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Monday, January 23, 2017


by CL Bledsoe & Michael Gushue

The problem is bears in the classroom.
The problem is bears who don't know
which utensil is for the pâté, which
is for olives.
The problem is that I'm right.
The problem is our tax dollars at work.
Ask all the questions you want. Questions are free.
Answers require donations.
The problem is bears who don't speak proper English.
The problem is bears stealing jobs.
The problem is union bears.
The problem is the lack of bear vouchers.
Bears should be left up to the states,
the largest donors.
Bears eating pâté. Bears who can spell their government
representatives' names and use a touch-tone phone.
The problem is bears who don't know how to stitch
their own wounds.
The problem is bears on death panels,
bears running internment camps.
The problem is bears as Uber drivers.
Bears want to take away our pâté knives.
The problem is bears don't eat pâté
and the ones who do don't vote.
The problem is bears taking our guns and making them into backscratchers.
Russian bears who've invaded our classrooms after the arctic ice melted.
The problem is what's going on behind the bears' backs
while we're watching their teeth.

CL Bledsoe is the assistant editor for The Dead Mule and author of fourteen books, most recently the poetry collection Trashcans in Love. He lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.

Michael Gushue is co-founder with Dan Vera of Poetry Mutual and Poetry Mutual Press. He co-curates the intermittent reading series Poetry at the Watergate with Deborah Ager. His chapbooks are Gathering Down Women, Conrad, and Pachinko Mouth. He lives Washington, D.C.