A Poet’s Work


“a poet’s work” is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going asleep.”

The poet Baal in Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses

A cheerfully reassuring letter
from our local branch of a corporate-
phony-not-for-profit hospital chain
sincerely informs us of their commitment
to keeping us all healthy.
That must be why the nurses
on the Acute Care Ward
are assigned seven patients
when the stated limit is three.
It is so good to know
the salaried bureaucrats out there
care about me.
That must be why
with small bars, cafes and
restaurants daily tanking
our County Health Department
raised their annual permit fee
accompanying the pain-in-the-ass application
with a severely threatening letter
printed on hot-pink paper
letting us know late submissions
would not be tolerated and
subject to serious fines and
withdrawal of their permission
for our very existence.
A man could drown is all this caring.
That must be why
with millions hungry and homeless
and millions more facing
bankruptcy and eviction
our beneficent elected leaders
benevolently decided
to send each tax-paying American
the magnanimous sum
of six-hundred dollars
while they blissfully pissed away
billions on tax cuts for millionaires,
corporate handouts and
superfluous munitions
to blow up more brown people,
all before Congress adjourns and
goes home for Christmas
to celebrate the birthday of Jesus
who famously taught us
to hate and obliterate
all of our enemies
and to let the destitute suffer
for they surely deserve it.
Gandhi said Christianity
was a wonderful theory
he’d love to see put into practice.
I second that radical motion
as we are now in dire need
of new old-school gospel religion
that does not genuflect
before the All-Mighty Dollar.


Orin Domenico is a poet living in Utica, New York. His latest volume is My Rap Sheet is Long (Black Rabbit Press).