We speak of grand historical tragedies
as if they were the salad days
and imagine ourselves heroes of the Reich.
North America is sliding into the sea;
that new coat of paint does not repair
or replace the rusty underpinning.
Ticket sales to passively participate
in the last, great gargling death rattle are reportedly high—
more this quarter than last. Reports come in by the hour,
intoned by the three-headed beast we trust best for news
about civil unrest in cities we have forgotten how to find on maps.
Plans are coming together
but we must leave out crucial details
for security’s sake.
You never know
which acronym is listening.
Ellis Island Internment Update No. 5
Rapture is only a few days away –
or so the penitent pray.
They fill the streets with tears
and with impolitic prostrations.
They pack haphazardly,
like tenants three months past due on the rent
preparing for a midnight retreat.
They hope they’ll be picked up before dawn.
Predictably, all these plans fall apart
when the sky does not fall
and the grid does not collapse.
A dictator’s flag is still something
in need of a salute
and the tortured confessions still sound pious
in spite of the absence of an amen.