None of it is ghastly. Not the hot nickel in the earhole,
not the molars on the awning, not the shrapnel in the nieces.
Waziristan is a ripped meniscus. Yemen is a slit tendon,
Peshawar is a cut eye, and Boston is a plunked batsman.
Look at its broke nose. Look at its plum contusion.
A cow town on a cow path on the crooked coast
of a cowed country, look at it rocked and fuming in a mimic
of Gaza, a spit image of Tel Aviv. None of it is ghastly.
Not the bone meal in the poppy field, not the plastique
in the pressure cooker, not the ball bearings in the corpses
or the robots in the clouds. Go, you drone turret gunners,
it isn’t the ordnance erupting in the bystander but your distance
from her that’s ghastly. Go you keen jihadi, it isn’t the bone-
wet massacre, but your deliberate imprecisions are ghastly.
Homicidal the bureaucrats, genocidal the martyrs.
Immolate your own Toyota not me in my Fiat.
I only want to flirt with the bartender. She’s a Pisces.
Her name is Judy. She speaks seven languages.
I forget how to spell mahjongg when she whispers
mahjonnngg in the beer light. I forget my address.
I would give her four roses. I would cook her paella.
I’d invite her to Guernica. The whole city is a gravestone,
su nombre es un sinónimo para muerte en cada lenguaje,
but it’s near to the sea and the hills, the hills, the hills.
Lipid and sinew in the alluvium, I’d walk the fatted earth
giddy with Judy in Guernica where carnage is a fact,
so it isn’t the facts, but how I become accustomed to them
that’s ghastly. Here are four roses. Here’s a bowl of paella.
It’s the fifteenth of April. It’s the sixth of August
and the fourteenth of February. It’s the eleventh of September,
Judy, we live now in Guernica. Let’s buy insurance.
Let’s open a 401k. Let’s make a baby and name her Fallujah.
Name her Mumbai which is Hindi for Boston which is English
for Kabul. Let’s name her New York City. Daughter,
I know not who you’ll gore or why, but do the killing
at least with the meat of your own good hands.
— Jaswinder Bolina, as published on Connotation Press.
(not a submission to M4T)