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

59

He sent for granite, limestone, quartz, and slate,
And sourced the rock from mines across the land,
So all America could fabricate
The racist wall he spitefully had planned.
The hammers hit, the chisels chopped, the splitters slashed;
The wall was built with optimum technique.
Sweat streaked down builders’ faces light as ash
And smooth as hickory and dark as teak.
But when the final rock was hit in place,
There rang a sound—not from the hammer’s head;
A rising hum that started to displace
The prejudice: a song of love instead.
He tried to build a wall, but up we soared,
And welcomed all new immigrants aboard.
—SRF

40

He speaks of unity, presiding high,
And in the House, an aisle-split Congress listens.
New words of mercy strive to rectify
Trump’s tanking political fortunes.
Contagious bigotry has spread, from those
Who aim to execrate the defenseless
To fiercer-hating hands of nameless foes,
Who’d dare to desecrate the offenseless.
With plans to stack the bricks against outsiders,
Repeal help to the poor, untax the rich,
Will this new tone redeem our chief divider,
Along with dangled paths to citizenship?
Trump: a man made of conflicting intents
Now unites the nation in suspense.
–LDS, ERP

21

Advice of counsel, going back, was blind
Trust, separating interests, letting those
Mundane details string us along, a kind
Of arm’s-length deal, an ignorance we chose.
The trades were little with us, politics
Synonymous with jock itch, drop kicks, dog
Ticks dog—not even conflicts, just cheap tricks
We had to buy, or sell, or play along.
Was it a secret yen, held widely if
Not well, that someone would arrive to claim
A closing of the unbridgeable rift,
A border wall torn down, and tongues untamed?
His pact with us would be a desperate lust
For lying, flying blind our blinding trust.
—IC

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

7

If, as I have been, I think about it hard,
Migration is the wrong word for what happens
To souls, who want in ways the mapping
Can hardly border, even thinking hard,
Who weigh the wants as if the next drawn card
Will mean not walls but slipping through the gaps in
Entire oceans, where the usual trappings—
The memory, mothers, speech—let down their guard.
My father might have died in Mexico,
Or yours in China, hers in County Cork,
And dead, they might have slunk across the line
To hell, where we’d sit, asking where to go,
Or how to tip the help, or hold the fork.
Held there, they’d shrug, and ask: is this one mine?
—IC