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On Mimicry & Dream Dangling a Dead Bird

by Sujash Purna
23 May 2022

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.

Roger Shimomura

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.

About the Author

Sujash Purna

Sujash Purna is a Bangladeshi poet and photographer. A PhD English fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he is the author of Epidemic of Nostalgia (Finishing Line Press) and Biriyani (Poet’s Haven). His poetry appears in South Carolina Review, Hawai`i Pacific Review, Kansas City Voices, Poetry Salzburg Review, Gutter, Stonecoast Review, and others. His photography […]