From "A Post-Election Sequence"

 

CHAPTER THREE: EIGHT-WORD LINES 

Speeding through the funhouse    tunnel, catching glimpses of

myself in the funhouse     mirrors, unlike the mirrors

of the proletarian park     in Coney Island where my

handsome dad saved up     to take me every

fourth of July back     when America was famous

for spacious skies, amber     waves of grain, liberty

and justice for all,     the funhouse mirrors could

expand and contract you, lengthen and fatten you,

 

distort you but only     temporarily, because America was

a free country, we     could giggle at ourselves

and walk away, we     Jews were especially lucky

living in this free     country, a country without

pogroms, we could vote    we could defeat tyrants

and bigots we could    end persecution and poverty

and I can’t quite     remember getting on the

 

train that brought us     to this funhouse where

the dim-lit corrugated latex    tunnel like the interior

of a large insect whips    us along waving tendrils

waving mirrors twisting our    images to images of

the king smiling at    us in our baskets

in the rushing Nile    loudly wailing and screaming

bodies of infants bobbing    in the surrounding water

 

this chapter does not  include the king’s daughter


 

CHAPTER FOUR: SORRY

"Sorry, the page you're looking for cannot be found," is the message Internet users get when trying to access the Spanish version of the White House page …created in the months following President Barack Obama’s swearing in in 2009. Up until Jan. 20, the site also had a blog dedicated to issues considered of interest for the Hispanic community.
         --Fox news

“Sorry the page you are looking for cannot be found”
         --my laptop screen

Because there is nothing new under the sun
let's look for precedents: Emperor Shih Huang Ti
built the wall and burned the books
in the third century before Jesus so we have
an idea what to expect:  say goodbye to the Spanish
language version of the white house web page
and the associated blogs thereof, goodbye to science
and jurisprudence, hello informers, hello more and more massive
accumulations of wealth, hello gulag, hello to the songs
of resistance, the poems inscribed on toilet paper
and slivers of soap, memory sharpened
like a steak knife, all borders closed,
a time to wait.  A time to refrain from waiting.





Alicia Ostriker is a poet and critic, most recently author of Waiting for the Light, twice a finalist for the National Book Award, and currently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She lives in new York City and teaches in the low-residency Poetry MFA Program of Drew University.

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