“The Next World War”

by Jessie Nash

In starving corners, in chip-fat fields,
on maps lining the Macintoshes
of muscle-wasted men,
a waspish treaty buzzes
with gorging pride to live
in Tetsuo minds, stirring
slow as a dopey badger
but waking in the dark-doomed streets
of southern England this morning.

The inflation hawks are circling,
charge your gadgets fast,
well-muscled men in toxic suits
and old gals in sexy cherry cobblers
and you field mice with your castanets
are first in line, crackling bracken,
craven, scattering like fishfood flakes
as, dreaming, those hunters stalk,
squawking a cappella hymns of death.

My oyster girl’s a linguist from the shore
she’ll sign no treaty surely,
the blood in my mouth an ironman
to spit this fractured discourse
from my whippet lips,
to tell her I remember the slow dance
she wouldn’t give in the physics lab,

and when they strike
I’ll be away, darting eyes front
to save my organs, straddling
those fence-posts, following
those wasted men and pacifists
over crumbling leaves,
listening for the baroque flutes of home.

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