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Sunday, August 14, 2005


by Michele F. Cooper

According to the BBC, according to
the latest storm watch, to those
in the know, alignments will be formed
in hushed tones across the globe
until the flares subside, rock and flame
disturb the atmosphere, show who’s
got a finger on the nation’s pulse,
on the big red button, as the anchor says,
numbers in the black proving
the progress of energy and investment
in this time of national conflict.

According to the president, according
to his spokesman, according to the army
of reporters crowding the olive drapes,
leaning on the white marble for quick,
preliminary notes, the deed is history,
and solidarity is needed toward the world,
no one to see our splinters, they’re
top secret when the stripes are red,
like the edging around the envelope
he can’t show the crowd as he reads
from his slip of paper with three
small bullets digested into pablum.

According to the weatherman, according
to the news from California, big winds
are coming east, enough to shake
the foundations of Washington
and Jefferson smelling the cherry
blossoms before the stink of burnt oil
comes up from the Pentagon.

According to me, according to my friends
and colleagues, according to peace groups
across the country, standing in silence
with their nonviolent candles, according
to our elected rep on the steps
of the State House, standing as tall
as he can to reach the stationary mike
and tell the 6 o’clock news that, according
to the polls, no one wants the war.

Michele F. Cooper is the first-place winner in the 2002 TallGrass Poetry Competition, second-place winner in the 1999 Galway Kinnell Poetry Competition, a finalist in the 2004 War Poetry Competition; she has won honorable mentions in the 2003 Emily Dickinson Poetry Competition, the 2003 New Millennium Awards, and the 1999 Sacramento Poetry Competition. Her poetry and poetic prose have appeared in many journals including Larcom, Fiction International, Paumanok Review, Pedestal Magazine, R.I. Women Speak American Writing, Nedge, CQ, Faultline, Online Poetry and Story, and in a chapbook, Women on Women. She is the author of two books, founding editor of the Newport Review and Crone’s Nest, and of a chapbook series. She lives on a horse farm (not hers) in Portsmouth, RI.