Three Poems

by Rich Murphy

Cemetery Emissary

The graveyard for empires
employs 24/7 pallbearers
who greet the potential
bereaved with Kalashnikovs
and RPGs. Hearses transport
foreign armies to affront.
Generals with heads sitting
on shoulders hit and run.
To stop guts risk for certain.
Headstones expose ambition
four miles high
and display engravings
where tribal cultures hole up
with supplies and running water.
The quagmire sucks on bones
from military vehicles
buried in depleted morale.
Air lifts gaseous remains
out from between valley walls.

Limp Features

The lame duck won’t go
to Florida this year.
Instead, the primary
and only vacation spot
will be in the mud
that clumps about from slings.
A leg, a wing, the bill
too large for coffers,
limits movement for the target.
The photographers hound
and anchors report
so that trash barrels reload.
Heat from party regulars
attempt to lick competitors
with a torch, while mouths
to news casters water.
Though lake water beads
on feathers, the fowl can smell
the exit to woe-be-gone.


While one country mows the lawn,
a new state mops up along a border,
and crossing guards from united
nations enter into foreign streets.
The chores and honey-dos
that globalism tags to refrigerated
military trucks seek to check
and then neutralize in neighborhoods.
Bullies and deviants rake sidewalks
or leave for the hillsides.
Hegemony swallows and with water
a bitter pill dissolves into ideology.
A television performs in living room
where physical therapy satisfies.
Big data looks down upon noses
while unbuttoning blouses.
The veteran consumer sleeps
in a house built from statistics
as the homeless continue
fighting over corrugated cardboard.

Rich Murphy’s credits include books, Americana Prize Americana 2013 winner his third book by The Institute for American Studies and Popular Culture, an institute committed to creative writers as creators of culture and recorders of crucial ideas and important cultural moments. Voyeur 2008 Gival Press Poetry Award (Gival Press), and The Apple in the Monkey Tree 2007 (Codhill Press); chapbooks, Great Grandfather (Pudding House Press), Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Rescue Lines (Right Hand Pointing),  Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox) and Paideia (Aldrich Press). His critical essays have been published in The International Journal of the Humanities, Fringe, Journal of Ecocriticism, Reconfigurations: A Journal for Poetics Poetry / Literature and Culture, New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, among others.  Rich lives in Marblehead, MA.

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