War on Poverty

He couldn’t figure where the pressure came from. In line at the DMV, again, waiting to pay a ticket, a blister against his heel from boots he’d worn pain free for years. Why now? What changed?

It may not be nice to be good, little 6655321. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you, I realize how self-contradictory that sounds. I know I shall have many sleepless nights about this. What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him? Deep and hard questions, little 6655321.

—Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange


Drains throat more than water—
spiraling soap, hair, dirt, grease,
cleanser, champagne
grapes, spit, toothpaste,
a river of waste we launch
earthward. We know well enough,
standing in the tub’s refusing-
to-empty slick, lowering hands
in oily gray dishwater to finger
out clogs—no matter how we malign
the suck of energy, we need
a drain’s down so we can clean up.

Irena Praitis |Rods and Koans|Red Mountain Press 2018