Flour

Today I bought organic flour

not for the good of the earth

but because I want pancakes —

pancakes and brownies and

peanut butter cookies — and,

there is not a spoonful of flour

to be had, except for the expensive,

kind-to-the-planet variety.

So with the privilege of a credit card

and money in the bank,

I bought organic flour today.

 

The whole country is baking bread

as though it will help to stave off

the virus. The whole nation’s rising up

making yeast from potatoes

(which I also bought, and not just

to help the farmers,

who are apparently drowning in them),

The whole world’s starting

sour dough starter, bubbling

almost patriotically on our counters.

but really it’s just a “we’re all in this together” meme

on Facebook,— or even a competition

(best looking, crustiest sour dough loaf!) —

except for those

who can’t afford

flour at $5 a kilo

who can’t afford

Internet, who can’t

afford to be all in this together.

 

If only our kitchen ferment

bubbled out on to the streets.

If only the whole world would rise up

like a loaf of bread and demand justice

for those whose mouths have not

tasted it their whole lives.

two poems for the day

(originally published in Open Heart Forgery, I think, and possibly on Facebook)

Wounding Ground

by Anna Quon

At the wounding ground,

wild poppies grow,

translucent,

above landmines

dug in years ago

like precious tubers.

The ghosts of hands and feet

scatter like salt

over the wounding ground.

No one remembers now

who is to blame for the one-legged child,

the blind dog, the bloody stump.

It was so long ago

that people hated one another.

the past is wispy as a cloud

over the wounding ground.

Warships

by Anna Quon

Warships are the colour of brains,

Without their convoluted beauty

Their decks are gritty as asphalt

Washed grey as cloud-covered sea

Nothing sticks. Not life, not dirt

Not death. Nothing here

Is made for people; even blood

Disappears, even sunlight..

America’s Sickheart

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Emma Lazarus

Your guest have arrived
but you’re less than delighted
these aren’t the ones you thought
you’d invited

You’re fuming i know
as you walk down the hall
still you’re smiling and trying
to swallow it all

It’s fondu tonight
(this great melting pot
a fountain of chocolate
volcanic and hot

Where your tired, your poor
your huddled masses
are fed like cake
to the wealthy classes)

You yearn to breathe free
but your bleached blond smile
is glued to your face like a
bathroom tile

The wretched refuse of their teeming shore
aren’t the ones you expected outside your door
crying for toothpaste, healthcare and justice
from cages you locked, under ICE auspices

America’s Sickheart,
The homeless knock to come in
but the word on the street
is “no room at the inn”
No room on the bench
no room on the curb
Your welcome mat’s flip side
Says “Do not disturb”

The lamp you lift up
gives no light to the lost.
Its to rout out illegals,
those tempest-tost
in storm-torn lands where
the winds are man-made.
Your golden door’s barred
to the poor and afraid.

America’s Sickheart,
you’re ready to banquet.
Your table your guest list
Your guard dog’s all set.
You called 911 on the brown kid who cried
for his mother and father, somewhere outside,
while he curls on the concrete
hungry and cold
for your friends to ignore
or berate if they’re bold

So swallow your courage,
your lies and dissenters—
an aperatifs normal
when your court one percenters.

So welcome, welcome
to your big dinner bash
those whose skin’s clearly white
whose breath smells like cash,
who turn with such grace
and loosen their ties
to the rest of humanity
while their own, simply dies.

This moon

This is the moon of worms
and sugar, of crows and crust and sap
the full bloom moon,
trickling, syrupy sweet
and saffron bright
into the street, at night.

This is the moon that
floods the path for snow drops,
their blind heads poking above
dead leaves and twigs
left by winter’s tidal drift.

This is the moon of dry skin
and the bull-headed crocus,
bursting from glassy ground like
clown-coloured sperm
to penetrate the frosted globe
of air, holding its mirror to this
cold-fingered
full-throated,
lusty Lenten
moon.

this girlishly chaste
and pulse-quickening moon,
this ancient, burnished
starlit lamp

this aspirin
this round worm
this bindi
this lamb

confetto!

this moon

Flying Home

Flying home

I am ready to die,

like my Grandma

Two million women

march below us,

holding up half the sky,

their shoes sparking

like New Year’s Eve fire crackers

The light reaches from one window

to the other

across the plane’s brief aisle.

Between the pews,

the glow of no smoking signs

and the seatbelts that contain us

We are an afterthought, we passengers

The planes real cargo is this

lambent space

The mind at the end

can be like this

A scattering of thoughts

in effortless suspension

over countless joyful graves

and pillars of suffering

But mostly

A brilliant emptiness

In flight toward absolute

nothingness.

January 21 and 22, 2017

It’s a brand new year

The shape of things–

A new year at almost 50

what’s

that thing

looming over

us in the polka dot

sky or behind closed

doors, the cigar-shaped

suppository  —  the relief

when it’s over the mamm-

ogram machine lifted from

the squashed breast like a

papal edict.   A new year

silhouetted against the

stars, missile stealthy

as their submarines

before      Engima

cracked   them

open as easy

a s  c a r d –

o m o m

p o d s

Nazis at home

 

Nazis at home

They’ve been marching
in their skin’s pale uniforms,
gleaming like boot black
in the torchlight.

At home, they plop
in their easy chairs,
foot sore and weary
and untie their bitter laces

soon they’ll hold their cheek
against the dark, not waiting
for kisses, but for the warm breath
that tells them there’s life

because their fear
winds around their
sleeping children
heavy as black lung

and they cannot hear
the heart beat
of their young
above their own

or distinguish them
from the tender camouflage
of shadow in the black -skinned
arms of night.