Saturday, October 27, 2007

Five political poems by Anthony Frame

Five poems
by Anthony Frame

"Title Withheld 'Til Later"
Lebanon, July 2006

I eye eyes sleepy cigarette holes
a rat's claw on a machine gun trigger

boys (never blondes) bob for debris
batteries temples motels

burning bushes for Gnostics lost in Finnish America
our microphones as male machines

where are my leather pants and Sex Pistols albums
deep fried gasoline



After twisting my arm like a chicken wing,
Kyle’s handsaw smile grows as he pushes my shoulder
harder onto the painted playground cement.

My mom says I should never hate anyone but
she doesn’t know the man who played with my penis,
his smile, stuck in my dreams, blaming my boxers for his guilt.

I apologize for the rib bones that show;
for reading Superman comic books;
for my coke bottle glasses and rainbow braces.

Kyle’s no nightmare but I break his nose anyway
and hide my secret identity in a closet.
This city has more hate than broken windows.



You’ll say it’s too soon
to understand; no
time for closure,

I’d gladly debate the
language of this disaster
but I’m still
misinterpreting the lyrics
to “Everything Zen”:

There’s no sex in New Orleans.

According to linguists,
is voiceless;
it is also
so damned guttural.


watching news:
spray paint counts the dead;
rooftops are stepping stones;
helicopters can’t wear Kevlar;
what words can make cubist poetry?


My new student arrived
in the Upper Peninsula today.

Administration said not
to call her refugee; she

prefers transplant. “Like
a heart,” she says, “or a knife.”

She says she felt at war;
she dreams of bombs. “Kamikaze

means Wind of God,” she writes.
“I am a ghost’s peer.”


Kyrie eleison.
All I know is
I’ll never forget
the man who let
go of his wife’s
hand. “Nothing.
I’ve nothing,
now,” he told
the reporter.
the reporter wept.
Kyrie eleison.


Kites will fly again
in New Orleans
and jazz will fill

the streets before
we have forgotten
the floods.

In between parades
and bulldozers
someone will ask

why it happened.
They will speak an English
that won’t translate.


"Figuring Out Postmodernism on My Way to West Virginia"

Soccer moms speed past me with soccer balls
plastered on their windows. I’m leaving
these clich├ęd suburbs. This morning, Dan
called me his best friend,
when, years ago, we were taught history
as text. He told me, “There is no truth.” I said
“Postmodernism is out of fashion this year.”
Our smiles surprised us, bearded beneath
our cynical eyebrows.
I’m almost
to the bored cows grazing outside Cleveland
and the abandoned farms peeling to dust
in Akron , wondering how he can stand it,
living in this world of conceit.
“It’s not new,”
he’s said. “It’s nothing Pontius Pilate
didn’t learn before scrubbing his hands.” Maybe,
but I still have visions of Saturn eating
his children and shitting me out, adrift
without a dictionary to defend
the nuclear values and dinner tables
of my youth.
I already miss Toledo ,
where I know the street names. As I enter
Pennsylvania , cross the border into
this cowless country,
I see the cracked streetlights
Dan drove beneath at five in the morning
to fill our drunk cravings. He told me Penn State
released a report claiming love as
a chemical imbalance.
West Virginia
is only a few miles away and I want
to bring something real back to Dan. I could say,
according to The New York Times, 1000
American soldiers have died in Iraq .
“Naw,” he’d respond. “That’s too political
to be truth.”
And now I’m lost, of course,
somehow stuck in traffic in downtown Pittsburg.


"A Seagull Sleeps Atop Ohio's State Flag"

Students know how
to landscape the flooded planes
of a community college.

The church's marquee says,
"God's nation never loses
the war." We'll all dodge

goose shit as the new millennium
paints roses into rosaries
(the new graffiti); the flag

at half mast for another dead soldier,
like an endgame or a yawn.
I lost my leisure, leaving

nothing but time to drive Ohio past
baseball games and cemeteries;
cornfields plowed into crosses

Author bio:

Anthony Frame's poetry has recently appeared in Heliotrope, Conte Online, Lullwater Review, The Bare Root Review, and The Grand Rapids Review. He has work forthcoming from The Toledo Review. He earned a BA in Creative Writing and an MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Toledo . He currently lives with his wife, Holly, and their two cats, Lucy and Gwen, in Toledo , OH , where he teaches composition at Owens Community College.

No comments: