Two poems that I especially enjoyed in Liberty’s Vigil, The Occupy Anthology use form to generate great wit out of the tired language of slogans.
A Villanelle for Hard Times
The unending crisis—begun by the cronies of Shrub.
While many of us entrusted our funds to their banks,
those rich right-wingers ran them like old boys’ clubs.
The billions in bailouts were sent to the Wall St. hub
where executives grabbed all that money without any thanks.
This unending crisis—caused by the cronies of Shrub.
Obama was left with the mess from Republican flubs
that allowed one-percent to outrun the rest of the ranks.
Those rich right-wingers ran Wall St. like old boys’ clubs.
The stock market sank in the midst of all the hubbub,
but the CEO’s kept on pulling their big bonus pranks.
This unending crisis—begun by the cronies of Shrub.
As the non-one-percent, we’re worn out clear down to the nub,
with no jobs, no houses, nobody guarding our flanks.
Those rich right-wingers ran companies like old boys’ clubs.
The financial disaster’s worldwide—people even lack grub.
The new Occupation’s by serious folks, not by cranks.
The unending crisis leads back to the cronies of Shrub
who treat the whole world as their private old boy’s club.
—By Deborah Dashow Ruth
After a long stint at the University of California, Berkeley, Deborah Dashow Ruth is now a full time poet and playwright.
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Build the Apocalypse Inside Your Garage
You build the apocalypse inside your garage,
bolt it together with plastic and duct tape, you’re dreaming.
It’s only a hobby, to see if it’s possible to be God.
You must be profitable to have the right to exist and defraud.
You pay homage to the superheroes painted on your ceiling,
a chapel of façade. Build the apocalypse inside your garage.
Pray for another Harrison Ford to save your from yourself. Applaud
Cowboys & Aliens, or Rise of the Planet of the Apes streaming
into your home. It’s the American way, to see if it’s possible to be God.
Is there life on Mars? You are lonely on a planet overflowing with people, a fraud.
Your body clones itself to keep from dying, to keep up with your lying.
Create your own apocalypse inside your garage.
What is desire, after all, than another name for god. Awed
by money, sex, power and a fast car, you keep on fucking
with your own mirage. It’s only a hobby, you said, you wanted to be God.
You split atoms in your kitchen, start a nuclear reaction on your stove, you tread
too far, blow your wad on cloning the gods, you are crying
for another apocalypse inside your own garage.
It’s only a hobby, you said, you thought you were God.
—By Jules Nyquist
Jules Nyquist of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has a forthcoming book, Appetites: poems on food, drink and sex (with recipes), from Beatlick Press. Meanwhile, check out her blog and website. The title for this poem came from a New York Times headline.
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Liberty’s Vigil, The Occupy Anthology: 99 Poets among the 99% was edited by Karla Linn Merrifield and Dwain Wilder, and published by Michael Czarnecki of FootHills Publishing.