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Friday, July 05, 2024

DEBATE PANTOUM

by Dion O’Reilly


AI-generated graphic by Shutterstock for The New Verse News


Nothing's quite right—
ziggurats are toppling, the president’s stuttering, 
the courts are rigged, and it's too damn hot.
Buckle up baby... this shit's happening

—ziggurats, toppling. The president stuttering, 
millennials hating him ‘cause he won't stop a war.
Buckle up baby...this shit's happening. 
—a war that’s been raging for a million years.

Millennials hate him ‘cause he won't stop the war,
they can't buy a house, and they're paying back loans,
—this war’s been raging for a million years,
but now it’s thumb-tapped on our own little phones.

We can't buy a house, we’re paying back loans.
The problem’s too big to even begin,
thank god we can thumb-tap our own little phones.
There are just two choices, and they both look grim,

like problems too big to even begin—
The courts are rigged, and it's too damn hot.
There are just two choices and they both look grim.
Whom to vote for? Nothing feels right. 


Dion O'Reilly is the author of three poetry collections: Sadness of the Apex Predator, a finalist for the Steel Toe Book Prize and the Ex Ophidia Prize; Ghost Dogs, winner of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, The Independent Press Award for Poetry, and honorable mention for the Eric Hoffer Poetry Award; and Limerence, a finalist for the John Pierce Chapbook Competition, forthcoming from Floating Bridge Press. Her work appears in The Sun, Rattle, Cincinnati Review, The Slowdown, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She is a podcaster at The Hive Poetry Collective, leads poetry workshops, and is a reader for Catamaran Literary Reader. She splits her time between a ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains and a residence in Bellingham, Washington.