"Family Politics," "Domesticated," and "My Dog's Name Is Not America"

Family Politics

When my Dad

tells me my Uncle

is skipping the family reunion

so he can travel

to a Trump Rally in Pennsylvania


I think about my Mom

uploading official records

into an internet database

to prove we descended from John Adams


and it feels like we have been avoiding

our family obligations.


Not like we should have gone

to more summer BBQ’s

but like we left

work unfinished

somewhere along the line.


Now that our courts

give more protection

to praying on field

after high school

football games


than they give

to choice

in women’s

health decisions


and Congress cares more about

getting likes from Q-Anon conspiracy theorists

than they care about

protecting school children

from mass shooters


the signanficance of July 4th

coming and going

while we watch

The January 6th Hearings


pulls through my intestines

like I’m crammed shoulder to shoulder


in the back of a Ford Escape

with John Adams and every other

man I’ve been related to


on a roadtrip to nowhere

poorly attempting

to hold in a fart


laced with the odor

of personal responsibility.


I’m reminded of when Trump

told the Proud Boys


to stand back and stand by

and the role the choices


my ancestors made

played in getting us

here in the first place


then I try to picture

what it would be like

to live in a world


where doves

and wolves


bathe each other

in truth.


When my wife

ran for City Council

the question she was asked most was

who is going to watch the kids?!




Putting Domestic

before Terrorist

makes them sound like


The Budweiser

of Mass Shooters


like even if they’re wrong

at least they’re trying.


I wish the newspapers

meant domestic


like clean under the fridge


at least that would be



Why not say



like take the Proud Boys

to the dog park


like we taught them how?


Or does




too much like



too much like





My Dog’s Name Is Not America

My dog’s name

is not



but he did

climb on a table

he couldn’t get

down from.


Now he knows

everything smells the same

since the engine started

spreading the scraps in a way

it looks like he’ll come away clean


till a good wind hits

and suddenly I’m wearing

a shiny green suit at a funeral


I don’t think I’m dead

but this isn’t living.



Jeff Taylor

Jeff Taylor lives with his wife and kids in Massachusetts where he is a union worker when he isn’t writing poems. Jeff has performed at universities, theaters, festivals, bars, coffee houses, and sidewalks across the east coast and is a member of the 2023 Lizard Lounge Slam Team. You can find his work in recent issues of The Bloodshed Review, BOMBFIRE, Oddball Magazine, Cajun Mutt, The Alien Buddha Get’s A Real Job vol.2, American Graveyard (Read or Green Books), and The New Generation Beats 2023 Anthology (National Beat Poetry Foundation). Jeff recommends donating to PEN America.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, August 21, 2023 - 11:20