They search and find, they order and receive,
A symbol of American wistfulness,
Good products made of U.S. work, retrieved—
It is, of course, the work of immigrants.
They stitch and stamp, they sew and they ship off,
This symbol of restored American pride
In good jobs lost, cut from American cloth—
For him, of course, born into a free ride.
He bids and tans, he fibs and then he fires,
To darn democracy, alter the nation,
And stick to native facts and native hires—
His own workforce made of his worst vexation.
Our leader, New-York-born aristocrat,
Makes immigration great with his red hat.


First, dispute the undeniable, despite
Embarrassment. Then, claim to know of plots—
Some predecessor’s subterfuge of spite.
No evidence required—just take your shots.
You’ll soar above the petty, trivial fights
If you just peck, and tweet, and use your beak
To comment on the latest TV slights,
The failures of the press (those losers). Weak!
They say that centering yourself is best
For managing the people in your orbit—
Stay centered on yourself. Keep out the rest,
Especially the refugees. That’s it!
And if these measures don’t increase your power,
Just fly away!  Just not to your bugged tower.


Who is this man? Unfurling new regard
Before a nation’s disbelieving ears–
Rendered alert, prepared for verbal carnage,
Awaiting fearsome words best left unheard.
What new falsehoods, descending rung by rung,
Can top a year of false flags and sworn lies?
What more, from confidence’s silver tongue,
Can hide behind a businessman’s disguise?
The next day’s news suggests parties deceived,
Or just confused–by bluffing’s bard outbluffed.
Left in the aftermath–what to believe?
Will temporary phrases be enough?
Still, it takes an expert rhetorician
To make conciliation raise suspicion.


The cougar does not doubt his blood; the wren
Must find her songs before the hawk. A moon
Will not bring up the tide within a spoon,
And nothing bears us farther past than then.
Thus it might follow that the speaking pen
Extends beyond the mind into the room,
Depending on the bloom, the rent, the tomb,
To touch its rune to proof, its sheet to bend.
So if a man, hunched at the desk, intoned,
All mine are things, all walking souls are pawns,
You lie! would be my answer, whereupon
He might refer me to our phones, our lawns,
Our concrete paths, collateralized loans.
It’s true, he’d say. I’d look for help, to yawns.


The brain in a vat, they used to call the test
Of whether fact, belief, and money all were real
Sensations, say, like moisture on the chest
Or water purling in a basin. Real
Was liquid, then, even when it was in vain.
Now all my doubt is wires and webs, fake news
From living just the way my vatted brain
Had wanted all along, thought it could use.
Did God have all the best Words, once?
Or, like poems, only coins and coinages,
Alt-shift-control, alternatives to nonce?
I cannot tell a lie on vetted stages.
And yet, in real air, and in real airplanes,
A stateless refugee opens his veins.