Two Poems

Returning to America

They bombed my basement
in a dream last night. Republicans.

I couldn't sleep. In the morning,
twisted clouds held back the light. 

The sea was listless, like my mind:
fearful going back. On CNN,

blond news anchors broke the news
every thirty minutes: compassion

was dead. They had won in Washington,
the big men, with their angry cars

and private guns. My memories
of getting beaten up come back

as dreams. America, you scare me
with your unrelenting games.


Watching American Politics on Danish TV

The light night happening
without me, I walk too fast

and barely see the stars or gulls,
the purple softness on the west horizon.

At night, I dream impatient drunken highways,
all night gas stations with cowboy names.

While I was getting beaten up
at boarding school, a boy was killed

a week before our graduation.
They found a box of rifles in his trunk,

cases of empty beer bottles,
murdered steel and broken glass. 

One afternoon they took us
to his grandmother's farm, where they

propped us up with lemonade
and wispy cookies. We lied

about him with our suits
and sweaty silence. I had no words

for that dishonest afternoon,
the unreal holiness, white lace

sunlight mixing with the smell 
of gasoline and guns. America.

The people who beat me up
are ruining the country. 

—Norman Leer, Madison, WI