On Mimicry (after Erin Belieu)
inside a gallery with strung up nylon clouds overhead
you know who was who
between the two:
the thief and his theft.
butterflies float across newsprint
canvas, lava to ground
every news, an eyesore.
The lush pavements in pink,
we fondle for another ruse.
knows who knocked off whom;
brain drain, like sewer claiming
the joy of a honey field,
and they laugh now
at our accents.
We wash their dishes.
They bomb our lands.
We build their roads.
They cage our kids.
We make their hats.
They trash our foods.
Fire comes out the volcano;
in the womb of this earth
someone laughs the last laugh.
Dream Dangling a Dead Bird
Quickly the masquerade fades into the flesh;
a grotesque grimace at the elusive empire
rose and built the lives on false hopes
inside a GMC is a bald man in yellow and khakis
looking at your sign that screams, thinning hair,
broken jawed, ‘No job, No money, Pay for food’
inside the levelheaded policies is a headache
one-sided no ibuprofen can take down:
the fear of visiting a doctor even with a job
turn up your volume, brown folks, hooked
into, like morphine in blood, the Hollywood
fever, an elite life of the lavishly living
Aunt Becky caught, but most of America
isn’t what you see on your TV screen;
it’s Flint, Michigan, it’s Madison, Moberly
a drawled out Waits song, doled out cacophony
mixing in the iron-filled dust, the rusty concrete
splay your knees, stale bodega sandwich
America: float above the pressure water, choke,
rusty sea of ignorance, the false glamour hope;
your Tom Cruises are old, Jacksons in guilt tapes
wash your face and look elsewhere my friend;
they’ll show you the trick, but they won’t tell you
the truth is uglier than your silver-screen dreams.
Wake up and ask yourself: is this why you came
here for? a better life in the form of a dead bird,
dangling with funeral debt, unwieldy insurance
stay cold baby, it costs a lot more on your soul
chasing a dream that only the filthy rich can; only
float above the water, dunk when it’s too heavy.
Subscribe for new writing
Sign up to receive new pieces of writing as soon as they are published as well as information on competitions, creative grants and more.