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Poems By Robert Beveridge


Orange ribbons adorn a package

of white, still shot through

with blonde, walnut, a few edges

of char. Former conflagration

now low enough to cook hot

dogs, chicken, pie. The redolence

of the former meal dispersed on the wind,

the only evidence left a long bone,

a scatter of teeth. The communicants,

bellies full, have now retired to their

cottages. The indigent now converge,

mouths moist, eyes narrowed.

Two of Swords (reversed) Each pamphlet is another ravine, each book another mountain, and the rice paddies sit just beyond the door, whisper, lament, criticize, nag. Lungs filled with smoke from the candle, though, you turn your eyes back to the pages, begin to read once more. The soldiers do not come at night; you can pull the paper from the hidden hole under the rug beneath the table, loose the cat to find her own dinner. The rich grow fat in their palace; your thirst is never slaked. You can nap while in the fields. Tomorrow, the harvest begins; tonight, you turn to another sheet, whisper the words, listen to the pads of ringtails outside your window, curious at the drips of light that leak from behind the shutter.

The Zero-State Solution

This is Vietnam, this is Cambodia,

this is all the groupies who flock

outside the tourbus and believe

their purpose is to die under

the wheels as it pulls away, or

to hide in the shower stall

and stow away as far as Manitowoc,

bruises be damned. The stash

of punji sticks under the floor

can be used to fight off rivals,

drunk singers, the occasional

hard-boiled egg. When it comes

right down to it, what holds

you in Mogadore other than

its name, a Russian tea ceremony,

and two hundred thousand acres

of garlic? You roll your Morris

Udall poster, slip it into your

backpack with three books

on capnomancy and a week’s

supply of celery chips,

and it’s off to the races we go.


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