I Wouldn’t Bet a Huckleberry to a Persimmon

Hail the strawberry moon!
When the non sequitur battles the logical sequence
all bets are off.
Without a garden tool
rootstalks of self-sabotage deracinate.
An inappropriate wit
has outperformed bourgeois manners and
an infectious guffaw pins propriety to the floor
like a gung-ho wrestler.

Hail the strawberry moon!
Words fall short even as they stretch like shade in late-afternoon.
Once our raise comes through
you can bet your bottom dollar.
No more schmatas from H&M.
Retirement becomes a bouncing ball we follow.
Ah the life of an elderly expat,
dazzled by the light through palm leaves…
but one eye on the exchange rate.

Let’s dance in the moonlight—
to Van Morrison or Morrissey.
All the strawberries have been picked.
How engorged and shameless they are!
Our senses are at their mercy.
Hedge your bets.
A memory or two will be mixed into a jam-filled mason jar.

Tonight the moon ripens again.
If I could howl without sounding rehearsed
I would.
Place your bets.
The “Final Jeopardy” answer is, obviously, “Who is Edgar Allan Poe?”
Ravens are crows, but not every crow is a raven.
Regardless could they please keep the cawing to a dull roar?
Hail the strawberry moon!
Hail randomness and repetition too!


The Trade Minister

Some say Trade Minister Tagomi melted the water
and flooded the creek.
But I doubt it.
If Tagomi was only a character
in Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle…
But he is a symbol and a punctuation mark too, goddammit.
Trusted aide Kotomichi guards
the walls of his ward’s consciousness.
His senses are surveillance equipment.
If someone suggests that the Trade Minister is duplicitous
or that he is residing in the memory of another’s life,
do not trust this person—they could be an informant.
Trade Minister Tagomi knows that
every empire is a living thing with a grudge.
Every empire is asthmatic.
This one cringes at its own cruelty
but finds justification in every puddle.
The economic reasons for expansion are many
but few glisten with precarity
like the fetish for mined jewels,
or uranium.
Uranium is also in a constant state of decay.
The Trade Minister has an enclosure of peace inside himself.
Kotomichi has the skeleton key to allow him entry.
Counselor Kellyanne Conway does not struggle with lying—
it makes her giggle.
To herself, she repeats:
“The spoken word is always already the betrayal of a silent truth.
The ripple restores stillness.”
Trade Minister Tagomi’s subversion is stored in a shrine
composed of a photograph, fortune sticks, and a banned book.
In her hands these objects will liquefy.
Some believe that Counselor Conway is a cipher
and that this very moment is a ruse,
shrouding another event.
So I have been punching walls to see if they are facade.
I feel the pain but the blood is also the Trade Minister’s.
When I say out loud “don’t worry this regime will end soon,”
my voice sounds like a tape recording of an old speech.


Edward Miller

Edward Miller

Edward D. Miller is Professor of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island and on the faculty of the programs in Theatre and Film at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His creative works appear in Counterexample Poetics, Hinchas de Poesia, Wilderness House Literary Journal, The Boston Literary Magazine, Crack the Spine, Red Fez, Drunk Monkeys, Bloodstone Review, Handsy, and The Bangalore Review.