August 3, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Ivan Rigamonti photo



I.B. Rad




Zombie Platitudes



Out from America’s supermart of ideas

shamble zombie platitudes

including, ‘Government surveillance

only threatens those with something to hide,’

‘When you play by the rules

the system will reward you,’

‘[Our] government [is] of, by, and for the people,’

which, while disproved by daily experience,

due to their comfortable views

rise anew

as undead truisms

that snap at our good sense,

then, if we’re not adequately skeptical,

bite us in the ass.






Alice in Wonderland: A Modern Rendering



Wandering through a large city

on the North American leg

of her “New Wonderland Tour,”

an astonished Alice was almost floored

by a panicky duo

crying in alarm as they fled,

“I just bought a little weed

but here it could get me years!”

“And I barely chatted up a john!”


But no sooner had they passed,

then, on hearing another commotion,

Alice swirled about

and spied a churning swarm

in the midst of which reared a choleric queen

who stamped her feet and repeatedly screamed,

“Lock ‘em up! Lock ‘em up!”


As the raging queen and her retinue flew nearer,

Alice inquired, “Lock up whom?”

“Innocent child,” deigned the mad queen,

“all my kingdom’s criminals of course!”

Being fairly well versed on the subject, Alice inquired,

“But why jail every offender

when so many of your minor culprits

could be dealt with less expensively,

more effectively, and more humanely otherwise?


To this the irate queen fumed and screamed

“Hold your tongue! Hold your tongue!

We don’t prize your critic’s jeers.

We only permit happy talk here!”

With that, as if on cue, the queen’s retinue chorused:


“Only happy talk! Happy talk!

 while our cities fill with those in need;

 Only happy talk! Happy talk!

 to praise unbridled greed;

 Only happy talk! Happy talk!

 while we raise prisons instead of schools.

 Only happy talk! Happy talk!

 as Wonderland’s youngsters graduate fools?…”


On this jaunty note, a leering Cheshire cat,

hovering high above the toadying mob,

began inanely crooning – before he wisely disappeared,


 “Oh grow, grow, grow, your bloat,

   gently down the cream,

   Verily, Verily, Verily, Verily,

   Wonderland’s but a dream…”


Not being able to withstand such strained chords any longer,

Alice demanded of the queen,

“Now you simply must be more precise

just which ‘offenders’ do you mean?!”

“Silly girl!” sneered the mad queen,

“Why it’s mostly drugs and street crime I mean!”

“But what of corruption and corporate crime,” puzzled Alice?

Chortled the amused queen slyly,

“In these enlightened times

corruption and corporate crime’s okay,”

for, as everyone knows,

for US they’re crimes that pay.”


“Well, from what I’ve seen,” admonished Alice,

as far as being hazardous to your common citizen,

Wonderland’s leaders are its most injurious class;

so perhaps YOU should be the main beneficiaries

of your burgeoning prison system.”


“You stupid girl!” screeched the mad queen,

“Just WHO  do you think my realm is for?!”

With that, she menacingly thrust a finger toward Alice,

hysterically shrieking, “Lock her up! Lock her up!”

And so, in a fawning frenzy,

the queen’s retinue began pummeling poor Alice…


Waking with a start, Alice stretched and yawned,

confident such utter nonsense

could only be a dream.

So imagine how chagrined poor, bruised Alice was

on finding herself in prison.






Lot’s Wife: Modern Variations



Could it be

the story of Lot’s Wife

is an allegory

for being too backward looking;

its infamous pillar of salt

denoting her interment

in a halite mound

created by her sea of tears

over biblical Hiroshima’s

impending holocaust?

On an allied note,

does Lot’s wife further exemplify

an emigrant’s heartfelt plight

at upending her entire universe

for a surer if alien future,

craning to see what was lost

as well as what was gained?

Or candidly, was she simply

a doubting Thomas

who couldn’t take anyone at their word,

not even envoys of almighty Yahweh

(Who’d ever think,

as Master Of The Universe,

He’d sink

to taking down

a little hick town

like Sodom)?

Then again, is the term “she”

the key

to our biblical yarn?

Was Lot’s wife an intrepid protofeminist

refusing to subserviently follow

her husband’s lead

or take direction

from two angelic henchmen

of a patriarchal, tribal Godfather?






I.B. Rad

I.B. Rad lives and plays in New York City. This somewhat controversial poet is widely published with much of his work available on the internet. His most recent book, “Dancing at the Abyss” was published by Scars Publications.”

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