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Wednesday, March 26, 2008


by Patricia Barone

no sound at all
but the filling of a bowl
with icy water
high above their heads

The Deity’s had it with puppets of power & puppet-master
henchmen, whose portfolios hold nations, whose underlings graft
bids on caskets for other folks’ corpses. President Shrub reshuffles
old cards & spins the Jokers to his basket, wasted. He throws
losing suits, faulty plans & armor in the air—this is war!

He deals the losers over then:
the troops will die so he will win.

Sidelined by him, She hears the Prez mouth moral
compassion to the world: the wretched have many more babies,
& the Pope touts an unnatural law, & the theocrats who value profits
— not living or wage— proclaim the working poor do not deserve to fear
illegal aliens, whose hands pull out
the chicken parts no citizen will touch or even see.

God exhales ice as Shrub’s venal men incite the poor
to war on poorest. She has had it and She says so with her silence
in the middle of a work day, and all noise ceases: even archbishops,
inviting boys to perpetual immaturity, pause, exposed: They condemned
the loving—two men, two women—& sponsored hateful acts

of gormless politicians once too often.
Her silence ices excuses:

of holocaust deniers, arms suppliers, global warmers
who ruin our oceans & air, reporters who sit on the truth
at banquets with glittering liars.

For their willful stupidity
they freeze in Her fire.

Patricia Barone has poetry in To Sing Along the Way, Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-Territorial Days to the Present, New Rivers Press, 2006. She has published a book of poetry, Handmade Paper, and a novella, The Wind, with New Rivers Press. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in periodicals such as Commonweal, Milkweed Chronicle, Great River Review, The Seattle Review, Tendril, Visions International, The Widener Review, and The SHOp (County Cork , Ireland). She was twice a semifinalist for the William Wisdom Faulkner Novel award (Pirates Alley in New Orleans) and a long list finalist for the Fish Publications (West Cork, Ireland) novel award. Handmade Paper was nominated for a Minnesota book award. She received a Minnesota State Arts Board Career Opportunity Grant and a Loft-McKnight award of distinction in poetry. She has worked as a teacher, nurse, free lance writer and medical writer, and lives with her husband along the Mississippi River in Fridley, Minnesota.