Poems by Susan Rich (USA)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 47
Drinking Kokta at the Airport Café, Ljubljana
We changed our currency as often as our panties
Tomas’s sister said. Added and subtracted zeros ~
Everyone figuring the new math in their heads.
Tolars, dinars, euros ~ there was never enough
so who cared? Istria, Styria, Carinthia ~
the places we have lived ~ all gone.
Now the government is drafting new regions;
click back when they agree on some.
The suicide rate keeps on soaring,
as does the production of wine.
Once we joined with the Spring
of Nations; now it’s erectile dysfunction
prime time. Did you travel outside Ljubljana,
venture past the Dragon Bridge? See islands,
caves, and health spas ~ the glossy brochures
so you can say that you did? We’re home
to the bottlenose dolphin, the wattled
Linden tree. Poets, travelers, musicians ~
sex up the Autonomous Zone ~ all free.
Did you hop the train to Prian;
film the marbled piazzas,
gold churches, and topless beach?
The Croats want it for theirs
but we took it from Italy. Another drink?
Did you learn about our war?
We got off with just a scratch;
though I had to eat oatmeal for breakfast
hunker down and sing to the cat.
Over The Last Few Years in Our United States
Young black men are 21 times more likely than their white peers to be killed by the police.
~FBI Reports available for 2010 to 2012.
Trevon Martin, Tamir Rice, Wendell Allen,
Aaron Campbell, Oscar Grant, Ramarly Graham and Sean Bell.
Amadou Diallo, Eric Garner, Victor Steen,
and Kimani Grey.
Kiwane Carrington, Jimmel Cannon, John Crawford –
shopping Walmart on a summer’s day.
Timothy Sainsbury, Jimmel Canon,
McKenzie Cochran, and James Brissette.
Jonathan Ferrell, a football player, who asked a policeman for help.
No one yet found responsible. And just one officer charged.
How to break this American spell?
What words might be enough?
Susan Rich is author of four collections of poems including Cloud Pharmacy and The Alchemist’s Kitchen; she has received awards from the Fulbright Foundation, PEN USA and the Times Literary Supplement. Rich’s work appears in The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Plume, and Poetry Ireland. She lives in Seattle, WA.
Image: "Saarbrucken Bridge" by Anton Raath.