June 4, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Reuters photo



Don Krieger




Talking Heads


… how did we get here?



To get to school, I snake between the jeeps and trucks

rolling in convoys down Dixie Highway.

Jets fly over twenty-four seven. Walter Cronkite tells us

what President Kennedy says, shows us

destroyers riding with the Soviet cargo ships,


missile bodies laid out under tarps,

waiting to mate with the nukes

already in Castro’s hands, the monster,

who speaks only Spanish. He looks white

but who knows and no one ever says or asks.


A year later, our president is dead.

Walter Cronkite cries on TV, tells us about Oswald,

Johnson’s swearing in on the plane, Jackie’s grief,

then about Jack Ruby. There’s an assembly at school,

we’re sent home early to watch the funeral. Instead

I play my best tennis ever on the public courts


with a brown man till the cops show up.

Last year, Kim blew up his own test site,

launched some home-made rockets, stood with what looked like

the cardboard atom bomb from my sixth grade science fair.

He says he’ll give up his nukes and Trump bites,

they go back and forth twenty-four seven.


what Trump says, what Kim says, what they might say if they meet.

How many rapes and murders are unreported,

how many kids shot in Gaza and the Congo, how many

starved in Goma, Twante, Homs, how many this week

caught with coke or smoke,

with brown skin, or no money?





Click here for an audio reading of the poem





Don Krieger

I have built satellites, worked in the operating room, been in a cult, …

I earn my living as part of a group which is trying to understand and treat head injury.

In my poetry and short blog pieces, I want to express ideas with unambiguous clarity and intensity.

I willingly sacrifice rhyme and meter, art, cleverness, elegance, and beauty for these.

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