"Sunday Recruits," "Machine," and "HurRico 2017"

Sunday Recruits

Thirty thousand fill 49ers Stadium,
chomp franks, slam ten dollar brews.

Faces pause for fluttering flag: Anthem rises.
Hands over hearts we hymn that old war song.

Then a player drops a knee: Thread-jacks the script-
ed playbook scene, hacks the broadcast dream.

We jeer and groan until a whistle shrills.
Now pigskin flies: The crowd rouses big and loud.

Heads bust, shoulders pop, bones snap. 1st down.
Territory won. Cameras televise the sight.

At half-time, five Navy Hornets shatter sky:
We rise and roar, gluttons for some bigger war.




At the laundromat grime skanks the floor.
My shoes stick and scuff on blistery linoleum,
and that meme snickers in my head:

Mixing colors with whites.
Warm for whites.
Cold for coloreds

Big screens carry FOX, CNN, ESPN.
I slot a machine with way more coin
than in the sixties

― Push Hot.
When did wash get so expensive?


Fist over fist: I shove the laundry down. Slam the lid.
Turn away. Nothing to do but wait out the wash cycle. 
The washer rumbles, does slow dirty work. On CNN
the killing act looks like a video game: The shooter
pivots fast around a pillar.

Bang: Cop dead― rolls back 180 to cover. Ex-mil. 
Trained to kill.

The machine halts. I lift the lid.  My hands reach
into the drenching chamber and pull up damp shrouds.

BOOM: Dallas PD sniper takes off veteran's head.

I drop my basket of cleans in the coined-up dryer:
Chamber loaded―

keeping whites white
and colors clean



HurRico 2017

You should help yourself.  And plan better too. 
Island & hurricane, pina & colada: These go together.  

I hear you are still without power, or is it just electricity? 
Sorry we have no budget to airlift generators, water, or sat-phones. 

The SEALS and Rangers would bring medicine to your village
but they are killing brown people half a world away. 

Don't blame FEMA for not thinking this forward:
Who knew Maria would track that way?

Next time, keep some plastic jugs of water and bleach ready. 
FEMA likes you better if you lighten up a bit.

Look, responsible citizens boarded commercial flights, private prop planes,
small corporate jets, yachts too. 

These people got out before landfall.  They helped themselves.
They help themselves to everything.



Jemshed Khan has poems in places like Rigorous, I-70 Review, Writers Resist, Coal City Review, TheHypertexts, and Fifth Estate. He was just nominated for The Pushcart Prize and has completed a chapbook.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, July 2, 2018 - 11:50