Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Charles Rammelkamp- Two Poems

Ubermensch Justice

I’m not political,
but when I flew over the mosque,
saw those drunks in the Ford pickup
tossing beer bottles like grenades
at the slim Pakistani man
with his prayer rug,
I used my force-field power
to boomerang the bottles back
to the truck, shattering the windshield.
Collateral damage, not what I’d intended.
Who do you think I am, Superman?

But the stubble-faced driver leaped from the cab,
his fists already cocked like hammers,
at which point I shot him
with a paralyzing ray from my fingertip,
so he looked like an ancient Pompeian
fleeing the hot lava pouring from Vesuvius.
It’d wear off in a day or two.

“Terrorist scum!” he’d started to bellow,
roaring like a wounded rhino,
but the ray struck him after the first syllable,
so it came out, “Tear!”:
as if a command to rip apart the fabric of civilization
in the spirit of some cockeyed notion of “Justice.”

Cowboys and Tyrants

In the movie Smoke Signals,
when their seats on the bus are taken
by a couple of burly gringos,
Thomas says to Victor, resigned,
“The cowboys always win.”
Victor demurs, and after a moment,
the two sing a song about John Wayne’s teeth:
Are they false, are they real?
Are they plastic, are they steel?
But the Duke did elude Stalin,
who ordered the KGB to assassinate him,
sent agents to Los Angeles to do it.
Uncle Joe considered Wayne’s anti-communist rhetoric
a threat to the Soviet Union,

Khruschev told Wayne all about it in 1958:
“During his last five mad years,” Nikita confided,
Stalin had ordered the hit, but after he died,
“I rescinded the order.”

Stomach cancer finally killed the Duke,
attributed by some to radioactive fallout
from U.S. atom bomb tests in Nevada,
not far from the Utah site
where Wayne, Susan Hayward and Agnes Moorhead
all worked on The Conqueror,
along with Dick Powell, the director:
cancer got every last one of them –
no bigger bully or lethal despot.

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