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Tuesday, January 13, 2015


by LaWanda Walters

                              After James Merrill’s “Casual Wear”

We can see through your disguises.
It is nothing new to use the name of goodness
like it’s your accessory from Kate Spade.
These days you are young.  You follow a fad.

It is nothing new to use some name for goodness
as you end or maim someone’s being here.
So many of you are young.  This killing is a fad.
You chew and smack Muhammad’s name like a cud.

You end or maim someone who exists
while yelling some word that meant rain, forgiveness.
In your mouth that name's pink bubble gum,
is sugar, spit, preservative and dye.

You do not refer to kindness or rain.
What you mean is you are cool and in style,
blowing bubbles made of sugar and spit, blowing brains out.
There are others like you--other mobs and crowds--

who would hate my poem as much as you do.
You fit right in with those Americans
mouthing names like “Jesus” and “Christmas”
while they vote against those who can’t afford Kate Spade.

LaWanda Walters has had poems in Antioch Review, Georgia Review, Shenandoah, Ploughshares, Southern Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, North American Review, Laurel Review, The New Verse News, Sou'wester, and other periodicals.  She lives in Cincinnati.