Men in the trenches say
women are making them
For the price of a Frigidaire
you can get two men
and one teenage boy
where once a man was worth
two Zeniths, a Mustang, and a Chevrolet.
The ambassador said the embassy would not turn over their guest
since American prisons are the darling of the tiers monde.
How dare they insist that what looks good on paper
is a threat to our theologians-
you should have heard the ease with which Al Pacino’s
character in Dog Day Afternoon
got the crowd to scream “Attica! Attica!”
Just ask the Canadians:
is what the Ottawa hostess
told her diplomatic guests
about us Yanks
over Napoleon brandy.
Personally, I like Tocqueville better:
Watching parades of covered wagons
and hearing stories of Red River carts
he cast his lot in with the former
and said that what they say of the Métis
north of the border
is like the lingo used regarding the American Negro
(I’ve cleaned up the language).
It’s still true, nevertheless
that words and terms used to talk of our justice
are mere echoes of the best intentions
from the Age of Reason:
and, of course
the noble savage.
Whether any irony is intended is up to the offended.
Blow it out your blowhole
It started in the Bowery.
With a routine arrest
a cop sparked unrest
when he pulled from the gutter
a whale called ‘Barnacle.’
The winos had long since
made their peace
with the legions of cetaceans
who had beached as climate refugees
in what the Borough President
was calling ‘The New Brooklyn.’
Pulling in ‘Barnacle’ had the effect
of aggravating old debts
the cops had to legions of derelict informants
to whom they’d offered payment
for services rendered
along with a promise of no molestation.
But with this novel solidarity down in the Bowery,
(what with the whales offering protection
as their bodies now held the prime real estate
by the waterfront -which incidentally drove the cops to target them),
A new politics had come
to some of the oldest wards in Gotham.
Still, the local lingo remained essentially the same:
the winos and the whales told the cops to
‘Blow it out your blowhole!’
Jeremy Nathan Marks is a London, Ontario-based American. Recent poetry appears in New Reader Magazine, Mojave River, Credo Espoir, Rat’s Ass Review, The Wire’s Dream, The Blue Nib, The Wild Word, Landlocked Lyres, and Chiron Review. Jeremy writes essays on history and politics for The Black Lion Magazine and his story "Detroit 2099" will appear in The Nature of Cities collection in 2019. Jeremy is a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee in poetry.