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Thursday, February 07, 2008


by David Plumb

In the blink of America, in the belly of Saudi Arabia
on the spine of China and Pakistan and Sudan
a day of magnificent explosions got sold in cracker boxes
and plastic toys and necklaces and underwear.
Digital cookies wrapped in tasty chocolate blowups
killed fish and babies and grownups and goats and chickens.
They killed the sky. It was a Fourth of July
Thanksgiving when everyone had their head up a turkey butt.
They mail-ordered nine hundred dollar caskets from Costco
with “He Didn’t Get It," printed on the lid.

Johnny Upton stepped on a Baghdad bomb in Rudyard Kipling’s Afghanistan
and the country made super dressing with that, a celebration of bowed heads
green peas and marshmallows on sweet potato pie.
Guns echoed in the plasma screen, the teams took the field.
The pretty girls wagged their rumps, beer frothed in Paradise
and all over everywhere, purple mountains majestically
watched the clicking, clacking, babbling, flickering game
roast an honorary degree on a cross of its own making.

Somewhere in Texas an Attwater Prairie Chicken scratched for a mate.
Somewhere near Hollywood, Florida, a pickup truck
raced past a commercial for black jack fried bread to Tuba City, Arizona.
Somewhere the President wore jeans and smirked.
Somewhere the Vice President hid in his fat listening to
his private heart machine beat him alive.

A thousand elephants with crosses tacked to their sides
and butterfly wings clipped to their ears marched out of the sky.
Mexicans and Puerto Ricans and Dominicans and Haitians
stood in line for the next trolley, the next truck or boat
the next something and somewhere in Chiapas, a Zapatista
sliced a strange Indian custom with a laptop.
America’s bugles hooted the alleys, the shopping malls
the empty schoolyards and the parking lots.

Movie stars wearing flashing teeth and short skirts wailed
cross-eyed songs in the Forget You Night. Flags flapped
in the bombed out brains of soldiers eating crow.
Babies screeched, mothers screamed and wives
stood at blank windows staring into emptiness.

Priests hailed Mary on her way to Dubai for a facelift.
Jesus took a good room overlooking the sea. Rabbis rallied.
Mid East kings sold slick promises of BEST Buy
in a Black Box with whores in the backroom on Sunday.
A man married his dog in India and Minnesota
opened five Bed and Breakfasts for single canines.

When all the announcements had been made,
all the prayers whispered, all the turkey stuffed in all the craws
and all the butchers closed their cash registers and Bibles
and all the tight canons and Constitutionals and all overheards were overheard
and all the pundits choked on the babble in their throats
and all the pretty girls jumped all the pretty boys
and all the slot machines stopped at strawberries and 7
and all the Easter Bunnies died in waiting and all the
monkeys hung from their cages waiting for somebody
somewhere to speak up about something besides Freedom
Democracy and Terror, the immortal screen went blank.

David Plumb’s latest fiction book is A Slight Change in the Weather. He has worked as a paramedic, a cab driver, a, cook and tour guide. A long time San Francisco writer, he now lives in South Florida . Will Rogers said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” Plumb says, “It depends on the parrot.”