Neither fish nor fowl, it’s dished out
in doctrines and trite truisms
without music or rhythm,
or else it’s straight-up dogma
in doggerel wrapped in rap,
rant or raving,
but christened “poetry.”
You’ll hear it at every venue
where chic revolutionaries hold services
without having seen a revolution
except on two-week tours through Cuba
when their minders served as blinders
as they viewed the circles of hell
they’ve come to call “heaven.”
When they return, their verses
serve as hymns to the victory
of socialism, battle cries for wars
they’ll never witness.
Cheap words like ads
for last year’s fashions,
doctrines drawn from the leader’s
speeches, interviews and texts,
then barked and growled
in North Beach readings,
waterfalls of rhetoric
oceans without salt,
storms without rain,
sermons without salvation,
but at least inspiring enough doggerel
to make me write some
of my own.


Clif Ross



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