"Scanning the Headlines" and "An American Dream"

Scanning the Headlines

Torrents of Gunshot Shift Reality
In some districts, the light dies
and fractures; human shapes rise
to slowly crawl toward a target
fearsome and embraceable.
Deadly Attack in Nairobi

A fist rose up, then a banner,
and a loud voice dissembles.
Massed militias are motivated;
they move forward, teeth clenched, grinning.
Saudi War Pushes Yemenis to the Brink of Starvation

A Monday foresaw a Friday; 
a Friday remembered a Monday.
The pattern promised respite,
a walk in the park, community.
Political Rage Grew in South Florida Loner

Populations are steamrolled,
bulldozed back
toward the two left standing,
bewildered, in the ruined garden.
Bomb Suspect Found Identity in Resentment

Evolution might be delayed,
but the daily nightly coupling
keeps the show going;
birth protection – hardly enough.
Social Site Lets Suspect’s Hate Spill Unbridled

The End of Days is a braggart myth
no adult citizen permits,
as the leaders and their minions,
(mad as moons) bow to Chaos.



An American Dream

The boy, now a man,
raised on barbed wire avenues
of lonely city # 3
or blasted city # 4 –
worked himself bloody-handed
out of one flat into a larger one
curtains and flatware
and then to a suburban house
drapes and china
and then a larger one with a yard
and a boat up on blocks
and so on up the ladder
and each time now
his hands a little cleaner.



Barry Wallenstein is the author of ten collections of poetry, the most recent being Tony’s Blues (Éditions Pourquoi viens-tu si tard ?, 2020, French and English) and Time on the Move (Xanadu Press, 2020). His poetry has appeared in over 100 journals, including Ploughshares, The Nation, Centennial Review, and American Poetry Review.  He has made eight recordings of his poetry with jazz, the most recent being titled Lisbon Sunset (Sintoma Records, 2018) and What Was, Was (Audioscope, 2015)

Barry is Emeritus Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the City University of New York and an editor of the journal American Book Review. Check out www.barrywallenstein.com.

Barry suggests supporting Doctors Without Borders.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 22:25