Saturday, January 18, 2020


hymn to endless war

after september eleventh
everyone had tower ash in their mouths
everyone wanted a fight
now bang the drums of war

my brothers’ best friend
was black ops, first over
my brother wanted to be there
he, perpetually mad at me

I, with history, listed all the misdeeds
the malfeasance, the meddling
the bloodstains across this country's
short timeline. two thousand people
died needlessly, but that moment

that moment could have been
unique. if we had said our foreign policy
led us here, our policies were cruel
were wrong, maybe the world
could have forgiven us, maybe that's fantasy

instead we got twenty years in endless war
most of our history is endless war
most of my life is endless war

it's been pondered with
this administration that
our reichstag fire is near
that fascism will be brought
in, the gleam will fall out
of the eyes of democracy

I wonder if that reichstag fire
happened that september, we missed
It, didn't notice it in our collective
grief, our collective rage. the pump
primed, the military industrial complex took hold

now let us praise powerful men
they beat the drums again
there is only blood and money
to our history, no substance
all we are is the ash of endless war

 --Jason Baldinger

Friday, January 17, 2020


observation in a bar

In a hotel bar
Greensboro NC
my phone sounded
a news alert.
First to hit, HuffPost.
AP, BBC, Aljazeera
soon after.
Ballistic missiles
hit our base in Iraq.
Iran has slapped back.

Asked my server,
Do you have anyone
in the military?
No, she did not, but
she shared the news
through the joint.
Heard a few "what?"
"our base?", et cetera.
Minimal fuss and flurry.
Coverage appeared
on the many TVs.
A few minutes passed.
Channels all flipped
to a basketball game.

Thing is...
no one cared.

This is how we go to war.
The poor/poorish who
pay the blood ransom
are minimally bothered
until the blood is theirs.
Meanwhile, profiteers
scurry joyously to their
overflowing coffers.

--Lana Dealy

Thursday, January 16, 2020


it’s winter and the teen girls
like the pins on my messenger bag

we cry silently
for acknowledgement

we stand stoic

and pray to the gods
for a seat on the evening bus

it’s winter and the teen girls
like the pins on my messenger bag

they point to me and say, hey
as if we were old friends

they say,
we like the pins on your bag

i look at the pins
as if i’d almost forgotten
that they were there

the one that says,
gay rights are human rights

the one that says,
trans is beautiful

the one that says,
fuck trump

the one that says,
read a book and not your phone

the pin for elizabeth warren

and i feel self-conscious
and i believe nakedness is relative

yet i smile
and thank them

think about how someone
could’ve just as easily said
how much they hated me

i mean
this is america after all.

--John Grochalski 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Food for Thought

Waitress makes a mistake
calculating change, says
I don’t know what
I was thinkin’

Customer wearing the red
Trump 2020 hat responds
Don’t be thinkin’.
Don’t be

--John Burroughs

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


george w. bush does not live in perpetual war

tonight the missiles
are flying in the middle east again

another cartoon tough-guy president
is dick-wagging the only kind of freedom
that america has got

the freedom to destroy

i’m drinking beer
but daydreaming vodka

and the upstairs neighbor
has decided to buff her floors
on a hopeless tuesday night

making it impossible to think or read

but i think of you tonight
george w. bush

i think of you always when the missiles fly

and in your texas mansion

eight years of horror
and hundreds of thousands of deaths on your hands

brushed off like dust on your shoulder

painting pictures of soldiers
that you helped get killed

fat from another barbeque
after another one of your paid speeches

a contented international terrorist
farting on his plush couch

watching reruns of rangers games
putting back a bowl full of pretzels

i think about how
you don’t live in perpetual war

george w. bush

how easy it must be to hide
under that legacy and your daddy’s money

writing shitty memoirs

coming out every so often
to play the loveable idiot

having michelle obama give you candy

there are kids, george w. bush

some adults now really

who’ve never lived
without war

without their moms and dads being shipped away

or living somewhere in a village
hoping not to get blown up
by one of our corporate, freedom bombs

or buried in the dirt
never getting to have once inch
of the privileged life you’ve lived

i think of you tonight
george w. bush

lost in the quiet
of your overgrown home

as i lay here stone-cold sober
on my own couch, hating you

as the neighbors buffing machine roars on ad nauseum

and the bombs fly for nothing
but some rich boy's ego

yet again.

--John Grochalski

Monday, January 13, 2020


Standing Up to Trump’s Hair in a Mighty Wind

              “Let them hate me, so long as they fear me.”

Underneath his harvest of smart hair,
King Don, the chosen one,
The stable genius,
Tweets from Mar-a-Lago,
With no credible or trustworthy evidence,
To kill Qasem Soleimani,
Victor and subduer of ISIS and the Taliban,
Hero and beloved commander of Iran’s
Military forces in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq,
Bahrain, Azerbaijan, Yemen, and
Western Afghanistan.

The only member of Congress
Briefed, Lindsey Graham,
Senate Judiciary Committee chair,
Surrogate vice president,
Disciple and True Believer,
Champion of Manufacturing Consent,
And co-author of Making Fascism Great Again,
Brags and celebrates
About their brilliant geopolitical chess move.

Lying in wait, the Iranians play a slow checkmate game.
What Trump, the smartest man in America,
Doesn’t grasp with his hole in one trophy
Is that he’s been trumped.
Without realizing it, the God-ordained monarch
Has united Shia Muslim countries in the Middle East.

Now, the wannabe racist redeemer
Has set back any possibility
For peace, forever.

--Victor Henry

Sunday, January 12, 2020


Feel Like I’m Fixing to Die Flashback

“Be the first one on your block to have your boy come home in a box.” — Country Joe McDonald

Patriotism flows, miles wide, a millimeter deep
as Cadet Bone Spurs distracts from impeachment
by assassinating General Soleimani,
blind-sides Congress, bypasses the constitution,
shocks un-consulted military leaders and allies,
puts Russia and China on the same page.

Fear of World War III escalates.
Twitterer-in-Chief vows to annihilate
Iranian cultural treasures,
spews idiotic, juvenile threats.
MAGA supporters cream their shorts
at the thought of Armageddon.

Those with both oars in the water
wonder when impotent old white men
will stop slaughtering the next generation.
Faux News network tools titillate
its addicted cult members.
They haven’t figured out
it’s their kids’ blood
that will most likely be shed.

--Jennifer Lagier