honesty and wit—
died on Monday, November 7, 2016.

Donald Trump—
the antithesis,
the anti-Cohen,
a man of vanity and cruelty,
of ignorance and greed and lies—
was elected president the next day,
Tuesday, November 8.

Four years later, their worlds collide.
The Minions of Trump request permission to use “Hallelujah” at their convention.
The Estate of Cohen declines the request.
The Minions of Trump use “Hallelujah” anyway.
The Estate of Cohen gives legal notice:
            Hands off “Hallelujah.”
            It is not for you.
            “You Want It Darker” might have worked
            if you had asked.

The Minions of Trump do not respond.


Tom Strong

The Trump Effect


Joseph R. Biden

Climate Change


November 7, 2020

Biden Beats Trump