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Dina Ben-Lev

Casting For Strawberries


Odds are a president will never phone
You or your friends. That's fine, you're busy--
I'm busy, everybody's heads are turning
To their tasks. Today I'm painting penguins on
Aquarium rocks. Two big tubes of white and black--
Gray takes over the brain. It doesn't matter
Who punched a hole in this wall,
My canvas will cover it. Rent's cheap,
And I like the new labyrinth of streets.
Some move after they've memorized a place;
Others budge for more or less: beer, a better
Channel, a chance to obliterate the enemy
Who's always changing . . . sides, countries
Newscasters can barely pronounce. Cameras
Carry us lightly over the continents--see
A city burning--a boy covered in soot, and behind him,
His father bleeding from the eyes. Blink--
We're in Kansas--a tornado--cows
On their sides like dice. So how unaccountably
Confident: our custom of X-ing out
Uncertainty. Couldn't we come clean
With subjunctive diplomacy? Why not:
"Sometimes our troops stop
Sickness / war / starvation / rape"?
I vote Yes on birds, but not in cages--
No on cover-ups and clumsy plumbers.
I'm an undecided psychic who hears
The President practice his answers:
"Never met her. Never said please
Take me in your mouth." I'm coughing
More than I used to: fumes from the factories
Fill up my yard. Still, I set my alarm
For what can happen. What blurry fun
To fall into the arms of a lover--and how much
Music dares us to flee! Husband #1
Hit redial and got the machine of the man
I would leave him for. So the sperm count's down
Worldwide, the economy ails. But if bread's
In the toaster, strawberry on the spoon,
There's something to savor. Chew slowly.
If you're not too tired when you finish your tasks,
Write your favorite elephant or ass. Say something
Must be done: the rats are looking radiant.


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