October 14, 2015 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION



Wally Swist






How can we not smile and chuckle

in a derogatory manner at the political


antics of Donald Trump, which reveal

many things that are wrong about America?


His stance on immigration and

his condescending attitude towards Hispanics


bring the book The Ugly American to mind,

that quasi-roman a clef, regarding


a particular American insensitivity to

another nation’s culture, which became such


an influential novel, that in 1958, Senator

Kennedy from Massachusetts gave a copy


to every colleague of his in the Senate.

Who can be quite as greedy and unlovable


as Trump, who represents the conservative

malaise, whose claim that President Obama’s


birth certificate is illegitimate illustrates

his own brand of racism, whose trademark


You’re fired, portrays an oligarch’s ostentation

and lack of humanity.  If Trump invested


his millions in jobs for the homeless instead

of an inordinately expensive Grecian Formula


for his own ego, he might have diverted

his own disgrace and misplaced animosity.


Now, with Donald Trump, we have openly

become laughable in the eyes of the world.


Trump’s audacious rhetoric reflects only

what some Americans think, and it is


just one reason why Muslim women write

I hate America in Arabic on the fingers


of their hands.  What a dreadful prospect

it is to imagine God Bless, America being


sung in conjunction with the American flag

flying behind an image of that financial


glutton and corporate monster, the reality

TV impresario, the politician as intolerant


bigot, the entrepreneurial predator with

the blowsy hairdo, who is Donald Trump.










After Cecil



I write this with deep regret:

certainly the more I learn

of Cecil’s death


it becomes only more insidious;

and now the dentist is being

charged for high crimes, which,


was certain to occur, and

although his own punishment

is the atonement of his own


merciless act, it is all so much

of a mess—all because of this

fellow needing to pump up


his ego and inflate his chest.

Torpid: the whole mess.

However, if we could only all


learn from this.

An old friend of mine stated,

after the Gulf of Mexico spill,


that the most tragic aspect

about the oil was that

it was just going to be spilled


all over again.  The real point

is: will we ever learn,

especially when money has


anything to do with it: either

for the sake of vanity in

whitening our teeth or in this


beloved lion being decapitated?

I fear that the industry, as it is

known, regarding hunting,


is so large, that another lion

is being killed, injudiciously,

even as I write this.








Wally Swist

Wally Swist’s books include Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012) and a new interpretation of The Daodejing of Laozi, with David Breeden and Steven Schroeder (Lamar University Press, 2015). Some of his new poems appear in Commonweal, North American Review,andRattle. Garrison Keillor recently read his poem “Radiance” on the daily radio program The Writer’s Almanac.


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