Three Poems from a United State

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by Michael Odom (February 2019)
 


Jealousy II, Edvard Munch, 1896
 
 

I
 

Ceding points to the blonde, he raises his mace,

Proving her arguments specious.

She is blinded and female, much like Justice   

With capsaicin burning her face.           

He’s dressed Halloween black with red eyes in ash   

And the masked crusader’s set jaw.                  

His own comic book! He flies like a jackdaw               

Up the street! A hundred-yard dash                              

Flown in a second! It’s Jackdawman’s escape!

He’ll sleep tonight (toke or no toke)                 

Snuggled up, woke.

 

II

 

When her chivalrous comrade makes himself scarce,          

The SJW girl bares             

One breast, Amazon-ish. Her nipple ring scares         

All the shyest Nazis. One dares               

A soft compliment. Square-jawed. Blue-eyed.  No scars        

Yet. A police teargas bomb scatters                   

Antifa to their waiting cars and, mostly, their bars.               

But with youth opposed, two get their                          

Cocktails less Molotov. Girl, boy now, she leans         

Towards his iPhone, their heads together,                  

Watching live streams.  

 

III

 

Like Americans, we drove, tired, veering                     

Right into on-coming traffic.                               

“Left side!” “I was just thinking, knowledge: it’s like 

China teacups. Like my steering:                        

My American Lipton brain seeps through cracks,      

Gravity pulls to the right lane,                            

Drips toward fiery death, blood staining Earth’s crust-        

Carpet . . . ” “It’s awake or A wake.”           

“Moors make me morbid. Get it? Moor-bid moor?”    

He braked. A skull with matted hair      

Crossed. We offered her                           

Crisps with chocolate stout, then Yorkshire Gold tea,

Brash as American coffee,                        

On the roadside near Haworth, called it “Bronte       

Breakfast” on “Coleridge Christmas Eve”.                    

“They found one of the Ripper’s victims right here,   

Smashed head and raped where we picnic.”               

Grinning, drunk, still estranged, my toothless beatnik        

Father, in the know with her queer                               

Weather, said “Beautiful world, cup made of lace,     

Soaked and leaking blood, flesh, and fates.”                

“There but for grace . . . ” 

 

 

 



 

______________________

Michael Odom is an American poet and translator, the author of a collection of ekphrastic cinquains for children entitled Ick! Fran’s Tick!, a book of translation from Catalan, Count Arnau & Other Poems of Joan Maragall, and his own collection of poems playing on the rhythms & themes of Catullus, Selene.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast

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