Michael Shorb

Posted in Poetry by 311zine on 08/08/2009


Some things are best left
to the imagination.

He came storming into
the radio station that morning,
leaving even hardened
New Yorkers aghast
at the pink bulk
of his pulchritude.

Grabbing the gold microphone,
he urged all right wingers
to demonstrate against
the socialist taxation system.

A few of them actually straggled
down to the closest park
or city center and angrily
tossed tea bags onto the ground.

There were dozens of tea bags,
just laying there,
prompting one homeless guy
to mumble to himself,

“God damn.
It makes you wish
you had some hot water.”


It went poorly, this redux of
secession, President Perry
of the Second Republic
and (at last) Vice-President Palin
overestimated the sympathies
of the nation at large,
the number of Marines
who threw down their guns
was minimal, The Texas
Air National Guard
was nothing without
their ace, George W.,
and quickly succumbed to
federal forces, Texas and
Alaska found themselves in the
same leaky raft as Cuba,
dealing with embargoes
and shortages of Chinese
goods to stock the WalMarts.
The last straw, however,
was when the Dallas Cowboys
and Houston Texans were
denied travel visas to complete
their NFL schedules.
Jerry Jones, a warlord more
powerful than Santa Ana,
flew into a rage and
rank and file Texans agreed,
you can live without democracy,
but not without football.


A man is sleeping on the street
Cocooned in a gray bag
Surrounded by a fortress
Of two shopping carts
And a blue plastic box
Most prominent jutting
From the carts is a TV set
With a broken screen
Rabbit ears intact
Ten yards down the street
The quiet opulence of faded
Brown marble the building
A relic of times when buildings
Were made of marble and carved
Lion faces stare proudly
Into the passing traffic
Behind thick windows
The Lamborghini Murcielago
Stands like a low-slung
Space ship in shocking yellow
On a stand the $293,600 price tag
Strikes me as strange
600 extra dollars piled on
$293,000? Isn’t that rubbing it in?
For the bargain-minded
The Lamborghini Gallardo in
Sleek metallic silver is only $174,000.
Now that’s more like it
I think as I wait for a bus
And a man already drunk at 10:00
In the morning weaves down the street
A New Year’s Eve celebration of one
And the man in the fort wakes up
Stares intently at the broken screen
“Nothing on but a bunch of bullshit.”
He mumbles into the sunlight.

About Michael Shorb

Michael Shorb’s work reflects a satirical focus on present day trends and events. His poems have appeared in The Nation, The Sun, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Rattle, and European Judaism, as well as other publications and anthologies.


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