Three Poems

Chief Executive Swat 

[audio link]

October 2002 the U.S. Congress passed a "Joint Resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces . . .”  and authorized the President to "use any means necessary."  

Houseflies’ exquisitely engineered internal gyroscopes
cope with inertia to twirl, turn and counter turn.
An act of balancing, the envy of every fighter pilot.

For ninety years researchers, as unremitting as talk show hosts
or political analysts, snapped five-thousand images per second
to discover flies' wings beat two hundred beats per second.

Specialists chilled flies into stillness to tether them
to strings and sticks, analyzed wings, tested body temperatures,
poked, probed and ultimately mapped the fly’s twelve thousand genes.

Crouched with poison in one hand and rolled newspaper in the other
I am a determined enemy stalking this jumbo wingbatterer
with a dive bomber buzz. But my housemate cherishes 

life. Holds me up to a world court. The crunched New York Times’ 
10 pt. tells that the court is too distracted to prove I mean to murder
with weapons of mass destruction. My polypragmatic mate

along with a mute public
hypothesize an investigation.


I Keep Promises (Will I Go to Jail)

[audio link]

Coach me on your un-curable 
as you chew off your own lips,
contort your neural pathways, 
fix your waiting eyes on me.

Secretly I oust the tether 
tubing you to gravity.      
Now, unshackled 
you transmute. I listen.

You are what is left
after a lute is plucked, 
you are mist evaporating 
in the morning, you are 

the fragrance of a red sweet pea. 
And I am living proof, 
much as I wish or dread
demise, no force 

whether it wants to 
or not, can legislate one 
way or another 
we will die even if
we have no right to.


States of Being Cooked

[audio link]

They lived on treacle said the Dormouse, after thinking a minute or two. —Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Lunch and she was laughing
spicing-up a fillet 
of sole sandwich
butter fried left over
from last night
and he melted succulent
cheese between two
rye slices of Russian
in the antique chrome
sandwich grill. 
When M. H. came
to dinner
she miscalculated time
cooking a goose, so
laughing, they ate 
without it.
It’s September 
1998, our president 
is the laughing stock
of Europe forced
to tell his intimate 
sex acts. Any
mother would fillet
and grill the grand 
body of government
over its pettiness when 
people all around are starving
as we sit 
dining at the table
with the Mad Hatter
ala middle-ages
morality play
and it’s no tea party.
(it wasn’t for Alice

—Carol Levin, Seattle, WA