61

Above all curiosities of the day
One reigned supreme from June to January.
His preposterous claims and hair passe
Held viewers captive with hilarity.
A country plagued by disbelief upon
Election night’s astonishing results.
The verdict, a national phenomenon,
Favored a business man hurling insults.
Indignation rose among the oppressed.
United by a common enemy
To rise above cruel factions in protest
Rather than sulking in despondency.
Now bans and walls exclude minorities
And those surrounded tire of their worries.
—ERP, LDS

54

The choral sound of jungles doesn’t pulse
On common notions of the purest song,
No reef weaves through white crags its neon throng,
And all clear minds host clashing impulses.
I’ve been to Hawaii. It’s half Asian.
The past there is the same as everywhere
But for ships’ desertion of the human fair
From canoes, then planes—it’s nowhere’s haven.
Much these invasions cost, but also left
An island’s fact, of skins, and fruit, and surf,
A letting-be, a fighting-back, a law
That speaks to all who have arrived, non-native,
And naturalized. The psychic veil’s a curse
Of pretend homelands. It wasn’t real, brah.
—IC

47

“Have you no sense of decency?” demand
Those called, accused upon the witness stand,
Presumed guilty of suspect, hearsaid crimes.
A trial closed by charge reflects tense times;
Ex-president to migrant—all are victim
To unjust claims by paranoia’s dictum,
Which convicts not by jury’s best ruling,
But by a faithfulness to factions’ dueling.
Indictments spread like cracks, a sneaking fear
Of loyalties below common veneer—
To terrorism, Russia, Democrats—
If all are spies, then none are diplomats.
It’s trumped-up charges of conspiracy,
And not wiretaps, that recall McCarthy.
—LDS, ERP

 

46

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.
—PTL

34

A silhouette is poised, with arm extended,
To welcome “masses yearning to breathe free.”
In winter waters, is its warmth suspended?
Its truth now lie, obscured as history?
Her beacon’s heat, once finding, now is blinding
To sheltered eyes of people left adrift
Within the nation, who fear the binding
Between “human” and “race.” There sprouts a rift.
And yet still gently will the lady stir,
Her feet march on against erratic tides,
Lest freedom seem put on a pedestal,
And souls now turned away lose her as guide.
Though to the orders’ letter we accede,
Let Lady Liberty say what law we heed.
-HM

24

Americans, retailers, department stores—
Ivanka’s brands are dropped, in fact, because
Of conscientious buyers who deplore
Her father’s deep discounting of the laws.
The constitution will not buy the tort
Half-baked to keep out Syrian refugees;
Supporters hawk quick victory over the court
Which Trump sells with a trademark “EASY D.”
So who’s to blame: Trump’s two-bit-huckster rule
Or exhausted American buyers?
Is it just corporations like these who’ll
Rebound from our political desires?
We might well heed the adage in this fight,
The customer is always, always right.
— NN, OS, JD

18

A land of open arms is changing now.
Cold, closed, crossed: our borders block the entry
Of ordinary bodies homeward bound,
Although their stories make it to their country.
Sarvin Haghighi kept from her own husband,
Kamal Fadlalla’s doctor-training stopped,
Nael Zaino reaching for his son’s hand—
Called nameless risks, and of their families robbed.
What must the children think of punished parents,
Made into questions strewn across the sea?
Where once were people, now just “where?” and “when?”,
And “who’s this judge?” and “will he set Dad free?”
Of us, too, ask: will freedom turn its back?
Or will our rules make hearts and minds abstract?
—SF, GSU

17

His trumpet tweets: the judges’ transgressions!
My noise will live beyond this courtly cadence!
Repeated notes in all the same progressions:
Insults—fake news—the Wall—terrorists—Pence!
The judges’ cymbals clang against this canon,
Whose harsh beat tries again to split and banish;
Injunctions clap down, halting citizens’ panic,
As workers, migrants, students cease to vanish.
Through atonal commotion drums new thunder
Distracting from the belting trumpet’s croons,
The sounds of marching feet respond to blunders,
Demanding different rhythms, different tunes.
The audience, distressed, hears from these marchers,
Freedom’s music, and harmony’s departure.
—LDS, PTL, ERP

16

A judge, met with the superlative grump,
To ensure that hatred would not prevail,
Reversed the notion made by Donald Trump:
Discrimination on a “yuuuge” scale.
A nation-state working against itself,
Tearing its binding at the seams within,
Like an unread book, aging on a shelf,
Our country’s scriptured pages grow too thin.
For travelers suddenly grounded afar,
A brief window of happy chance arose.
Now as they fly again toward our bright stars,
Two branches of the state are contraposed.
But where with humane law Trump disagrees,
Checks must be balanced for eternity.
—NN, OS, JD

10

Contaminated by disunity,
The land, a body, creeping with new horror,
Breaks out not just within community,
But all along new lines, a rash new war.
To cross these borders you must now surmount
Religion, region—differences exposed.
Before new standards, foreigners amount
To nothing; having nothing, they’re disposed.
Contagion spreads to longtime residents,
And quarantined are those from suspect places;
The orders from imperial residence:
Do not distinguish symptoms, only faces.
Until who’s well, or ill, cannot be vetted
And all the world is sick, all nations threatened.
—PTL, ERP, LDS