Two Poems


[audio link]

Oh fuck it is the diet kind. Let me
explain: Ever since the Pseudo-Bede
issued his trivia, we have wondered
if we can really know the non-corporeal, why
it is dangerous to make love after a copious meal
and even why the grass roots do not die
in winter, but we have never wanted to know
what it is to drink a diet soda:
my sense of relevance may differ from yours
but when I read about Viktor Bout as he so delicately
transliterates it, and see him in his
combat helmet, hands shackled over his ugly
jumpsuit, his moustache like a cockleburr
on steroids in the helicopter's wind I think about
Dushambe, three hours from Chitral, two from
Samarqand at 38° 33' N, 68° 46' E, Eden,
where I have been, and about the Russian,
Uzbek, English, Farsi, French, Spanish
Portuguese, Xhosa, and Zulu Mr. Butt is said to speak
without being transformed into anything better
than an arms dealer.
Let us pause and mourn the screw
of this fire-tongued purveyor of
the accoutrements of power:
earthly things cannot be fully enjoyed unless
one has been completely alone. Prolonged
engroupment tarnishes the beautiful
and that is why we have militaries to blow
things up. Splendor et fragor, as the old dudes said.
Fire in their beards, powder in their hands,
white-knuckled on the bag of money,
those blower-uppers, those money-suckers and so
it turns out that John of Salisbury was right
when he said the earth was inhabited by men
and reptiles, although I take issue with the celestial
beings he said lived in the fire:
it's a speculative cast of mind, Bank Kwang Prison
aside. But please can I draw your attention
to this here: it is profane.
If politics is the new religion
and shopping the new politics,
can I get a cheap Chinese solar panel with that?


CEO Pay on the Rise

[audio link]

In 2001 he was making a dollar a minute
Not that much he says.
Sleeping, waking, at the dentist,
looking for his car keys,
the white of his eye living in harmony
with its black pupil,
just under $1500 a day.

Topco, in Ningbo,
makes his plastic bags,
paying the staff 3 cents a minute
and in Juarez, in Rawalpindi,
nothing for lunch, neither mango nor chili.

Posserderti he karaokeys, song-crying
from his concept car,
meaning both the wing-pinning of amor
and, from the freudian recesses of his youth,
the settling of old scores.

Evil men are more assertive
always able to show the Boss more loyalty.
No Tsar ever had so many flatterers
as the guy who makes $2500 a second
and yes, yes, there is one.
Well, wait, there's two.

—Judy Swann, Ithaca, NY